Portland fine tea retailer Townshend’s Tea Company opened in 2003, branched into producing Brew Dr. Kombucha in 2008, and now isolates the alcohol created when kombucha ferments, distilling it into a base for its new Townshend’s Distillery line of tea spirits. “We opened a craft distillery that uses the kombucha ethanol as the base,” says brewer Seth O’Malley. After a polish, the distillate loses its kombucha-ish vinegar tang, yet retains hints of the flavour—for instance, the jasmine and lavender notes from Brew Dr.’s Love kombucha become the base for a floral gin. For purists, Thomas & Sons’ first spirit is imbued with Ceylon black tea and—at 70 proof—strong enough to really get the tea party started.
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