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Katboocha opens ‘Booch Bar’ on Railroad Street 

click to enlarge Katarina Schwarz of Katboocha pours a cup of pine needle kombucha.

PHOTO BY GINO FANELLI

Katarina Schwarz of Katboocha pours a cup of pine needle kombucha.

Since its founding in 2018, Katboocha has sold bottles of its fermented tea products at various restaurants and establishments around the Rochester region. But the company recently opened a storefront, dubbed the “Booch Bar,” at 106 Railroad Street, a taproom offering a variety of fresh-made kombucha.

The plan to open a taproom began in February, but was sidelined by the pandemic. The initial construction of the kombucha taproom began over the summer.

“When it seemed like demand was still there for kombucha, even through everything, we started to get to work on this place,” said Katarina Schwarz, Katboocha’s founder.

Kombucha is essentially a sweet tea base fermented using a variety of microbes known as a “SCOBY,” short for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.” The result is a slightly tart, slightly funky carbonated drink with a trace amount of alcohol, touted as being a good source of probiotics. Schwarz began making kombucha after noticing the benefit on her own digestive issues.

Up until the taproom’s opening, Katboocha products were only sold at local restaurants, cafes, and watering holes, including Joe Bean Roasters, Iron Smoke Distilling, and Balsam Bagels. The kombucha itself was brewed at Rohrbach Brewing Company, directly across Railroad Street from the converted garage space that now houses Katboocha.

The new space on Railroad Street boasts 12-taps and six two-barrel fermenters. On tap for the opening Thursday were beet, pine needle, Jasmine, grapefruit lavender, maple, and vanilla bergamot kombucha variants. Patrons can buy the beverages fresh from the tap or in bottles.

“Consider all the beverages on this little strip,” Schwarz said. “You have a brewery, you have a distillery, coffee from Boxcar, you can get a margarita. Now you can get another, non-alcoholic choice. It’s still fermented, and still a craft beverage made in small batches here.”

Katboocha’s taproom is open Thursday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Gino Fanelli is a CITY staff writer. He can be reached at (585) 775-9692 or gino@rochester-citynews.com.

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