Microbrewing Fits Her To A Tea; Entrepreneur Takes Note

By Sarah Kleiner Varble
The Virginian-Pilot.

A local face is gracing the pages of this month’s Entrepreneur magazine for her innovative business based out of Norfolk’s Five Points Community Farm Market.

In the article, Virginia Tech graduate Leslie Crews describes the path that led her to found Kombuchick, a microbrewer of nonalcoholic tea-based beverages.

“It really didn’t hit home for me until I walked into Barnes & Noble and I saw someone looking at the article,” Crews said. “In my head, I was thinking, ‘Wow, that’s me that they’re reading about, and they don’t know that I’m standing right here.’?”

Crews’ networking with Old Dominion University landed her on the pages of the popular magazine. Last fall, school officials invited her to a private dinner with Entrepreneur’s editor-in-chief, Amy Cosper, the night before she spoke at the President’s Lecture Series, Crews said.

Over dinner, Crews talked about her business. Cosper later started following her on Instagram, and one thing led to another, she said.

For the uninitiated, kombucha is a fermented tea beverage with a “cidery, vinegary” taste, Crews said. She described it as tart, dry and slightly effervescent.

Hers are brewed to mimic different styles of beer, such as stouts and hefeweizens.

It’s a big deal on the West Coast among folks seeking a healthier lifestyle, Crews said. It is touted as a probiotic, an appetite suppressor and a good source for B vitamins.

Crews is trying to raise $53,000 on Kickstarter to open “a late night pub alternative: a kombucha taphouse and mocktail lounge.” With 14 days left on Friday, she had seven backers who had pledged $360 total.

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