LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In January, people around the world stop drinking alcohol as part of a practice known as ‘Dry January.’ People who are participating hope to better their health for the new year. During the month, some people seek alternatives to alcohol like Kombucha. 

What You Need To Know

  • Elixir Kombucha said January is one of its busiest months

  • Corey Wood, co-founder and CEO of Elixir Kombucha, said kombucha is a “nice alternative” to alcohol

  • Wood said Kombucha has probiotics that are beneficial to gut health, digestion and mental health

  • According to the official website for ‘Dry January’, 175,000 people took part in ‘Dry January’ in 2023

Corey Wood has been making kombucha for years. It all started in his home with his aunt’s kombucha recipe.

“Most of the kombucha that we brewed at home went to my cousin who has serious gut health issues, and it really helped with the symptom, so that was kind of our aha moment and sparked a passion for making kombucha at home and it didn’t turn into a business opportunity until 2016,” said Corey Wood, co-founder and CEO of Elixir Kombucha. 

Now business is booming for Elixir Kombucha based in Louisville. Wood said January is one of their busiest months because of the ‘Dry January’.

“We have a large community of customers that are either sober or moderating their alcohol consumption and they see kombucha as a nice alternative because it’s bubbly, and it’s really tasty and it’s also complex. It’s not just like a soda or sparkling water. It tastes like you’re having an adult beverage, but without any of the downsides of alcohol,” said Wood. 

While avoiding the negative impacts of alcohol, the former nurse said, the drink has various advantages for your gut.

“Kombucha has naturally occurring probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that live in your gut and control all sorts of things, from digestion to absorption of nutrients. Most of your serotonin is produced in your gut, so your mental health is affected by your gut health,” he said. 

Elixir recently expanded its production to meet demand. On a good day in their old facility, Wood said, they would make a 1,000 cans a day; their new operation has the potential to make 15,000 cans a day.

“In 2022, sales really went through the roof, especially at Whole Foods, and we got offered an expansion. So, because we were at capacity at Chef Space, we knew we needed to raise some capital and move into a larger facility, which we’re in now to be able to support the demand for our product,” he said.

Wood said they are continuing growing their operations hoping to sell in new states.

“After doing this for over ten years, we’ve gotten pretty good at it and so we like to think that our craft has evolved over the years, and that really lends to, you know, how delicious our kombucha is,” he said. 

According to Alcohol Change UK, the official website for ‘Dry January,’ the movement began in 2013 with 4,000 people. Now it’s in its 11th year, with over 175,000 people taking part in 2023.