The Real Podcast

Real Kombucha

Real Kombucha is changing the way people drink. On our journey, we get to meet loads of passionate and wonderful people from the worlds of food and drink, wellness, art and inspiration. Occasionally we chat to them and upload our conversations here. Won't you join us?

All Episodes

Why do we like the food, drinks and flavours that we like? How much does colour, sound and even upbringing have on your enjoyment of a meal? And is Willy Wonka’s everlasting gobstopper scientifically possible? This month’s episode of The REAL Podcast answers all of these questions and many more, as we chat with food scientist and flavour expert, Dr Rachel Edwards-Stuart.Her contributions and insights at the cutting edge of gastronomy have been extraordinary, having studied and worked with Hervé This and Heston himself, not to mention developing a huge range of gluten free products for one of the UK’s biggest supermarkets. These days she teaches science to chefs and runs a selection of unique and bespoke events that take in the science of flavour and gastronomy.Over the course of the hour-long podcast, Rachel discusses her journey into the world of food science, some of the amazing studies in flavour perception that many of us many not know about, the emergence of the non-alcoholic drinks movement and how these new drinks can be paired with delicious dishes.If you’ve ever wondered what happens once you place something tasty on your tongue, this is the podcast for you. Pour yourself a glass of REAL and put in your earbuds as we explore the fascinating world of flavour with Rachel Edwards-Stuart.

Jun 11

57 min 49 sec

This month's REAL Podcast is with Henry Chevallier Guild, chatting about how a natural-born cider maker, an 8th generation heir to the Aspall estate, former chairman of the National Association of Cider Makers, now makes non-alcoholic drinks. Nonsuch Shrubs, to be precise.  It's a story that takes in a huge amount of history, truckloads of apples (and a quick sidestep into the history of the apple), plenty of tradition with a side order of local ritual. Ideal, then, for the merry month of May, when the country springs to life and drinks are quaffed aplenty.Starting with a brief history of cider making, we move swiftly into the world of shrubs and kombuchas and question how the growing non-alcoholic drinks scene might take hold of some of these artisanal traditions and adapt them for modern times.

May 7

58 min 26 sec

As we continue our journey at REAL Kombucha, we love meeting and working with people that really seem to be on the same wavelength. Take this week’s guests, for example. The folks at the Belazu Ingredient Company specialise in foodie items that can turn a good dish into something truly exceptional. They talk regularly about living life in full flavour, and about how life is too short for bland food. Living life in full flavour is something we can all aspire, so for this episode, we were delighted to invite their product specialist, Bob Curbishley, and their innovation chef, Henry Russell, to chat about what living a flavourful really means.Over the next hour or so, we’ll be discussing how travel inspires culinary creativity, and how a little bit of that creativity can also fire the imagination and get the mind traveling, even when you’re stuck at home. We’ll also discuss the origins of Belazu, way back in Borough Market when they were known as The Fresh Olive Company, and how inspiring flavours and high quality have been at the heart of what they do from day one. Bob talks about how he became an olive oil sommelier, and also explains why it’s worth spending a bit extra on a good balsamic, while Henry tells us a bit about what an innovation chef does, answering the time-honoured question: what can I do with a jar of pesto that doesn’t involve pasta?Along the way, we take in all kinds of food history and even find time for a kombucha tasting, asking Henry how he goes about pairing our fermented drinks with his ingredients. It’s worth noting, too, that the delicious new range of nuts he talks about at the end of the episode is now on the shelves in Waitrose, not too far from our own REAL Kombucha bottles, so you can put both into your shopping basket next time you’re shopping and try the pairing for yourself.In short, this is a fast and friendly ramble through all things flavourful, on which you’re more than welcome to eavesdrop. Strap on your ear goggles, fire up your imaginations… things are about to get very tasty indeed.

Apr 12

59 min 34 sec

In episode 26 of the REAL Podcast, we discuss the tea harvest and the rituals and traditions associated with tea growing in the Longjing and Darjeeling regions. We do so with Jane Pettigrew, Director of the UK Tea Academy.


Mar 5

52 min 7 sec

Welcome to episode 25 of the REAL podcast, brought to you as always by REAL - purveyors of award-winning non-alcoholic alternatives to sparkling wines. Have you heard that we’re available now in Waitrose? If you haven’t, you’ll want to add a beautiful bottle of Royal Flush to your basket or online trolley next time you’re doing the weekly shop.Ever wondered what’s going on in your mouth when you taste a great drink? How about the technique behind formulating a winning food pairing? It’s something we think about all the time. Here at REAL we’re lucky enough to meet some wonderful, highly skilful people, and occasionally, when we invite them to come and share their wealth of knowledge on our podcast, they say yes.We first met Christine Parkinson when she was Head of Wine for Hakkasan, the world-renowned restaurant specialising in modern Chinese cuisine. At the time, her team was looking for a kombucha to be served as a non-alcoholic food pairing and our drinks slid onto the menu very comfortably indeed.Since then, Christine has gone on to form the Brimful Drinks consultancy – a particularly interesting venture that specialises in helping companies working in the low/no world, some of whom have already been guests on this podcast.This development fascinated us. That someone who has won Industry Legend awards after her years spent in the wine world should choose to move her attentions to the burgeoning non-alcoholic space… well, that really said something about the sincerity with which this category is being taken.In this episode, Christine will talk to us about the tips and techniques she learnt for tasting drinks, the science that accompanies taste, the art of creating a great food pairing, and – of course – the considerable interest she has in the world of non-alcoholic drinks. We also learn some of that all-important drinks-tasting vocab – vital if you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about.Adjust your napkins and set your tongues to drool. It’s going to be a tasty one.

Jan 21

42 min 49 sec

Welcome to episode 24 of The REAL Podcast, brought to you, as ever, by REAL Kombucha. Grab your earphones and a glass of crystal clear Royal Flush. What a time to be supping award-winning non-alcoholic wine-like tipples. What a time to be alive!Speaking of which, this week’s guest used to work in the world of wine. Bethan Higson travelled the globe as an ambassador for a major wine brand, getting involved in harvests, learning all about yeasts, really getting her head inside what makes a good wine and – just as importantly – how a good wine can heighten an occasion.Since then, she’s launched one of the UK’s most interesting non-alcoholic drinks startups, Mother Root. If you’re someone who thinks non-alc drinks are little more than sugary pop, you want to try this. Her ginger switchels pack a real punch, bringing a complexity to non-alcohol cocktails that you wouldn’t normally expect to find. A must-have for any non-alc explorer’s toolkit, we were delighted when she found time to drop by and chat about her journey so far.In this episode, Bethan and Jon discuss a range of things, including the history of prohibition drinks, some of the questions an entrepreneur asks themselves when they start putting their brand out there, and the difficulties of getting a modern crowd to drink an age-old drink. Given her background in wine, we also dig into that world from our own perspective. Her views on the way the non-alcoholic wine world is developing are fascinating. In Bethan’s words, it’s really one for the “crazy thinkers”.If you’re keen to try Mother Root and find out how it mixes with other non-alcoholic drinks, head to our Know How section. We’ll be adding an exclusive non-alcoholic cocktail recipe featuring our two drinks there. And for our newsletter subscribers… well, who knows what might happen. Treats abound. Worth signing up, dontcha think?In the coming episodes we’ll be chatting again to REAL founder, David Begg, in a series of short episodes. He’ll be sharing his knowledge on a number of things, including fermentation, tea, food pairing and plenty more. Make sure you subscribe to our podcasts and set your notifications on so you can keep up. See you then.

Nov 2020

50 min 11 sec

In this week’s REAL Podcast, episode 23 brought to you as always by REAL, purveyors of award-winning non-alcoholic sparkling wine alternatives, we’re looking at a mind-blowing new book called Koji Alchemy – a gorgeous chunk of coffee-table loveliness, perfect for curling yourself up next to an autumn fireplace with, and devouring over a chilled glass of REAL Kombucha. We’ll be chatting with the co-authors, Rich Shih – an explorer of miso and koji, as well as being an in-demand food preservation consultant, and Jeremy Umansky – owner and chef of Larder, a restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio that was nominated as the Best New Restaurant in America, 2019.What is koji? The subject under investigation in their book, and in this podcast, is koji – the microbe behind the delicious, umami flavours of soy sauce, miso and mirin. Like so many of these k-word foods and drinks – kombucha, kefir, kimchi, koji – there’s so much more to be discovered when you start digging beneath the initial flavour. As the guys explain, koji has the potential to be more than a mouth-watering flavour enhancer. Its application in food preparation can speed up the curing of meats and the ageing of cheeses, and their investigations have shown that it may even help with cutting down on food waste at an industrial level. The term “superfood” takes on a bunch of new levels when it comes to koji.We wanted Rich and Jeremy on the podcast not only because they know so much about koji fermentation, but because they share so many of our own passions and interests, notably that fermentation can be an incredible, natural flavour enhancer, but also a meeting point for pondering minds. Rich and Jeremy also talk about it as a kind of cultural glue – something we all fundamentally share in our ancestral past, and Jeremy even makes a compelling argument for fermentation as essential to human survival. There’s also a description of fermented drinks as being a cosmos in your glass. Prepare to have your mind blown – and then piece it back together and order their incredible book.We’ve got 3 copies of Koji Alchemy to give away, and that giveaway is open to our newsletter subscribers. For the chance experience more great stuff like this in the future, click here and make sure you sign up. Similarly, hit subscribe on whatever channel you’re currently listening to this podcast on. We’ve got so many great conversations from the world of fermentation and flavour to share with you – we’ve barely scratched the surface.Before we get going, a brief apology for occasional sound quality issues in this episode. Connecting recordings from three very distant parts of the world brought with it amusing technical difficulties. In fact, I’ll open the podcast with an example of what we were dealing with. Let’s get stuck in.Want to explore fermentation further?During the podcast, the guys mentioned Sandor Katz, amongst other people. If you’re not sure who Sandor is and you’re interested in modern ideas about fermentation, spin back to episode 15 of this podcast to see what he had to say, and while you’re there, take a listen to the other 22 episodes we’ve already made. Some amazing chats with some amazing people.

Sep 2020

59 min 10 sec

James Golding takes The REAL Podcast on a tour of the ancient walled gardens at The Pig Hotel, Brockenhurst, and explains how farm-to-table philosophy fuels the kitchens he creates his magic in. A wonderful podcast for foodies, history buffs, foragers and gardeners alike. 

Sep 2020

50 min 14 sec

In this episode, we chat to Paul Mathew, the founder of Everleaf, about the world of non-alcoholic cocktails, the emergence of the non-alcoholic drinks world as a serious hospitality concern, and the journey that someone goes through to launch a new drinks brand from their kitchen table. And, if you stick around until the end, you’ll hear Paul knock together a delicious new kombucha sour using Everleaf and our very own Dry Dragon. We've posted the recipe here, so you can make it for yourself at home.


Sep 2020

40 min 7 sec

Ever wondered how a business starts, how an entrepreneur spots an idea and builds the right team to knock it into reality? In the 20th episode of The REAL Podcast, David Begg – founder of REAL – talks to co-founder, Jon Wilks, about the journey that has brought us to the new branding and the incredible new cork-and-cage, 750ml bottles. It's a watershed moment for non-alcoholic drinkers. In this episode, David discusses his own background as a successful entrepreneur and how a series of serendipitous moments led to the formation of this incredible brand. Co-founder, Jon Wilks, recalls the moment that David plonked a bottle of kombucha down in front of him and prompted him to get on the train, and the two discuss the eureka moment when the team realised that a lack of additional flavourings held the key. Having launched a quality alternative to sparkling wine, David also answers the perplexing question: why are non-alcoholic wines so difficult to brew well? Furthermore, he explores why alternative ingredients may be the answer, and why this amazing new sober curious era is the right time to make some pretty avant garde decisions. Finally, David explains how the new branding came about – the reasons for the various elements included, from the Chinese chop stamps right through to the varying messages that you'll find on the labels. Whether you’re already a fan, or you’re new to the brand, this one’s for you. Join us for a REAL celebration.

May 2020

1 hr 17 min

For the 19th episode of The Real Podcast, we thought we'd delve further into healthy eating. At REAL we're very much about eating and drinking well, but in these unusual times that becomes a little more challenging. So, we spread our net far and wide, really going to our network to see if we could find someone, anyone, to come on the podcast and talk to us about ways to fill our plates with colour and goodness. We were looking for hints, tips, ideas, habits to form... anything that might ensure that we're really getting what we need to maintain healthy body and mind. We didn't have to go far. Our very own co-founder, Adrian Hodgson, has these skills in abundance. A food and nutrition scientist who has spent his career writing and giving talks on this very subject, we got him to sit down and make his Real Podcast debut, answering a few questions from our own team as well as followers on our Instagram account. Take a listen. And please do stay safe and healthy. 

Mar 2020

39 min 41 sec

Undoubtedly, the best thing about producing the Real Podcast is that it offers the chance to meet and natter with absolute experts in a variety of subjects. In this new episode, we chat to Real’s tea partner, a chap called Will Battle who quite literally wrote the book on tea. You can check that out yourself – go and look for The World Tea Encyclopaedia in any good bookshop and you’ll find his name right there under the title.Excitingly, Will thinks that 2020 is really tea’s time. The humble cuppa on which the UK seems to so heavily depend is having a bit of a moment. For us, it’s a vital ingredient in the production of our exquisite drinks, but it seems that the world is quite rapidly waking up to the possibilities that this wonderfully versatile plant offers us, whether that’s from a foodie perspective or a health perspective.So it seemed the right time to catch up with Will and ping him with questions relating to everything tea. Over the next hour or so, we’ll look at the history of tea, some of the origin stories and legends, what different teas mean to different cultures, what it takes to grow a certain type of tea and why one small pot of tea was once worth more than Richard Nixon’s limousine, and what, in Will’s opinion, the tea world will look like in 2020.We’d suggest you put on a brew and put your feet up, but it’s all a bit more fascinating than that...

Feb 2020

56 min

In the first Real Podcast of 2020, we're chatting about creativity and the idea that you don’t need something mind-altering, be that alcohol or anything else, in order to produce something beautiful and interesting.Tobias Ben Jacob and Lukas Drinkwater are two touring musicians who work in improvisational music. Two years ago they made the professional decision to go on “dry tours”. They realised that they needed to be alert and in the moment in order to perform at their best, and that the trappings of being a touring musician were working to their detriment.Just before Christmas, they stopped off – mid-tour – to crack open a few bottles of Real Kombucha and discuss how it feels to go from being dependent on "Dutch courage" to take the stage, and doing it in the startling light of sobriety.A few quotes from the podcast to get you in the mood...“We started to notice that our performances were so much better when we were alert, switched on and sober, and we really enjoyed that so much more than the feeling of being drunk. There’s a buzz and fun from that, but the buzz from giving it you best and playing your best is so much better.”“The clarity of consciousness of being sober, and the degree of self-awareness – being aware of the subtle details of what I was doing – I began to really enjoy. New, subtle layers started to appear.”Along the way, they discuss the nature of giving up alcohol in an industry that has long been synonymous with substance abuse, and the way that touring without alcohol has freed them up from the emotional instability that often goes with this line of work.“Promoters are often surprised when we don’t drink. Sometimes, as soon as we get there the first thing we’ll be offered is a beer. It is quite strange. If you were to turn up at any other kind of work and someone offered you a beer…”“It was challenging because you’ve built this performance persona, and if you’ve used alcohol as part of that… for me, it took time to deconstruct. On the other hand, I had this feeling that I was enjoying that clarity and playing better, so it was a case of balancing that with the fears, anxieties and doubts of not being confident enough. I found it took a couple of weeks to get it out of my system, and then I felt a new, natural growing sense of confidence which had more value because it was coming from my own inner work rather than a liquid fix.”For more info on what these guys do, head to 

Jan 2020

34 min 53 sec

Here are a few interesting head-scratchers for you. Is it possible to drown your sorrows in a bottle of non-alcoholic gin? How do you approach the ritual of after-work drinks without a pint in front of you? Is it possible to meet a non-alcoholic binge drinker? How does Tinder Night work in an alcohol-free bar?Welcome to this week’s Real Podcast – episode 16, no less. A couple of weeks ago, we headed off to The Understudy, a bar on London’s Southbank that really knows its non-alcoholic drinks, to chat to someone who has helped to plant a very visible flag in the sober curious world, and most definitely has the answers to all of those questions.Over a few glasses of Real Kombucha, we chatted to Anna Walsh, the manager of the now world-famous Virgin Mary bar in Dublin. Why’s it world famous, you may ask? Well, it’s entirely unique in that it’s Ireland’s first ever alcohol-free pub. And rather than being something to scoff at, as you might imagine in a town synonymous with a pint of the black stuff, it’s a place that Dubliners have taken to their hearts.So, let’s get stuck in. Answering the eternal question, “Can we lose the booze but keep the craic?”, here’s Anna Walsh.

Nov 2019

35 min 6 sec

Welcome to episode 15 of The Real Podcast, brought to you by Real Kombucha, creators of Royal Flush, the sophisticated non-alcoholic fizz (order yours online now in time for the coming festivities).This is something of a symbolic episode for us. Our guest is none other than Sandor Katz, often called the Godfather of Fermentation. It’s an odd nickname, given that the godfather of fermentation would have to predate the fermentation process itself – and if that’s the case, Sandor’s looking rather good for his age. He prefers the slightly less godlike Fermentation Revivalist, which is a wonderful job title in and of itself.But even Fermentation Revivalist doesn’t seem to nail it. It’s a little bit humble. After all, most people who get into brewing kombucha, baking sourdough, making yoghurt – any kind of fermented food production in any involved manner – will have come across one of Sandor Katz’s books. To say that his Wild Fermentation, published in 2003, is “The Bible of Fermentation” (as Newsweek once described it) feels less of an overstatement. In many ways, it’s where our modern interest in fermentation was revitalised. Its influence is difficult to overstate.So, when David Begg, the founder of Real Kombucha, shared a panel with Sandor at the Abergavenny Food Festival this summer, we were delighted to hear he’d happily join us on The Real Podcast to discuss not only kombucha, but all things fermentation.We caught him on an early morning call from Tennessee.

Nov 2019

36 min 2 sec

Welcome to episode 14 of The Real Podcast, brought to you by Real Kombucha, brewers of the non-alcoholic alternative to a fine wine or champagne, now served in some of the UK’s best bars, restaurants, pubs and hotels, not to mention right here online. Our podcast is available on Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts… all the usual places, so make sure you subscribe.Last Thursday we headed into East London to chat to Jamie Crummie, a former human rights and refugee lawyer who has turned his attentions to one of the most under-publicised issues we’re currently facing. Food waste amounts to around 8-10% of greenhouse gas emissions, and yet 70% of Brits are unaware of the link between what’s dumped in the dustbin at the end of the day and the biggest crisis of our times: climate change.A born tech disruptor, Jamie Crummie co-founded the Too Good To Go app to try to tackle this problem, allowing consumers to connect with food sellers such as Morrisons, Costa Coffee, Cafe Nero and plenty of smaller independents, and collect “Magic Bags” of their waste produce at the end of each day at an affordable cost. It’s a bit like having a digital version of those supermarket discount shelves right there in your pocket.Amazingly, the app recently celebrated their millionth saved meal – testament to the strength of the movement they’ve helped to inspire. Jamie has subsequently been listed as one of Forbes 30 Under 30, although he claims that’s neither here nor there.Here, then, is our interview with Jamie Crummie, food waste activist. We get the sense we’ll be hearing a lot more from this guy in the future.

Nov 2019

33 min 42 sec

Taste testing non-alcoholic drinks... something we'd not have had much fun with until fairly recently. The rise of the adult-oriented non-alcoholic drink here in Britain has been swift. Laura Willoughby, the founder of Club Soda Guide and the Mindful Drinking Festival, says their website now lists 1,000 non-alcoholic options from 600 producers, many of which are operating here in the UK.There's undoubtedly an irony to the fact that Britain, once the international poster boy for bad drinking behaviour, appears to be leading the non-alcoholic drinks movement. However, as Laura explains in this podcast, that's certainly the exciting situation we find ourselves in. Not only is our relationship with alcohol evolving, but the infrastructure is being updated, too. Aside from the growing legions of non-alcoholic drinks producers, the likes of Holland & Barrett are kitting out their nationwide stores with shelves dedicated to the Sober Curious.Inevitably, Laura has become something of a connoisseur when it comes to that wide selection. So we raided her non-alcoholic drinks cabinet one recent lunchtime and took a collection of 12 bottles down into a podcasting studio that looked a little like a 1980s nuclear fallout shelter. Over a liquid smorgasbord, we discussed the rise of this movement, the great work that Club Soda are doing, the latest non-drinking stats and how to make your local pub really work for you.Chin chin.

Oct 2019

46 min 48 sec

The statistics seem to be on a constant upward trend: young Millennials are turning away from alcohol in vast numbers. To an older generation, it sounds almost impossible. How can you not drink in your twenties? Isn't that what your twenties are for?These ingrained ways of thinking, of course, are what fascinate us here on The Real Podcast. So this week, for our 12th episode, we sent Shani Higgs, one of the Real Kombucha team who recently gave up drinking for three months (you may have read her Sober Diaries on this blog), to meet Millie Gooch.Millie is a writer and speaker, and the founder of Sober Girl Society (website here), an ever-growing collective of young women who are fed up with living a hangxiety-fuelled life, their weekends drowned out by beer fear, under constant pressure to succumb to Wine O'Clock. And when we say "an ever-growing collective", we mean it. The Sober Girl Society currently boasts close to 60,000 Instagram followers.According to Millie, this new tribe is made up of young women, “People like me – busy lives, busy jobs, often working in media – who still wanted a social life but wanted to take alcohol out of the equation”. As our readers will know, this description is one that Shani has come to identify with wholeheartedly. So it made sense to give her the mic and get her talking.In the following podcast you'll hear Millie and Shani discuss everything from the emergence of the Sober Girl Society, how the growing Sober Curious Movement relates to Cancel Culture and Callout Culture, how to navigate the pitfalls of sober dating, and what's involved in "coming out" as a non-drinker. They also discuss something called the "Pink Cloud" and "the Pink Cloud Dispersal Phase", which is a level of non-drinking science we've so far not discovered!So, chatting to Millie Gooch about the rise of the Sober Girl Society over a glass of the finest non-alcoholic Prosecco alternative, here's Shani Higgs.

Oct 2019

1 hr 6 min

For this episode of the Real Podcast, we sat down with Tim Etherington-Judge, a man who needs no introduction if you’re in the world of spirits and cocktails. A former brand ambassador for a well-known whiskey label, Tim’s life was the stuff of dreams for many people. It was literally his job to fly around the world, go to bars and drink whiskey. Some kind of Instagram heaven, right? Apparently not. As you might imagine, that kind of lifestyle is going to take its toll. As Tim explains with brutal honesty and openness in our interview, his mental health took a sudden nosedive and he ended up alone in a hotel room in a very dark place indeed. However, through hard work and with a lot of support from his international friends network, he has come out on top. In the months following his breakdown, Tim realised that his sole purpose from here on in had to be helping others in the hospitality world to reach out when they need support. He set up an organisation called Healthy Hospo which offers people involved in the alcohol industry a way to improve their relationship with drink and turn towards a more rounded and healthy lifestyle. But it’s far better if you hear it from him. We’ll be chatting about all that, as well as getting his thoughts on why the world’s best mixologists and bartenders are making sobriety far more sexy. Get yourself comfy. We’re going in.

Oct 2019

49 min 56 sec

As we’re now well into Sober October, and with Dry January already on the horizon, this month's Real Podcast is bound to be focused on not drinking. Not that we're against alcohol, of course. Alcohol is not the problem. What fascinates us, and what we’re really keen to investigate over the coming episodes, is the way in which our society tends to dive neck first into what can only be described as an unthinking drinking culture.As usual, we’ve been out to chat to people who we’ve met on the Real Kombucha journey – people who like to think a little differently and look at things through an alternative lens.On the way through this month’s podcasts, we’ll be hearing a lot of personal stories, some of which are quite harrowing, but they all have a common outcome: positivity. The desire to make a positive change and to help others to do the same.We’ll be talking to people who came of age in the hard-drinking nineties culture, as well as younger non-drinkers currently running some of the biggest sober curious Instagram accounts. We’ll also be talking to people who are hoping to make changes from inside the drinking industry. It’s going to be a fascinating month.One person who has really gone to the heart of this and started opening people’s eyes to the peculiarity of our accepted drinking culture is Lucy Rocca. Lucy launched the incredibly helpful Soberistas platform after shaking off the shackles of a particularly fraught relationship with alcohol and realising that, like so many people, Alcoholics Anonymous wasn’t necessarily for her.As of this moment, Soberistas have close to 11,000 Facebook followers, 60,000 registered members, and a website containing 54,000 articles relating to what people are calling the Sober Curious Movement.I caught up with Lucy on a rickety phone line from Sheffield to discuss the sinister rise of Wine O’Clock, memories of Melanie Sykes and her Boddingtons Ice Cream van, and why it’s perhaps not a good idea to go drinking in theme parks.Go on… have a listen.

Oct 2019

40 min 56 sec

Do you like knowing where your food comes from, who it was tended by and what drives their passions? Are you a foodie that likes astounding ideas, often incredibly simple but in need of someone brave enough and keen enough to step forward and try them? Of course you do. That’s why you subscribe to the Real Podcast. And if you’re not subscribing, it’s about time you clicked that all-important button on Spotify or Apple or wherever you’re listening. At Real Kombucha, we’re in love with these ideas, and we meet people having these eureka moments all the time. People who can’t live life without being completely involved in the things they love – things that are pretty much guaranteed to make the world a better place. And so we love to go and meet them in their environment and find out what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. That’s what the Real Podcast is all about. This week’s podcast is a particularly special one, and therefore a slightly longer one. After all, it’s not everyday you get to forage for your lunch. I got on a quick train out of London and spent the afternoon with the humble, lovely and hugely passionate Tobyn Excell. Allow me to do the hard sell before we begin. Tobyn runs Sael Projects, which in turn runs Six Seats, a pop-up that you will want to book into this very instant. Once a month, Tobyn invites six guests down to his beautiful 300-year-old cottage in Kent. Together, you’ll forage for your food and learn about how we need to rebuild our relationship with the landscape around us. You’ll pick hogweed, you’ll learn how best to tackle stinging nettles with the evening’s menu in mind. And then you’ll go back to the house, get comfy around the kitchen table and chat with Tobyn and the other guests as he works up an incredible meal inspired by recipes sourced from local monasteries, abbeys, the British Library - anywhere that keeps records of how we’ve used our surroundings in the past. It may sound medieval, but Tobyn’s take on all of this is as modern as it comes. And it’s vital. Spend an afternoon and evening out there, entirely off grid, and see how living in the moment, invigorated by the things around you, is something we all need to do far more of. Do yourself a favour. Book now. Before we get going with the interview itself, I just want to warn you. This is a very Real podcast. It’s done with a sensitive microphone and things can get a bit bumpy. But that’s what it’s all about. Listen out for the birds and the bees – quite literally – and the wind rushing through the orchard leaves. Listen out for the wood-pigeons and even the dive-bombing Spitfire. This is local podcasting at its finest. We’re going off-road. If you want to see pictures of what and where we foraged head to our post on the Real Kombucha blog. 

Sep 2019

1 hr 11 min

In this week's Real Podcast, Jon went to chat with Foodchain's Amelia Christie-Miller. Foodchain are a fascinating new company based in London, working to put sustainability, zero waste and provenance at the heart of the food industry.Click the button above to hear how Foodchain has been connecting Miles, an expert forager, with London’s best chefs, how they're working on ways to reduce the carbon footprint involved in bringing your food to the table. Hear how they’re helping small suppliers and producers to grow their business, and how they're working on ways to reduce plastics and packaging in the restaurant supply chain.Find out about Reffetorio Felix and Feast Fairly, Foodchain's unique pop-up events that are putting wonky veg and at the top of the menu – celebrating the barbecued pollock collars of this world!There are even a couple of foodie tourist sightseeing recommendations thrown in, as well as a discussion on who the future Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls of this world might be...Strap on your ear goggles and watch out for low-flying aircraft! It's going to be a busy one.A bit more on FoodchainFoodchain is working to build an incredible network of suppliers and restaurants, making sure that the food that arrives on your plate is not only the best quality available, but also has incredible provenance and travels on a low-impact journey. On top of that, they run Feast Fairly, a heavenly foodie idea that sees produce unwanted by the big conglomerates arriving on menus prepared by some of the most innovative chefs.We first heard about Foodchain via our good friend, Jamie Park, who insisted we explore them on our podcast. If you have a subject you're passionate about that you insist we explore on our podcast, too, get in touch via our contact page.Discover more about Foodchain via

Sep 2019

36 min 45 sec

Welcome to the seventh of our Real Podcast series, brought to you by Real Kombucha, and a fascinating chat with Chef Chantelle Nicholson. At Real Kombucha, we pride ourselves on changing the way people drink, but as our journey unfurls we find we're meeting increasingly influential people who have changed the way people eat. So, this month, we thought we'd grab some time with people in the restaurant industry who've really become what you might call a force for good. Call it our Sustainable September celebration, if you will (has anyone done #SustainableSeptember yet? Isn't it about time?!) Very few people in the restaurant industry fit that description as well as Chantelle Nicholson. Known for many things, including her close work alongside Marcus Wareing, her chef-patronage of Tredwells in Central London, her authorship of Planted, and her work at the heart of Chef's Manifesto, it's hard to think of anyone more readily associated with sustainable, conscious cooking. So, on a beautiful late summer's afternoon, we met up with Chantelle amidst the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden to find out how it all began, and where it might be going. Away from the glare of the unrelenting sun, we discussed Chantelle's childhood experiences of farm-to-table cooking in her native New Zealand, the pros and cons of trying to run a sustainable food business in Central London, her admiration for "political" chefs, such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver, her use of kombucha in vegan cooking, and her tips on which young chefs to look out for as the world delves further into conscious cooking. That's quite a lot to get through in a mere half-an-hour, so, without further ado, get yourself comfy and click below to listen to our podcast with sustainable chef extraordinaire, Chantelle Nicholson. 

Sep 2019

33 min 31 sec

Two of the best new non-alcoholic brews on the block come together to discuss the way the non-drinking world is evolving. This edition of the Real Podcast finds Real Kombucha co-founder, Jon Wilks, chatting with Luke Boase, the founder of Lucky Saint Beer. 

Jul 2019

41 min

On the final weekend in May, we're heading to Axminster for the River Cottage Festival. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's esteemed establishment celebrates their 20th anniversary this year, so it's a pleasure and a delight that we're able to go along and take them some very fine non-alcoholic drinks. In the run-up to this, we've been chatting with some of the people closely associated with what River Cottage is doing. Last month we chatted with foodie mastermind, Gelf Alderson, and this month it's the turn of their fermentation expert, Rachel De Thample. Known initially as a chef, then as a journalist, she is also known for her previous work with Abel & Cole, for her urban foraging passions and for her books.She'll be hosting a panel discussion involving Real Kombucha founder, David Begg, at the festival, but before that, we caught up with Rachel in her kitchen as she put the finishing touches to the latest River Cottage handbook. Touching on all things fermented, we were keen to get her take on the resurgence of interest in this style of food preparation. While we don't ever flavour our brews here at Real Kombucha, we nonetheless find it fascinating when someone as skilled and experimental as Rachel starts digging around and looking at what might be possible. We arrived at her flat to find something akin to a laboratory, with our interviewee sat in the middle of it all brandishing what looked like a cheesecake. And that's where our conversation began... 

May 2019

19 min 6 sec

The language around being a non-drinker is ultimately insubstantial. In this week’s Real Podcast, Jon Wilks chats to Ruby Warrington about the ways in which communication can hinder someone new to a less alcohol-dependent life, just as much as a lack of choice can. On the way, they discuss the demise of ladette culture, the differences between US and UK drinking culture, and the ways in which the world is now opening up to alternative drinking and eating habits.Click on the player below to listen. Alternatively, click here to read the full interview. 

Mar 2019

32 min 56 sec

For this week’s Real Podcast, I jumped on the wrong bus from Waterloo and turned up late for my meeting with Joey O’Hare. That’s OK – she’s a kindly soul, as you might have guessed if you ever saw her on Masterchef: The Professionals. It’s been quite a while since she came to prominence through that TV programme, but for those of us with an ear to the ground and a mind for fermentation, she’s only gone from strength to strength. So, when one of the Real Kombucha team suggested that she might be able to get in touch with her for an interview, I jumped at the chance. As you’ll see from the interview, she’s a kind of interviewee chef made in heaven. It’s rare to find someone so passionate about what they do, who also has the confidence and eloquence with which to spread the word so well.So, strap on your ear goggles (or simply read the interview on our website, if you prefer) and join us as we bounce around subjects that include her beloved fermentation, kombucha (obviously), her food author recommendations, her ideas around vegcentric cooking, her involvement in the growing startup All Plants, and of course her favourite London veg-first restaurants. 

Feb 2019

38 min 35 sec

For this podcast we came down to Bristol, and we have to be honest: there were three motives at play. Firstly, it was to find out about the booming vegan and plant-based food scene that has found a home in these parts – so booming, in fact, that articles across the web last week claimed that Bristol had more vegan-related Google searches than anywhere else in the world. Secondly, we wanted to get inside the mind of some of the chefs serving that plant-based scene – to find out how veganism might represent a wonderful form of constrained creativity. And thirdly we wanted to cheekily eat some of their amazing food. Well, wouldn’t you if you had the chance?Ultimately, what we think we found was a scene and a city that embraces and celebrates open-mindedness. But before we jump to any conclusions, let me introduce the cast. We’ll be chatting to Rob Howell, the Head Chef at Root, a veg-first restaurant in the ultra-hip Whapping Wharf; to Elliott Lidstone and Tessa Lidstone, the Head Chef and co-owner of Box-e, also in Whapping Wharf, and to James Koch, the co-owner at Suncraft and the Gallimaufry on Gloucester Road. (Each of these work with Real Kombucha on their non-alcoholic options.) 

Jan 2019

23 min 8 sec

Welcome to the first episode in our all-new podcast series, in which we’ll be chatting with some of the amazing creators and innovators that we’ve met – and continue to meet – on our journey. First up, the legendary chef and restauranteur, Mark Hix. Get involved!Interested in an answer to the question: what is kombucha? Stick with us and find out. Want to know what makes a good kombucha tea? You're in the right place. 

Jul 2018

15 min 30 sec