Kombucha company opens new Kelowna taproom with environmental impact in mind

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Kelowna’s first, sustainable kombucha bar is now open for business in the Brewery District, offering flights, growler fills, tastings, glasses of kombucha and water kefir, and tours on request.

MotherLove Ferments’ new facility is the company’s fourth location in just six years. Started in founder Rochelle Minagawa’s kitchen, the company has continually expanded its range of products to meet growing interest from wholesale and retail customers throughout British Columbia and Alberta.

“It’s so exciting to have this new production facility and tasting room in the heart of such a growing and exciting neighbourhood,” says Rochelle. “I've always been into health and wellness, from being a high-level athlete to starting a fermented beverage business, and I truly believe we must protect our health and the health of our planet. I create ferments that support digestion and increase diversity in the microbiome, and I run the business in such a way that we minimize our impact on the environment.”

MotherLove Ferments produces kombucha and water kefir using all organic ingredients, a high probiotic content, and nothing artificial. Although these fizzy, sweet-and-sour, fermented drinks have been around for hundreds of years, they have become increasingly popular commercially more recently thanks to their ability to help digestion, rid the body of toxins, and boost energy, among other benefits.

The company is commitmed to sustainability as tea compost left over from kombucha production is donated to to local farms, and uses alternatives to plastic whenever possible. 

Even the tap handles in the MotherLove tasting room are said to be earth-friendly, 3-D printed by a local company called Gamer Gadgetry, they’re made of polylactic acid (PLA), which is produced from natural or recycled materials, such as corn starch and sugarcane, and has almost a full life cycle of renewability.

When it comes to the product itself, customers can buy or refill glass growlers, or their own containers, from the taps in the Kombucha Bar tasting room. And while glass is a great option for refills, it’s heavy, breakable and requires more energy, gas, and packaging materials to transport so it’s not the best choice for single-use. That’s why MotherLove recently switched to aluminum cans.

“Aluminum is 100 percent recyclable and requires less energy to process than glass.,” explains Rochelle. “Being infinitely recyclable with very little loss in quality means that every can you recycle reduces your environmental impact. Add that to being light weight, easy to transport, and less breakable and we have a superior single-use container choice we can feel really good about.”

MotherLove is also committed to supporting the community. People can purchase growlers to donate to local charities, and proceeds from tastings go to non-profit organizations.

The Kombucha Bar tasting room at MotherLove Ferments is located across from BC Tree Fruits at 109-889 Vaughan Avenue in Kelowna. Hours of operation are Monday and Tuesday from 9 am to 4 pm, Wednesday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm and Saturdays from 10 am to 5 pm.