Buffalo’s Bootleg Bucha recently launched a new product that no one quite expected, and now everyone is craving. The company released a hemp-based kombucha on 4-20 that is creating quite a stir with the Bootleg/hemp fan base. According to company co-founder, Jeff Empric, “We’re now licensed in NYS as a hemp processor – a license to process industrial hemp. We’re working with local farmers, and a drying plant of the East Side plant (Plant Science Laboratories) – they procure the hemp locally and dry it for us. They are currently looking to source more hemp from more farmers, to keep up with production.”
Empric attributes the hemp craze with a Cuomo administration initiative that is making it a priority to invest in the hemp industry. “Currently, we’re in the process of investing in a million dollar piece of equipment that will help us to process and separate the hemp into oils and liquids for more medicinal purposes, which would coincide with kombucha production, and possibly some other products. CBD is good for anti-inflammatory and helps to ease anxiety – it’s better than prescription drugs,” said Empric, who is stunned that the demand for hemp kombucha is so high. “We pre-sold $400 worth of product before we even opened our doors this morning. It’s more exciting than our original bucha launch. We’re selling faster than we can make it.”
In order to handle the added kombucha production, the Bootleg gang is expanding into an additional 2500 square feet within its facility. If you’ve been following the Bootleg craze, then you are aware of how much they have already expanded since first opening. “We have 300 gallons in process, with 70 gallons of that already sold,” mentioned Empric. “We will be making another 600 gallons next week. We’re also doubling the size of our taproom, and will soon have a beer and wine license, with food, which we will operate. It’s going to be café-esque, serving up paninis and pastries.”
When asked about the taste of the hemp kombucha, he said that it’s super tasty, although a whiff of the vat does smell like bong water. That’s understandable considering that the distilled drink is made with all industrial hemp, with no THC, though that might change one day, if NYS decides to jump onboard the pro-marijuana bandwagon. The lack of THC apparently hasn’t stopped people from going nuts over this new product.
Empric says that the next batch of hemp bucha will be available in two weeks. “The product is currently only available on our website, in our tasting room in 2 weeks, and in stores hopefully by June.”