Whether you think it’s weird and gross, a hipster trend, a hangover cure sent from the Gods or you’ve developed a full-blown obsession, one thing about kombucha is certain: this wellness trend is taking over.
Founder Ellen We began serving her uniquely dry kombucha brews back in 2015, at the Whistler Farmer's Market. What started as a passion project has evolved into a personal mission to spread the kombucha love, and teach the Sea to Sky residents to love their guts. Since her first experiments in college almost 6 years ago, Kombucha is becoming a fridge staple across B.C.
In case you haven’t heard, Kombucha is a sparkling beverage produced by fermenting tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria. These ’SCOBYS’ - symbiotic cultures of bacteria and yeast - are the lifeblood of Spark’s deliciousness. The result is a crisp, refreshing, probiotic drink that can vary from sweet to tangy depending on your tastebuds and the length of the fermentation process. Its first recorded use was in China in 221 BC, when it was known as "The Tea of Immortality”.
The health food industry has been quick to sing kombucha’s praises. It is thought that the bacteria line your digestive tract and support your immune system, as well as gut health. Whilst there have been no scientific trials at this stage, what we can guarantee is that Spark Kombucha is a sensory delight for your tastebuds.
“Do what you love and love what you do. Whatever lights you up, spark it.”
- Ellen We, Whistler.
Here lies the meaning behind Spark’s brand name, revealing a passion that goes years back to Ellen’s humble roots in home brewing. After rolling seasons of snowboarding during the day and working in hospitality until the early hours, Ellen decided to go back to school and get an office gig. It was during this time that she discovered kombucha and became enamoured with its refreshing taste. She started making it at home and sharing it with friends, and once she noticed its scarcity in Whistler, made it her mission to bring it to the Sea to Sky. Specialising in dry brews, Spark's flavours are characteristically fizzy and tart, with just a hint of sweet.
Spark has become wildly successful thanks to Ellen's unrelenting efforts. Keeping her roots in the community, Ellen is committed to producing small batch kombucha with very little environmental impact. She is dedicated to supporting local businesses and using only the best organic ingredients. Their tea is supplied by a Whistler-based Namasthe Tea, their tap handles custom made by a local carpenter, and much of their printing is done through local print shops. Until this spring, Spark was only available via growler refills as a commitment to producing as little waste as possible. However, the people of Whistler have spoken, and bottles have now been added to their retail line.
Her latest release is the make-at-home Brew Kit, which comes with everything you need to get your own kombucha brew started! I caught up with Ellen to talk about this exciting release.
“We totally understand that people are hesitant to make their own kombucha at home. I was there and was totally nervous for the first few months, so my science brain took the reigns. I kept detailed notes and closely monitored the pH levels to ensure that each batch started and finished at the correct level. Over the years, we have carefully curated the items found in The Essentials Brew Kit. It comes with everything you need to confidently start your brewing adventure: premium ingredients, brewing components, step by step instructions, guiding tools and pro tips.”
You can follow Ellen's blog to learn more about the booch-making process. Contact Spark directly to purchase your first home brew kit this summer. You can purchase your individual bottles of Spark (or fill up a growler) directly through them at Farmers Markets and local events. Spark is also stocked all throughout the Sea to Sky, you can find them in: Nesters Markets, The Grocery Store, Green Moustache, Portobello (Chateau Fairmont), Stay Wild (Pemberton), A-Frame Brewing, Backcountry Brewing, and Howe Sound Brew House.