Thursday, May 4, 2017

Remington’s Starter Culture

Bufano in Wild Kombucha’s Timonium brewing room.
 By Craig Bettenhausen

Remington is a place where some have lived their entire lives; others are more recent. Then again, a few have never lived here but nonetheless feel an attachment.

Wild Kombucha was first brewed in Hampden, but co-owner Adam Bufano says, “We feel like Remington is where we started.” Charmington’s and Sweet 27 were among the few first places to stock their product, which they launched in February of 2015.

Co-owner Sergio Malarin describes kombucha as a fermented probiotic tea that can boost metabolism, improve digestion, and aid liver function. It’s fizzy, tart, and gaining traction in conventional grocery stores.

Malarin and Bufano are step-brothers, and their family brewed kombucha at home when they were kids. They started brewing it themselves around 2014 and were soon bartering it for discounts on their rent. Then they decided to go pro.

Though they all pitch in all around the business, Bufano focuses on product development, Malarin handles sales and marketing, and co-owner Sid Sharma is “the numbers guy.”

Recently they expanded into a larger space in Timonium. “We almost moved into a space on Cresmont,” says Bufano. “But the zoning wasn’t workable.”

Wild Kombucha's walk-in fridge.

The move out to the county allowed them to scale up from a max of around 100 12-pack cases per week to 250 cases plus 15 kegs per week. In the coming months, they’ll add an automated sanitizing, bottling, and labeling machine that will streamline production.

But they still feel connected to Remington and Hampden. The Charmery on W. 36th Street did a sorbet with the Mango Peach flavor and a float with the Apple Spice; R. Bar recently did a kombucha sangria. And Ground & Griddled (in R. House) has Wild Kombucha on tap anytime.