What goes into a can of JuneShine Hard Kombucha?T
he magic of JuneShine is mostly in the can. Drinking the hard kombucha made from all-natural, organic ingredients that comes in some pretty snazzy cans might tell you all you’d need to know about the good people who make it. You’d think. But that’s not half the story.
JuneShine co-founder Forrest Dein told us that the company doesn’t exactly have an employee handbook. But what they do give every new hire is a copy of Patgonia founder Yvon Chouinard’s book “Let My People Go Surfing.” Maybe you’d think that says everything you need to know about the good people who make JuneShine. You’d think. But you’re still not all the way there.
To know JuneShine really and truly, you’d need to visit The JuneShine Ranch in San Diego, the sprawling complex that opened this past summer that serves as home base, brewing central, and where you are welcome to the series of events and concerts held there. It’s also got its own restaurant and 52 taps with rotating hard kombuchas, beer, wine, mead, and cider that change weekly.
And somehow the good people who make JuneShine distill all of this and put it into brightly colored cans with designs you might want to paper your walls with.
Let’s meet a few of them. These are the people you might bump into if you spent a day at The JuneShine Ranch.
Chief Brewing Officer (and former Director of Brewing at Saint Archer), Mountain Biker, lead guitar in Dead Feather Moon band
How is brewing beer similar and different from brewing JuneShine?
Brewing beer and brewing JuneShine hard kombucha can be separated into two distinct processes, hot side and cold side. With beer, the hot side is much more complex. Water is mixed with grain to create a “mash,” the liquid extract or “wort” is then transferred to a kettle and boiled, hops are added, it is cooled and then sent to a fermenter. In kombucha production, we simply make a giant batch of green tea, add organic honey, cool and send to a fermenter.
The cold side is where it gets more complicated. With beer, the majority of the time you are working with a single microorganism, brewer’s yeast, to convert the sugars into alcohol. In hard kombucha, we undergo a primary fermentation with a “SCOBY,” which stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast, to convert the honey (sugar) into alcohol and produce acidity. We then add organic cane sugar and additional brewing for a secondary fermentation that boosts the alcohol to 6 percent.
Can you explain hopped kombucha, and how it’s different from your other hard kombucha?
I assume you are referring to Hopical Citrus, our dry hopped hard booch using organic Simcoe and Cascade hops, pineapple, orange, and grapefruit zest. I think it is safe to say this is a brewery favorite at the moment. The process is basically the same. We brew our base product using green tea and honey, ferment dry, add hops post fermentation (commonly known as dry hopping in beer), along with the organic juice. This flavor has the intense citrus, pine, and tropical fruit that is common in well-made IPAs, but with zero bitterness in the finish. It is incredibly drinkable, low in calories and sugar, and crazy refreshing.
A beard-care tip?
Use scissors, not clippers.
The greatest guitarist is the one who is playing the right way at the right place and the right time.
Who is the greatest guitarist who ever lived?
That is an impossible question. It’s like asking “what is the greatest beer ever made,” or “who is the best painter?” The greatest guitarist is the one who is playing the right way at the right place and the right time. Music, in general, is great when it makes you feel something more than ordinary, everyday emotions. A guitarist that can make you feel intensely sad, happy, angry, excited, sleepy, fired up: that’s one that has real skill.
Follow up, since you brought it up, What’s the greatest beer ever made?
Again, as with music, beer is more about time, place, and mood than anything else. A well made barrel aged imperial stout drinks incredibly well sitting around a campfire with your best buddies after a long day of mountain biking, a JuneShine Blood Orange Mint on the beach after you get out of the water might be the most refreshing beverage in the world, and a crisp, clean American Pale Ale with a slice of pizza cannot be beat.
Brewer, youth baseball coach, not who you would expect to be brewing hard kombucha
What would you be doing if you weren’t a hard kombucha brewer?
Well at JuneShine they already allow us to be “More Than a Brewer.” If I was not able to make this delicious, organic—and did I say delicious yet?—hard kombucha, I would devote more time to my nonprofit to help get the youth physically active through the restoration of sport facilities. I received my Bachelors of Science in Exercise Science from James Madison University and have found joy in helping the youth develop healthy physical activity goals. Beyond devoting more time to the youth I would love to continue my growth in achieving a zero waste lifestyle. JuneShine has triggered a desire in my day-to-day life to become more sustainable, and the more I learn about how to become more sustainable the more I fall in love with the zero waste lifestyle.
Your greatest accomplishment on the baseball diamond?
If you asked me this the day after my college baseball career ended I would have immediately answered being a D-1 baseball player. However, I have been involved in coaching over the past couple years and my greatest accomplishment is having the game of baseball be a part of my life for 20-plus years. When you are young you set a goal to make it as far in baseball as possible and once you are done playing you assume your time with the game is over. To find a way to make baseball a part of my day to day life has been my greatest accomplishment on the diamond, which was made possible by JuneShine.
What’s been your favorite day at the JuneShine Ranch?
Over the summer our Head Brewer, Molly Ross, took the brew crew to Ho Chi Minh Trail in La Jolla to hike down to Black’s Beach. We were able to hit a quick hike and surf prior to showing up to the Ranch to work. That day stands out to me because it solidified that we stand by our “Let My People Go Surfing” policy.
Director of Brewing at JuneShine Ranch, one of the highest ranking female brewers on the West Coast
Dream location for a JuneShine retreat?
I love camping and getting out in nature, it’s great for team building! Locally my favorite spot is Mt. Laguna. Nothing better than bonding around the campfire.
Best thing about living in Southern California?
I can mountain bike year round!
How did you get into brewing?
I wanted to be a part of creating something I am proud of. I talked my way into it after working years in aviation. Luckily someone took a chance on me and I proved myself. I’ve really found my passion in this industry, especially with the shared values of JuneShine.
One piece of advice you’d give to young women getting started working in the brewing industry?
Work hard, stay motivated, don’t expect anything if it wasn’t earned, and listen. There is a lot to learn from the people around you. This applies to males and females launching into the brewing industry.
Makes sure the ship is always sailing smoothly, Director of Brewery Facilities Maintenance
Most challenging problem you’ve faced at the Ranch?
It’s been a pretty smooth ride so far but as we continue to produce more and more product we are finding that storage space for raw materials is becoming a challenge. We are finding creative ways around that.
Who would play you in a movie about a day at the Ranch?
I would say George Clooney, been told I look sort of like him.
If you designed a JuneShine can, what would you put on it?
It would depend on the flavor I suppose.
What flavor would you want to see? Then what would you put on the can?
Well, maybe a kiwi flavor. Since I am the maintenance guy, the can would probably have a kiwi’s juices being squeezed in between a couple of gears or something to that effect.
SoCal Sales Manager, former semi-pro snowboarder
If you could put one of JuneShine’s can designs on a snowboard, which one would it be?
Midnight Painkiller, for sure!
Top three songs to listen to while snowboarding?
Pretty much any classic rock gets me fired up! But: “I Need You,” Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Goin’ Down Slow,” Free, “Wild Side,” Mötley Crüe.
Bear or Mammoth?
They’re both so fun and different but Mammoth takes the W.
Best part of a day at the Ranch?
Seeing how passionate everyone is about the brand and of course taking Chili Mango shots with the team!
Do you have a dog?
No, but I love dogs and stop to pet all every one that I walk by! Once I stop traveling so much I’m for sure getting one!
Kahana Kalama, aka Sunburnt Reynolds
Creative Director, DJ
Is Kahana Kalama Sunburnt Reynold’s Clark Kent alter ego or is it the other way around?
It’s actually a little more like the Popeye conundrum. I tend to be a little reserved but once I tune a couple JuneShines my Sunburnt superpowers kick in.
If you could switch jobs with anyone at JuneShine for a week, who would you switch with?
Any of the booch tenders. I love the social element of being behind the bar and you tend to meet the raddest people at our tasting rooms.
What flavor JuneShine would Bandit (of Smokey and the Bandit) drink? And why?
It’d be a toss up between Chili Mango and Honey Ginger Lemon… they’re audacious, full of flavor and come with a kick.