Shine: The tasting room on Main Street features alcohol brewed with tea, fruit and honey. Courtesy photos

JuneShine opens its first LA tasting room on Main Street today, bringing sixteen different flavors of hard kombucha to a bright and airy patio and bar space.

Located at 2914 Main Street, the room seeks to introduce the Santa Monica and Los Angeles community into the world of hard kombucha — a ‘better for you’ alcohol brewed with green tea, honey, fruit juice and naturally fermented alcohol.

Visitors will find JuneShine’s signature blood orange mint, hopical citrus and midnight painkiller flavors, alongside a series of brand new ‘buchas such as the recently launched chili mango.

“We looked all over LA, but we felt like Santa Monica was home for us,” said Founder Forrest Dein. “We’re excited to be here with a lot of our early supporters and advocates. Sunshine, summer, and surfing is what makes us feel most at home and Santa Monica has all of that.”

JuneShine was founded in 2018 by three San Diego college buddies who loved the region’s craft beer industry, but were looking for a more health forward drinking experience that fit into their active and adventure fueled lifestyle.

“At university we were waking up really early for surf contests and then going out late drinking and it was kind of tough on our bodies,” said Dein. “We were seeing organic, transparent sustainable food and beverage products in every category in Wholefoods except for alcohol, and wanted to change that.”

Hard kombucha seemed like the logical choice for launching a health conscious alcohol brand, because of the green tea, fruit ingredients, and probiotics included in the product.

The team brewed their first batch of hard kombucha using all organic ingredients in a garage. Wowed by the refreshing taste and excellent morning after feeling, they then pooled their money together to rent a small brewery space in North Park, San Diego.

The brand gained instant buzz and less than three years later is distributed nationwide wholesale and in retail stories including Wholefoods, Ralphs and Vons. While JuneShine was not the first hard kombucha brand to market, it has quickly become one of the nation’s leading hard booch breweries.

From Dein’s perspective a lot of this success is due to the storytelling and community aspect the team always put at the forefront of the brand. Unlike many competitors there is no mention of ‘bucha’ in the brand name, as they want to focus on the experience and adventure inspired by JuneShine.

“People have pretty close relationships with the products they consume these days, so we’ve focused on storytelling from the beginning,” said Dein. “We have a group of ambassadors that are all adventure athletes, or sustainable advocates or health and wellness people that help grow the brand and they’re actually co-owners of the brand.”

The idea of a ‘lighter brighter buzz’ and ‘better for you’ drinking experience that can be enjoyed alongside an active lifestyle, translates closely into the design of the tasting room.

Unlike typical brewery tasting rooms that feature lots of dark wood and stainless steel, the JuneShine room leans into light and bright natural materials. There are plenty of green plants, rattan mats, and bamboo and beachy wood chairs.

“We want you to come in, have a couple of drinks with your friends, have a great time, but still leave feeling light and without that bloated feeling you might get from a craft brewery,” said Dein. “We really think we can change the way people think about going out and having drinks with their friends and make it a more conscious experience.”

The Santa Monica tasting room opens from noon to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday. Guests can order for pick up or stay and enjoy a drink in the indoor seating area or spacious front patio.

Clara@smdp.com