Kombucha bar offers space for live music, local artists to thrive


Photo courtesy of Ebyn Shambeau

Nicola Falco performs with his band “The Kitchen Sink” at Superior Culture’s outdoor stage on Sept. 30 before the venue was taken down for the winter season.

Maggie Duly, Social Media Editor

Superior Culture is a kombucha brewery and taproom established in 2018 centrally located on Third Street in Marquette. The business was created by brewmaster, Alex Rowland, Michigan State University graduate with a bachelors of science in biosystems engineering. 

The taproom offers a variety of beverages that draws in customers of all ages with regular non-alcoholic kombucha always on tap as well as meads, ciders, seltzers and beer. 

Superior Culture was once a house so the taproom has a small cozy atmosphere with room for a few dozen people. Every weekend there are live music performances right next to the bar. 

The kombucha bar has offered a space for artists to express themselves. With live music, poetry readings and artwork for sale on display, Rowland has created an ode to the local art scene with his business. 

“I think performing at a place like Superior Culture is a great time honestly. When the outdoor stage was built, it really brought together the Marquette music community,” local student musician Nicola Falco said. “We were playing in basements before and all of a sudden, here comes this venue with the perfect mix of classy and crunchy, where the musicians of Marquette get to show everyone else what they got.”

When COVID-19 shut many places down in 2020, businesses had to find a way to stay open with limited capacity. That is when Rowland invested in an event tent in the business’ backyard. 

The outdoor venue was originally created in 2020 to maintain a safe space for live music during COVID-19,” Rowland said. “We recently expanded on the area this year to include a stage and an 8 foot sound dampening fence.”

As the summer of 2021 came to an end, Superior Culture’s outdoor venue was brought under review by the City Planning Commission due to “concerns regarding the noise level of the outdoor music venue,” Rowland said. A meeting was held at City Hall on Oct. 19 where it was decided the outdoor venue would be shut down until further notice. There is an agenda including statements of complaints and support on the Planning Commission’s official website. No minutes recap was available.  

It feels like our home court and every other venue is just an away game. It was a shame to see the outdoor music get shut down in its infancy,” Falco said.

Rowland created a change.org petition to gather support for and “defend our right to host live music in the city of Marquette,” the petition stated. Many customers commented on this petition about their personal connection to the business and the sense of community it provides, while 1,363 people signed the petition in support.  

Honestly, I think I go to Superior Culture for the same reasons everyone else in Marquette goes there. To watch the live music,” Vaughn Rodriguez, junior public relations major said. “I mean, the kombucha is great but have you seen some of the talented musicians that come through there? It’s gotten to a point where you get there and there’s this community of people who are there week in and week out just to see the music, and the funny part is, everybody is always in a great mood.”

Music events will still be held inside the taproom on the weekends. There will be another meeting on April 19, 2022 to reevaluate the determination for the 2022 summer season. This meeting is open to the public.