WILMINGTON—A non-alcoholic taproom with bubbly, probiotic brews has joined the league of Wilmington’s thriving craft brewery market.
Panacea Brewing Co.’s tiny taproom- 140 sq. ft. to be exact – is now open and available to serve their craft kombucha to a wider clientele.
“We were primarily only doing farmers markets and festivals,” said Robin Hill, who co-owns Panacea Brewing Co. with her husband Artie Hill.
“Now that the market season ended we have regular customers that wanted a place to get their kombucha so we knew we needed to have some sort of taproom open.”
Customers can pick up a pint, mini growler, liter, or 64-ounce growler from Panacea’s eight taps offering seasonal, fermented brews. Panacea also offer kegs at a wholesale rate for various distributors.
“We’ve got this tiny little taproom here that is part of our production brewery,” Robin said.
Artie Hill’s background is in craft beer and combined his expertise in fermentation with his wife’s desire to create probiotic drinks.
Robin Hill started out with kefir but said it would cross-contaminate with Artie’s home brews. “It kept messing up his beer,” she said.
“I didn’t want to give up on making probiotic drinks,” she said. Eventually, she started brewing kombucha, which was not as reactive with her husband’s beer projects.
“It was the first ferment we could both agree on,” she said.
Regularly drinking kombucha cleared Artie Hill’s acid reflux, further cementing the couple’s belief in the brew. The couple started their business in the Burgaw Incubator Kitchen, and things grew from there.
While legally a non-alcoholic beverage, kombucha still naturally contain trace amounts of alcohol, Rose Hill said. She added that Panacea’s Kombucha is tested to make sure it can legally be served with an alcohol content under of .5 percent.
For those unfamiliar with kombucha, upon their first try, people may experience a physical flush.
“A lot of people who drink kombucha can feel a little flush or buzz, but it’s usually actually from a huge amount of B vitamins, not usually from the alcohol,” Robin Hill said.
Artie Hill compared the flush to a surge of energy, citing how the popular 5-hour Energy shots are packed with B vitamins.
“Eventually, we’re going to come up with some alcoholic kombucha, because we can brew it up to eight percent,” Artie Hill said.
Panacea Brewing Co. is now open at 102 Old Eastwood Road, Unit A5, Wilmington.
Johanna Ferebee can be reached at email@example.com or @j__ferebee on Twitter