Bootleg Bucha began in 2015 when it’s founders; Jeff Empric, Heather Lucas and Todd Salansky started sharing their home brewed kombucha with friends and family. After positive feedback they moved the operation out of Jeff and Heather’s kitchen. They began brewing and selling kombucha in a 400 square foot shared kitchen facility in the Horsefeathers Building.
During this time, we kept running into difficulties with NYS regulators. As trailblazers, we were a bit ahead of our time and regulators didn’t know exactly how to handle the kombucha brewing process. We were asked to pasteurize, filter to 1 micron and even obtain a NYS Farm Winery license, among others. It was a scary time- think inspectors, cease & desist letters (lawyers) all while planning out a new facility that may never open.
In September 2016, after many months of cooperation with many New York State regulation entities, we finally worked out an agreeable process. This process spelled out the guidelines to produce this fantastic beverage in New York State. By making kombucha production & distribution legal, it opened the door for us and other kombucha producers. We are currently aware of at least a dozen organizations, open or planning to open shortly. It’s economic development and job creation, while enabling consumers to live a healthier lifestyle.
Bootleg Bucha has made its home in the former Sterling Engine manufacturing facility at 1250 Niagara Street, in Buffalo, NY. We are proud to be part of the revitalization of Niagara Street as it transforms from industrial and manufacturing to mixed use. Our 10,000 square foot facility is state of the art, designed specifically around our process and allows us to continue to expand. Bootleg Bucha can be found on tap in our tasting room and is available in over 130 locations across the northeast (and growing), find us!
Drinking healthy doesn’t have to taste bad.