Valley couple trends with TEMPO Kombucha

  • Charlotte Kersten

  • Brandon Smith

HARDIN VALLEY — There’s a new tea in town, TEMPO Kombucha, which is being brewed by husband and wife owners, Brandon Smith and Charlotte Kersten, and served at Orange Hat Brewery, 10246 Hardin Valley Road.

Smith explained kombucha is a fermented tea, traditionally non-alcoholic.

“Basically, we make sweet tea and then there’s a culture that is called SCOBY, which is an acronym for symbiotic culture bacteria yeast,” he said. “That culture transforms sweet tea into a sweet-and-sour effervescent, refreshing drink.

“It has some good things going for it,” he added. “It has good, organic acids and enzymes in the drink that are believed to have positive benefits to the body.

“We actually brew kombucha (at Orange Hat Brewery) in a separate room,” he said. “We keep it separate from the beer.”

Reflecting upon his talents, “I guess I’m just a brewer at heart,” Smith said. “I’ve been brewing beer and kombucha for 10, 11, 12 years. I brought (the culture) with me when my wife and I moved from Breckenridge (Colorado) about four years ago.”

“When I first met Brandon, he was known as the booch guy around town,” Kersten said. “I was familiar with kombucha and even tried brewing it at home a few times, but he really opened my eyes to the benefits and the fun that brewing kombucha was all about.

“We started talking about business ideas and what we wanted out of a brand,” she added. “It was all very organic and our visions aligned.

“Brandon is the brewer and science behind it all, and I am more the business side. It’s really fun working together and brainstorming ideas about what we see the future of TEMPO looking like. We are around town at a few places and will also be at the Nourish Knoxville Market Square Farmers Market every other Saturday.”

“We’re just trying to get a little family-owned kombucha business going in Knoxville,” Smith said, noting they brew and can the product at Orange Hat Brewery and sell both at the brewery and around Knox County. “There’s definitely opportunity, at large, just in kombucha in Knoxville and the overall industry. Consumers are choosing craft more and more each year. ...”

The couple offers Wild Harvest, the flagship brew, in cans, and currently are piloting their next flavor. While reluctant to name that new flavor, Smith said it will be ready to sell in a couple of months at the Farmers Market.

Orange Hat hours are from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Sunday. They can be reached at 865-240-3884. Customers can follow them on Instagram at @tempokombucha to know about special can releases and where in Knox County they can find them.