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  • Writer's pictureTracy

East Tennessee’s OG Kombucha: Frog Juice Kombucha

Updated: Jul 7, 2022

Frog Greishaw, Owner, Frog Juice Kombucha

If you have been following along, you may have noticed a subtle shift at VanWhy…we changed our branding just a bit, in order to share more about what we do, while continuing to highlight stories of impactful companies in our community and across the globe. The last story we shared with you focused on Elevation Wheel Company in Colorado Springs, and now we turn our attention to our homebase in Knoxville, Tennessee.

One of the first partners we worked with at VanWhy CoOp is Frog Juice Kombucha. Owner and founder, Frog Greishaw is a transplant to the rolling hills of Knoxville. Frog got started brewing locally sourced, artisanal kombucha in Chicago in 2014. When she planted her feet in the soils of East Tennessee, Frog decided to make these hills her home in 2017. After living in Chicago for 17 years, she was ready for a different setting and to be more immersed in nature, bringing with her the healing properties of kombucha and making her the region’s OG female kombucha brewer.

What is kombucha? If you have not heard of this bubbly drink by now, let us share. As defined by BBCGood Food, “Kombucha is a mildly fizzy, fermented drink made from sweetened tea and a specific culture known as a ‘scoby’, short for a ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts’. The bacteria and yeasts in the scoby convert the sugar into ethanol and acetic acid. The acetic acid is responsible for kombucha’s distinctive sour taste.” Kombucha is in most stores across the nation and its popularity has grown massively in recent years. Kombucha has a history dating back approximately 2,000 years to its first appearance in China and most recently gaining increased popularity during the 20th century.

Frog appreciates the history, and adds her twist to the definition of kombucha: “Bubbly fermented tea infused with fruit and herbs for our fantastic signature flavor. Kombucha is a fabulous source of probiotics to support gut health and your immune system. Consuming this functional beverage is a wonderful way to alkalize the body. (P.S. it's also a great hangover cure!)” to which she adds, “it’s science!”

We met Frog through the work we did with local photographer, Rachel Woods, of Smoke Signal Media and from Mel at Knox Girl Soap in 2020. We began to work alongside Frog, and have been inspired by her easy-going, human-promoting vibe which permeates all business aspects at Frog Juice. Frog hires local businesses and individuals to support the work she does, while placing her products in over 100 local companies, and working with local farmers to ensure the beverage you are enjoying is the best kombucha you have tasted, while remaining locally and well-sourced.

What Makes Frog Juice Unique? We actually think the question should be: what doesn’t make Frog Juice unique?! From working diligently to ensure that 100% organic, fair trade, and whenever possible locally sourced ingredients make up her booch, to giving back to the community through events such as the Fort Dickerson Quarry Clean Up, Frog is a leader in wellness within East Tennessee. And, because she is humble, she would never say this herself.

To underscore her leadership qualities, we were with Frog when a crazy situation occurred. We were working with Frog on her website, when her brew team came in with cases and cases of booch. Head brewer, Ben Clingner, commented that some of the booch had been accidentally dropped by another handler onto the ground and landed in diesel fuel. The amount dropped totaled $720.00 in product. Anyone observing this situation would have felt their gut wrench. Instead, Frog paused, considered the situation, and then graciously responded that while this was not cool, there was nothing they could do about it now. And then, she went back to work. As onlookers, we were convinced her good karma would return to her. And return to her, it did! That day her washing machine repair was hundreds of dollars cheaper than she expected and the company who accidentally dropped the booch gave her ingredients in exchange for lost product. This is the kind of vibe/karma/blessings that Frog emits into the community, making her kombucha and her business remarkable. Frog has a gigantic heart for her product, her neighbors, and the belief that kombucha really does heal.

Scientific Studies and the FDA on Kombucha Kombucha has a lot of health claims, and we have personally benefited from drinking kombucha - especially the benefits associated with probiotics. To support this, we did a dive into scientific research associated with kombucha. While more and more research is forthcoming, we found a study conducted by Jessica Martínez Leal et. al., which concluded that: “It is apparent that [kombucha] consumption can protect against the development of [cardiovascular disease], mainly due to its polyphenol content that inhibits the oxidation of LDL, regulates cholesterol metabolism, and prevents high blood pressure by promoting smooth muscle relaxation. GlcUA, one of its main components, plays a role in xenobiotic liver detoxification and endobiotic elimination, thus potentially enhancing liver functions.” Numerous articles went on to confirm that the probiotic benefits of kombucha make it a drink worth having. The FDA has approved kombucha, as long as it is brewed in a food-safe facility with certifications including inspection by the local state department of agriculture and registration with the FDA.

In addition, Frog and her team have gone through certifications to guarantee their kombucha is the best around. One such certification is the Appalachian Grown™ Program. Businesses, such as Frog Juice Kombucha, who are Appalachian Grown Certified have made a commitment to use regionally grown ingredients. This certification ensures consumers are making informed decisions concerning their purchasing and locally sourced products. They are also a registered Pick TN Product. Remember what we mentioned about decision-making karma?

Frog Juice Kombucha is WHY.

At VanWhy CoOp, we believe in businesses that make a big impact. Frog, Ben, and their team are on the way to fulfilling their global vision with a booch that brings more than just unique flavor to the community. We love working alongside partners who do more than just sell a product, Frog Juice truly inspires and creates a brand that we trust. To learn more, check out their site or stop by and see them locally when in East Tennessee at the Nourish Knoxville Farmers’ Market.

Sources: Jessica Martínez Leal, Lucía Valenzuela Suárez, Rasu Jayabalan, Joselina Huerta Oros & Anayansi Escalante-Aburto (2018) A review on health benefits of kombucha nutritional compounds and metabolites, CyTA - Journal of Food, 16:1, 390-399, DOI: 10.1080/19476337.2017.1410499

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