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Bottom's Up: How a Kombucha Bar Took Root in Virginia A small-batch brewer rethinks the probiotic favorite.

By Jodi Helmer

This story appears in the January 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

photo © Brad Howell

Entrepreneur: After graduating from Virginia Tech, Leslie Crews started brewing kombucha—the probiotic tea drink believed by many to have health benefits related to digestion and mood—in the spare bedroom of her Virginia Beach townhouse.

"Aha" moment: Crews, a onetime bartender, brewed various flavors of the fermented beverage for herself. When she showed up at parties with bottles of her concoctions, friends fell in love and started placing orders. "I decided it was time to get out of the spare bedroom and set up a legitimate business," recalls Crews, who left her job as a government contractor in 2010 to start Kombuchick.

Popping the top: With $1,500 from her savings account, Crews rented space in a commercial kitchen, purchased bottles and ingredients, and started selling Kombuchick at Norfolk's Five Points Community Farm Market. Her sophisticated flavors—chai stout, chai light, jasmine light, hibiscus haze—attracted a lot of attention.

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