From homebrew to storefront: Zip Kombucha is first of its kind

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This article was originally written for The Spenardian.


You may have sipped on Ginger Rogers at Double Shovel Cider Co., or bought a growler of your favorite Blueberry Mary kombucha from La Bodega, but Zip Kombucha now has its own brick and mortar in Anchorage’s Spenard neighborhood.

Zip Kombucha’s storefront officially opened Sept. 23.

“Our grand opening went really well. It was so amazing to see many of our original fans come in and be excited to buy our kombucha again,” Jessie Janes, owner of Zip Kombucha, said.

Janes has always dreamt of being an entrepreneur. In high school, he tried to create his own business. During his time in the Army, he had shirts printed and sold them for profit, but none of those ideas kept his attention for very long. Then, he started brewing kombucha.

“I’ve tried different things to get that entrepreneurial bug out of my system,” Janes said. “And this was finally something tangible that I could touch that was, timing wise, in the market… something that you love that’s also feasible in the market. Kombucha kind of hit that groove.”

Janes began brewing five years ago in a little glass pot in his kitchen with leftover tea him and his ex-wife had purchased for gift baskets. Janes and his ex-wife began the process by developing Zip’s logo and creating the name. They put an ad on Craigslist for employees or potential partners, and an engaged couple started working with the pair in February of 2016.

From then on, they hit the ground running and were rolling into production in the spring of 2016. The group had raised $15,000 from a Kickstarter campaign and found a commercial kitchen they could rent with the equipment they needed to start brewing. But things began to fall apart near the end of the summer. In August of 2016, when two partners left the business and Janes and his ex-wife separated and was going through the divorce process, all while trying to negotiate the business.

Months passed until him and his ex-wife decided to sell everything at auction. In October of 2017, Janes purchased the name, recipes, social media and website for Zip Kombucha through the bidding process. Now, it’s just him.

“In the back of my mind I always want to move forward and do something,” Janes said.

Today, Janes is canning at the brewery and distributing to New Sagaya Midtown, South Coffeehouse and Pita Pit, to name a few. You can even sip on some Zip at a number of breweries in town.

Zip has had a variety of events in their new space since opening, including a show from the Snow Drifters and “Can Launch Parties.” Zip has six kombucha flavors on tap along with a hard cider and five local beers. They have started brewing special, small batch flavors, like pineapple passion fruit and coffee pumpkin. The two most popular flavors, Ginger Roger and Blueberry Mary are available in 16-ounce cans in 4-packs in the brewery./

The tasting room also offers food. Janes said he wants people to come in with their friends and family to also enjoy dinner.

There are currently no other kombucha breweries in Anchorage. Zip Kombucha is located at 3404 Arctic Blvd.

The Author

Samantha is majoring in journalism and political science at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She is the former executive editor of The Northern Light, UAA's student-run newspaper and has previously interned at Alaska Dispatch News and Alaska Public Media. Samantha loves pad thai, london fogs and a good baseball tee.

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