ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Happy Gut Sanctuary, an international-award-winning kombucha business based in Rochester, is moving to High Falls, at 229 Mill Street. They hope to complete the move by the fall.
They’re making the move to be part of the revitalization effort, and to expand their hours and offer more services.
They are currently in the Hungerford Building, and are open Thursday through Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Happy Gut Sanctuary also does their production in this space, brewing hundreds to one thousand gallons of the fermented tea a week.
Happy Gut started as a home brewing business by CEO Catt Hsu, for current and head brewer Rob Heffner.
“(I saw) my mom living with lung cancer,” Hsu said. “So, I got to see firsthand how that changed with her living with cancer, as healthy as she could be.”
“I had been suffering from IBS,” Heffner said. “I had been drinking kombucha when I was younger, and Catt thought ‘let me try making it,’ and it was more cost-effective making it at home.”
Not long after, they were giving away the extra kombucha to friends. Eventually, it caught on, and they were able to open their cozy place in the Hungerford in Rochester.
It’s here that they have 12 kinds of kombucha on tap — which is a kind of fermented tea made with healthy bacteria and yeast — that they also distribute to Rochester and beyond. Hsu says they keep up on 30 rotating flavors.
Many of their tea leaves come from local companies, they even have three international award-winning varieties, including:
“Amaterasu, which is our Japanese sencha, which we ferment,” Hsu said. “It’s just green tea, but through the fermentation, it tastes like lemonade, with notes of peaches and apricot.”
But after nearly three years in the Hungerford, they’re making the move to High Falls. Their short-term plan is to keep production at the Hungerford.
The new place in the old Fina’s will allow for expanded service, food from ROC City Ramen, and for them to part of a growing area of the city.
“It’s been really nice to see it’s going through another revitalization, and we would love to be part of that,” Hsu said.
Happy Gut Sanctuary also has an active GoFundMe to help them with the move. You can find it here.