Arts on the Square Spotlight: Meet Ryan Makinson of Clarks Cultures

Saturday, June 27, 2015
We love Kombucha!  This fermented drink is not only delicious but has wonderful health benefits. Clarks Cultures has taken the area by storm since opening up shop about a year ago and we’re so glad that they are vending at this year’s Arts on the Square.

Hello Ryan!

So what exactly is kombucha?
Kombucha is a fermented tea!  Brewing kombucha starts out very simply: It begins with steeped tea and sugar, the sugar being a food source for the culture that does all of the work.  Kombucha is fermented with a yeast & bacteria culture over a period of days and weeks.  The yeast eat up the sugar, which results in carbon dioxide (effervescence!) and alcohol - the alcohol is then converted by the bacteria into their own food so they can grow and multiply.  So, after a brew session is completed, we're left with a non-alcoholic, low-sugar, probiotic drink!

Photo: Lawrence Braun

How long have you been brewing kombucha and when did you start?
I have been brewing kombucha for just over two years, and my business has been up & running for one year.  I discovered kombucha when I started working at Everything Natural about three years ago.  One of my co-workers gave me my first culture and instructions on how to make my own brew, and I haven't stopped brewing since.  I literally began with one kombucha culture and now I have hundreds.  Since I picked up my first culture in Clarks Summit, I decided to name the company after the town, Clarks Cultures!

Photo: Lawrence Braun

Do you have various flavors of kombucha?
Yes indeedy -- Naturally, I have an Original flavor which is just kombucha, nothing added.  Additionally, I have six other flavors that are crafted using real, organic fruits & herbs during a secondary fermentation -- BlūBerry, Turmeric & Ginger, I'm a Ginger!, Raspberry, Slightly Strawberry, and Mango-Lime.

What are some of the health benefits of kombucha?
Basically, good bacteria in - bad bacteria out.  Since kombucha is a probiotic beverage, it helps restore good bacteria in the stomach.  As a result, bad bacteria have a harder time taking hold within the digestive system and the body can more easily eliminate.  In turn, this helps promote a detox effect by restoring the natural balances of the stomach, which can then contribute to overall, bodily health.  Sidenote: What I just said is what I have learned about kombucha and hasn't necessarily been verified or approved by the FDA.  (Have to cover all of the angles...)

 Photo: Lawrence Braun

Where can our readers find your product?
Several different places around Scranton: JJ McNally's, Zummo's Café, Terra Preta, eden- a vegan cafe, Mansour's, and the South Side Farmers Market every Saturday!  If you want to venture outside of the Electric City, you can find my full line at Everything Natural (Clarks Summit), and other places like House of Nutrition (Luzerne), The Mill Market (Hawley), and several more -- check the Clarks Cultures Facebook page for the full list.

Learn more about Clarks Cultures:
Facebook: Clarks Cultures
Instagram: @clarkscultures
Scranton Times-Tribune article

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