On The Fence Kombucha • ENGLEWOOD, CO
Lauren Wilson, owner of On The Fence Kombucha spawned her product from an interest in digestive health. Lauren left her childhood home in Canada in 1980 and moved to Colorado. She graduated from college with a degree in advertising and worked as an artist for several years. Then her life changed when Lauren’s daughter was born with chronic reflux. The damage to her daughter’s gut and overall digestion led to Lauren’s return to school to become a Holistic Health Practitioner (HHP). The first product she created was called Uncle Jed’s Mellow Belly Mints. The mints were designed to help calm her daughter’s stomach irritation at school. The success of Uncle Jed’s Mellow Belly Mints was just the first stage in Lauren’s digestive healing product journey.
In 2017, after reading an article about Kombucha, Lauren bought the ingredients and brewed her first batch. Similar to the Mellow Belly Mints, her kombucha gained traction among friends and family, spiraling to the success it is today.
The Brew Process
Brewing kombucha is a multi-stage process requiring attention and knowledge. SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), the cellulose structure resulting from the bacteria in yeast, is an important piece of the kombucha brewing puzzle. In order to brew, you need to start with a strong tea, add sugar, water and the SCOBY culture. She explains that while you can grow your own SCOBY from a bottle of plain kombucha tea, it’s best to source it from someone who has experience in its growth.
Her Creative Spin
Lauren’s creativity and advertising background, have made naming her kombucha products fun. The flavors include:
Pulp fiction: blood orange ginger combination
Hippie Chick: hibiscus ginger
Hippie Cosmo: cranberry apple cinnamon
Mango Tango: mango jalapeno
Harry’s Elixir: coconut lime
Barefoot Commando: naked tea (best seller)
Kombucha and Alcohol
What is the relationship between alcohol and Kombucha? Lauren explains that ethyl alcohol is the byproduct of fermentation – an active culture consuming sugar. To measure alcohol levels in kombucha she waits approximately 5-7 days after fermentation begins, when the product is at the peak of its production cycle. Kombucha must not exceed the legal limit of .5% alcohol.
Good vs. Bad
“It all starts with the tea base,” she tells us. Teas with heavy tannins tend to make an extremely bitter tasting drink so the tea base has a major impact on your final product. “It all boils down to the scoby and how it is going to react.” Flavors such as fruits and herbs are added in the second fermentation process.
Sticking to Her Mission
Unlike many big kombucha companies that mass produce and sell nationally, On The Fence Kombucha is staying true to its local roots. Lauren’s mission is to ensure that the brew process remains local and the product is high quality. Other kombucha brands may compromise their product throughout the process as they brew in larger batches and water down the product to stretch it as far as possible. On The Fence Kombucha is producing a product in a way that is conducive to being locally grown. “I think that our product and the way we produce just feels right to us.”