Dr. Peter Barrett, The Bucha’s Dog, Belfast, United Kingdom

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

I first discovered kombucha around six years ago. I read about it before I ever saw or tasted it. It motivated me to source a scoby online and the first kombucha I ever tasted was my own. It was a bit of a leap of faith to drink what I produced without anyone telling me it was OK. But it turned out to be not too bad and I was hooked. The rest, as this say, is history.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

I started the company basically because I personally wanted to drink this product and figured I wasn’t so weird as to be the only one in my area who wanted good kombucha too. There were no kombucha producers in Belfast or Northern Ireland so I figured why not do it and share the kombucha love!

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

I’ve realised that I really prefer unflavoured kombucha and enjoy the variation from the teas, cultures and brewing methods. But the one memorable kombucha that sticks in my mind that I found when visiting San Francisco a few years ago, and subsequently I sought it out any time I was in California, was Revive’s hibiscus refresher. I will be in LA for KombuchaKon and am looking forward to reacquainting with it.

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

I’m still working the day job! I studied plant science and have a PhD in agronomy. I’ve worked all my career in the agri-food sector, both in academic and commercial roles. For the last six years I’ve run a consultancy company that specializes in supporting farm based biogas fermentation plants. These produce renewable energy from organic materials and usually have over 3 million litre fermentation tanks. I remind myself of that sometimes when I’m managing the process in my little stainless steel tanks and it seems less daunting!

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

There’s a line in a Pearl Jam song that resonated with me from the first time I heard it and it continues to speak to me on a number of levels. It’s “Breathing hard, making hay, now this is living”.