Kombucha comes to W’burg’s old Pfizer building

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Out with the Viagra, in with the kombucha!

The old Pfizer plant, where drugs like Viagra and Claritin were once produced, is being put to new use making the fermented health-drink kombucha, and brewer Brett Casper says there’s no better spot.

“It’s been here since 1849, but it’s super teched out. It’s awesome,” said kombucha brewer Brett Casper. “They have a million dollar water filtration system — they’re not playing around.”

Casper’s kombucha party operation isn’t the only food joint in the building — it’s not even the only kombucha brand being made there. Kombucha Brooklyn, Brooklyn Soda Works, McClure’s Pickles, Steve’s Ice Cream, and other culinary craftsmen make the old Pfizer building a veritable food factory.

Kombucha itself is a fizzy, tea-based drink, which is left to ferment under a thick layer of yeast and bacteria for two to six weeks. While the moldy bacterial culture under which the kombucha ferments is not particularly appetizing, the colorful, carbonated beverage it produces is said to be tasty and beneficial to your health.

“Kombucha’s been around since 212 BC, and it was known as the immortal elixir,” explained Casper. “It’s supposed to detox and eliminate toxins from your body, and the pro-biotics are said to center your chi, by creating a positive environment in your intestinal tract.”

Much of the evidence in regards to the drink’s health benefits are anecdotal, but Casper says it works for him.

“Since I’ve been drinking it I’ve felt much better,” he said. “It gives you a buzz and it’s definitely a mood enhancer.”

To advertise his kombucha party, and raise some funds to support his kombucha brewing, Casper is hosting a series of health-themed parties at the spa, Awakening New York, where patrons can enjoy $1-per-minute massages, and a mysterious form of sound therapy invented by Buddhist monks in Tibet.

“[The sound therapy] essentially shakes up the cells in your body, and it’s good for detoxing your emotions,” said Phillia Downs, who co-founded the spa. “It’s very meditative too, you just kind of zone out and let your mind rest.”

But if relaxing to the vibrations of exotic Tibetan gongs isn’t your thing, there’s always drinking — kombucha, when mixed with your liquor of choice, makes for an excellent cocktail, according to Casper.

“It’s very conducive to partying, because it contains glycolic acid and it’s just basically believed to make the liver more efficient, so drinking kombucha with cocktails is a smart idea.”

Awakening NY Wellness Center [607 Manhattan Ave. between Driggs and Nassau avenues in Williamsburg, (718) 349–1380,]. Aug. 7, 8 pm. $20.

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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Reader Feedback

Lisa from Greenpoint says:
First of all, it's NOT GLYCOLIC acid. It's glucoronic acid. Glycolic acid is what they use as a skin exfolient for chemical skin peels. What's with all the encouraging of partying and alcohol after healthy activities in this issue? Yoga and drinking? It's sad that young people are being encouraged to drink at every opportunity. It's sad to watch all the drunk kids on Bedford Ave. on weekends/weeknights stumbling down the street, acting inconsiderately, making tons of noise, vomiting behind trash cans, boyfriends trying to hold up their drunk girlfriends. As an RN, I have seen increasing numbers of people(30's-40's) showing signs of liver and organ damage at young ages. Alcohol is toxic to the cells, very damaging to the liver,and enhances depression. Don't mislead people into thinking that adding your hippy brew to alcohol makes it a healthful, zen-like, "smart" experience. Especially when you don't really even know the chemical components of what you are brewing. Kombucha has a modest amount of probiotics, glucoronic acid and may lower your PH. Drinking alcohol(especially distilled spirits) will kill most of the probiotics, increase your PH and the glucoronic acid may help activate some liver enzymes so that the alcohol is metablozed faster, thus taking more alcohol volume to cause toxicity(drunkeness). Basically you have cancelled out the alleged benefits of Kombucha.
July 21, 2012, 3:20 pm
Brett from Billyburg says:
Lisa must be a blast at the holiday party
July 22, 2012, 12:55 am

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