Like sipping kombucha? Try a cannabis-infused variety next

SAN LEANDRO — Fans of House Kombucha, a locally-produced tea that’s sold at cafes, grocery outlets and a Berkeley taproom, will have another flavor to choose from by summer when they imbibe, one that’s exotic in its own way.

The business, launched in 2009 at a farmers market in San Francisco, plans to manufacture cannabis-infused beverages in a warehouse at 2994 Teagarden St., which it has operated out of the past six years.

The drinks will be concocted eight employees within a a 750-square-foot section of the building under the name “Fantasy Elixirs and Medicinals.”

Kombucha is a fermented and sweetened black or green tea that’s believed to have originated in Asia and is commonly consumed for its supposed health benefits. Juices, spices and fruit are sometimes added to enhance the beverage’s taste.

“I wanted to build a brand that really could represent a non-alcoholic beverage that was healthy, but fun to drink,” company president Rana Lehmer-Chang told the Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Adjustments on Feb. 6, when it unanimously approved a conditional use permit for the brewery.

She said she wanted to take advantage of the growing cultural acceptance of cannabis to keep her business competitive.

“While it’s not exactly a completely sober lifestyle, it’s actually a lot healthier than the alcohol lifestyle,” Lehmer-Chang said.

In the cannabis tea’s first full year on the market, Fantasy expects to pull in $850,000 to $1.1 million in gross receipts, according to a document the company provided the city. Fantasy also forecasts tripling gross receipts each following year as it launches new products and opens more dispensaries.

House Kombucha is located within a cluster of buildings in an industrial neighborhood on Teagarden Street, where Shasta Laboratory, a cannabis testing business, got city approval last May to operate.

The laboratory tests cannabis for arsenic, mercury and other harmful contaminants, a process that the state Bureau of Cannabis Control requires before dispensaries can sell their products.

“I am a little concerned that we are having a concentration of cannabis-related products there and if that’s an issue for the city,” Commissioner Kenneth Pon said.

The Davis Street Family Resource Center, which helps low-income families with medical, behavioral and other services, is also in the neighborhood, Pon noted.

Senior planner Anjana Mepani said no one contacted the city to express concern about the company’s cannabis tea plan.

House Kombucha also produces organic bottled and kegged kombucha, tea, chai and cold brew coffee. The drinks are available

Source:: East Bay – Lifestyle

      

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