The Oizumi factory, which makes a boom for the “re-imported” “Kombucha” healthy fermented beverage

Beer rather than tea? What is “Kombucha” interested in?

When yellow liquid is poured from the host, swashwa and carbon dioxide break apart in the glass, and the surface is covered with white bubbles. Contrary to the sound of the name “Kombucha”, it looks like a raw beer. When you put it in your mouth, you can feel the freshness of the soda water and the deep acidity of the apple cider vinegar.

“Kombucha” is completely different from “Konbucha”. It is a beverage made by adding sugar, acetic acid bacteria, and Scobi (strain) derived from yeast to green tea or tea and fermented for about a week. It originated in East Mongolia and is believed to have been transmitted to the United States via South Korea. Despite its sweet taste, it contains few calories because it is tea, contains many bacteria lactic acid, enzymes, polyphenols … and works to regulate the intestinal environment.

It was popular in the United States for about 20 years amid growing health awareness, and is now the staple drink available at convenience stores. Since it can be easily made at home as long as there is a strain, it became a boom in Japan in the 1970s as “tea mushrooms”. “Kombucha” is said to be less acidic and easier to drink.

There are hundreds of combucha brands in Europe and the United States, and the market size in the US is estimated at around 50 billion yen per year. Although not well known in Japan, it is attracting the attention of sensitive consumers for its delicious taste, detoxification and skin beauty.

Open the “Engine room” attached to the factory

“KOMBUCHA flight” where you can compare different flavors.You can choose from 6 types offered in the gym

The Oizumi factory, which has the largest manufacturing base in Japan in Kawaguchi city, Saitama prefecture, could be the driving force behind the combucha boom in Japan. In April 2017, the directly managed store “Oizumi NISHIAZABU Factory” opened in Minato-ku, Tokyo. Based on the “original” standard product, it produces and sells 15 to 20 varieties of kombucha with juices like ginger, hibiscus flowers and mint grape flavors. The managed stores are directly aimed at women in their 20s and 30s, those with high taste and foreign buyers. American customers who visit the restaurant say, “It’s better than the restaurant back home.”

Recently, middle-aged men and older bring with them the base price (barrel sold by weight) to buy regularly, the base of consumption is increasingly expanding. In October 2017, a new brewery was built on the premises of the headquarters in Kawaguchi city to consolidate the production system. On the 25th of the same month, we opened a gym for you to enjoy your freshly made kombucha. There is also a cafe and garden terrace where the local population is crowded.

We are special about organic materials

President Oizumi said, “I want to be a health advocate of high-performance people, such as creators and athletes.”

We’re special about using organic materials. The main ingredient of the tea is from “Nagata Tea Garden”, which is organically grown in some places in Japan such as Uji city, Kyoto prefecture. Even the five spices like cardamom used for the “Bottle” milk tea flavor product with spices are thoroughly processed with JAS certified organic products. “Bottle” does not use milk and expresses its taste with vanilla and spices, so it is suitable for strict vegetarians.

Established in 1917, the company engaged in the sale of imported cookware and real estate business. In 2015, President Kantaro Oizumi and his colleagues visited the United States, an advanced country in organic food, in an effort to make the production and sale of organic food the mainstay of the Their new business aims to meet social needs such as an increase in the number of children with allergies. At the organic supermarket I visited, I saw a large “Kombucha only” shelf with a strong presence.

Looking at the bottom of the barrel with bacterial residue, President Oizumi laughed, “I thought it was an unpleasant drink, so I didn’t touch it at first.” The next morning after trying it, I was amazed how well I woke up and how light I was. When you are in good shape, your head will spin faster. Many business ideas came to mind. I soon got used to the unique acidity and started feeling good.

“It will definitely be popular in Japan.” With that in mind, I have visited more than 20 breweries on the American West Coast, which are health conscious. I have also seen a case of kombucha made in a craft brewery because of the same production method. After returning to Japan, President Oizumi had difficulty gathering manpower. We welcome Yuji Shimada, who has been involved in production and product development at major domestic and foreign craft beer companies, as the main brewer.

Applying craft beer technology

A brewery is kept at 28-30 ° C, ideal for fermentation.In the future, increase the number of tanks to 5 tanks and consolidate the production system

Mr. Shimada is in charge of production alone. Craft beer brewing equipment is crafted by connecting a fermentation tank for beer purchased at a store for home brewers in the US and a fermentation tank for wine made in Germany . However, hygiene management, which is the key to maintaining bacterial activity, must be careful. The level of “food factory grade” (Mr. Shimada) is maintained, such as washing equipment with 5 types of disinfectants. By good fermentation, the acidity is prevented and becomes easier to drink. The point is to add water to your homemade “tea mushrooms”, which are characterized by strong acidity.

It is said that drinking about 500 ml a day is fine, but even if you just say “healthy” you cannot expect to become a habit of consumption unless it tastes good. In the past, mushroom tea was usually made with about 10% sugar, but the company’s kombucha is reduced to about half, 5.4%, to fit modern people’s tongue. “Eat well with bread and rice balls” (President Oizumi) and “The oiliness is curbed and the meal continues” (Mr. Shimada). It is fermented to increase acidity and arranged like vinegar, and is also used as a seasoning for meals served at directly managed stores.

Uniqueness attracts the world

A strain of kombucha, like a fungus that disperses a large volume, is called a “tea mushroom” because of this appearance.

“It’s easier to make than beer, but has a wider range of expressions than beer,” Shimada said. For example, the popular flavor “Ginger” is created by adding juice using a cold juicer. On the other hand, craft beer “shoga flavor” is made by boiling ginger. Since kombucha is a non-heated manufacturing method, it has a delicate fragrance and finish while suppressing the unique spicy taste.

Mr. Shimada is enthusiastic about developing different flavors. To add unique value to Japanese products, we also prepare items that make you feel Japanese, such as Yuzu and Sakura. When it was brought to the “Kombucha Brewers International” meeting, held once a year by about 200 Kombucha production groups around the world, it was very well received. The “Sugi Barrel”, sold in the engine room in mid-November, is fermented in a sake brewing barrel, taking advantage of lactic acid bacteria and the unique aroma of the wooden barrel.

Visit the supermarket’s fruit and vegetable section and use it as a hint for new products. As for the winter season, it is said that they are creating a prototype of flavor showing an apple pie using apples and cinnamon. Mr. Shimada said, “Since I got into beer, I still want consumers to drink a lot”, but now when I make kombucha, I have more desire to drink more “for good health. . ” to speak.

From December, the production system will be strengthened by increasing the number of tanks, targeting annual production of 60 kilograms, five times the current level. For prospects in January 2018, start wholesaling, restaurant or office, plan to sell to the gym or similar. The name of the brewery opened has the word “TUNE” which means “to prepare” in English. President Oizumi said, “If you are in good shape, your mind will function naturally. I want you to be your health supporter at work.”

TUNE BREW KOMBUCHA Brewery & Gym

* Closed on Sundays and public holidays. If Monday is a national holiday, it will be closed on Tuesday.

Factory Oizumi NISHIAZABU (store is managed directly)
Instagram: oizumi_kojo_nishiazabu
8 min walk from Hiroo Station or 12 min walk from Roppongi Station
Monday-Sunday 8: 00-22: 00