Joker Brewing Brings Hard Kombucha To Williamsburg

Photo by Leslie Pearce

YORK- You may have tried hard cider or hard lemonade, but have you tried hard kombucha? Joker Brewing on Palace Lane specializes in the newest craft beverage.

Kombucha is a fermented drink made from tea. It is naturally vegan and gluten-free with vitamins and probiotics. Hard kombucha is a light, refreshing alcoholic drink made with tea, sweeteners, and some magic from nature. It has a distinctive taste and is also at the low end of calories and sugar for alcoholic drinks.

Joker Brewing is one of the first establishments in Virginia to make hard kombucha, a beverage that has only been widely available since 2015 in the United States. The company has been making kombucha for King of Clubs Coffee roastery, its sister company, for more than two years.

Joker Brewing uses only the best organic ingredients from local growers to brew its hard kombucha. Small-batch brews are continually evolving. The number one sellers are “Queen of Hearts” peach cobbler and “Puppet Master” raspberry mint as well as a blackberry mint flavor and several other pairings.

“I love connecting with new guests that visit wondering about the product,” said Josef Kruger, business development manager for Joker Brewing. “Many people don’t know what hard kombucha is, have never tried it, or have an interesting idea of what they think it will be like. The look on their faces when they taste it and then keep drinking is priceless.”

Kruger added, “It is very rewarding creating a high-quality product that is unique and delicious, while also educating visitors and locals about the health benefits and showing them how the whole process works, from tea leaf to fizzy, boozy deliciousness.”

Kruger, along with six other employees, enjoy not only connecting with locals and visitors from all over the country but also partnering with other local businesses and alcohol producers. Joker Brewing is part of the Tasting Trail through and Drink Williamsburg.

Joker Brewing, along with King of Clubs Coffee, was founded by Lance Zaal. Zaal has a family connection to brewing through his third great grandfather. Thomas Helliwell Sr. opened a brewery and distillery in Don Mills, about halfway up Toronto’s beautiful Don Valley, almost 200 years ago.

“When he started in 1821, he was probably having some of the same experimental fun we are having today,” said Zaal.

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