Local kombucha brewery, Yumcha, is opening a retail location in downtown Victoria on Jan. 11. (Yumcha.Time/Instagram)

Kombucha brewery opens retail space in Victoria

Grand opening takes place Jan. 11

Free kombucha cocktails, facial cleansing, lion dancing and more await guests at the grand opening of the Yumcha Natural Foods store in Victoria.

The grand opening celebration runs from 1 to 5 p.m. on Jan. 11 at the new store at 849 Fisgard St.

Free kombucha – a naturally carbonated fermented black tea – and snacks will be available for guests and owner Tiffany Chu is planning to make kombucha cocktails too. She pointed out that it’s a fun way to enjoy non-alcoholic mixed drinks. Guests are encouraged to bring their own cup to reduce waste.

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When Yumcha first opened, Chu was working out of a commercial kitchen and selling at farmers’ markets. Now, she will have a retail space and on-site brewery where people can fill growlers with kombucha. During the grand opening, Chu said guest will be able to tour the brewery.

Yumcha currently offers four different cold-pressed flavours: Ginger Apple, Pineapple Goji Berry, Watermelon Blueberry Lily Bulb and Strawberry Lavender – Chu’s “flagship flavour” and her personal favourite. She pointed out that the strawberry and lavender used to create that flavour are Island-grown and that the B.C. berries are “like candy.”

The Chu uses local ingredients whenever she can and sources ingredients grown in other climates from local vendors.

The process of developing flavours was a creative one for Chu. She worked to incorporate what her family taught her about Traditional Chinese Medicine and chi to create flavours for different purposes. For example, the Ginger Apple flavour is warming while the Watermelon Blueberry Lily Bulb is cooling.

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Chu noted that kombucha is a “bit of an acquired taste” but that the body eventually craves the fizzy vegan drink due to the probiotics it contains.

The grand opening will include facial cleansing by Vivian Li-Tessier of Pithy Apothecary, traditional gua sha tutorials and a lion dancing ceremony performed by the Wong Sheung Kung Fu Club. The short dance is done by two dancers – one playing the head of the lion, the other playing the tail – and the goal is to welcome prosperity to the business, Chu explained.

“It’s a fun way to share a little bit of my culture,” she said.


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