Superior Culture makes drinks. Living drinks.

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Cole Stefl

Marquette welcomes first-ever kombucha shop to the area

Alex Rowland lays in bed at night above his business, thinking about the thousands of micro-colonies living below him in his eight, 55-
gallon barrels. The barrels are packed with organic tea, sugar, wild yeast and a symbiotic culture of bacteria. The brew is fermented over a two-week span to create what is known as kombucha.

These unique living beverages have been consumed for thousands of years, not only
for its taste, but for its
beneficial health properties.

“We’re keeping things sour, tart and interesting,” owner of Superior Culture Rowland
said.

All beverages at Superior Culture are flavored with freshly pressed fruit juice, herbs and spices all sourced locally when possible, Rowland said. The kombucha is fermented in small batches using glass and wood barrels. Rowland constantly experiments with spontaneous fermentations, using wild yeast and bacteria to create one-of
a-kind-flavors.

The week-long fermentation process of kombucha produces acetic acid, which is found in vinegar, and several other acidic compounds with trace levels of alcohol and gases that make it carbonated.

A large amount of probiotic bacteria produced during the fermentation of kombucha provides a person’s gut with healthy bacteria that can improve many aspects of a person’s
health; including digestion, inflammation and even weight loss, Rowland said.

During the process of fermenting, the bacteria and yeast form a mushroom-like film on the surface of the liquid. This is why kombucha is known as “mushroom tea,” in the East where the tea originated, as stated in “The Big Book
of Kombucha.”

Superior Culture products are now sold out of reusable glass bottles or in a half-gallon sized growler out of the brewery
on Third Street. Inside Superior Culture is a cozy lounge and bar where people can hang out, while enjoying the rotating kombucha flavors including a cider flavor. There’s also a new traditional brewed beer with malt from U.P.
Malt Co., and beers with heavy fruit addition.
Hours are on Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to
6 p.m.

The taproom selection changes week to week depending on the farmers market products and the accessibility of products in the area, Rowland said. Superior Culture also buys organic products outside of the area—due to the farming location of tea and sugar—to keep the selection of flavors interesting and changing. On tap is four rotating kombuchas along with four beer and
wine flavors that are only
sold in-store.

“We sell our kombucha at the Marquette Farmers Market every Saturday, at events out of our kombucha trailer around the U.P., and in
stores to 20 clients in 15
active stores,” Rowland said.

New fall flavors will
be released soon, including: ginger beet, pink lady apple, and in January, blood orange hibiscus basil kombucha, Rowland added.