Since its opening nearly half a year ago, Shorebirds Brewing Company has gained notoriety in Rancho Cordova for its flavorful libations, coastal vibes and crafty events.
Inspiration for a hard kombucha brew can strike from anywhere. A floral scent discerned on a morning hike, a succulent flavor from a piece of fruit or a potent spice from a windowsill garden. All ingredients are fair game when it comes to this fermented tea.
“Brewing by nature is a really fun way to express your creativity,” said Randall Echevarria, co-owner and founder of Shorebirds Brewing Company, which he runs with his husband Monte Hudock. “It’s fun to experiment with different kinds of fruits, botanicals and yeast strains to create different layers of flavors and flavor profiles.”
A member of the Barrel District, Shorebirds Brewing Company is the only hard kombucha brewery in Rancho Cordova. And since its opening nearly half a year ago, it’s gained notoriety in the city for its flavorful libations, coastal vibes and crafty events.
“The reception has been great,” said Echevarria, reflecting on the establishment’s first handful of months in existence. “We’re getting to know our customers and, similarly, their interest in our hard kombucha flavor profiles. We’re always brewing something new: new experimental batches and seasonal releases based on what’s in season.”
Inside the Shorebirds brewery
Flavors abound in the Shorebirds taproom. From strawberry and blueberry mojito to blackberry thyme margarita and citrus green tea, the kombucha brews don’t simply tantalize the tongue, they’re a feast for the eyes too, their colors warm and inviting when placed on a flight board.
“Our blueberry mojito hard kombucha is my go-to, but they are all so incredibly good it’s hard to choose,” said Echevarria when asked if he has any favorite Shorebirds flavors. “Chasing Daylight is another popular go-to. It’s a tropical fruit bomb of pineapple and orange and a tea blend of hibiscus, roses and rose hips with lemon and grapefruit peels, and activated charcoal that gives the drink a dark appearance.”
“It’s a really fun drink that’s quickly become the most popular, right along with our blueberry mojito and blackberry thyme margaritas,” he added.
Inside the Shorebirds brewery, the aesthetic and color palette are reminiscent of days spent lounging on the beach, a vibe inspired by Echevarria’s youth in Crescent City, a beach town in Northern California.
“We wanted to capture a bit of California’s surf culture,” said Echevarria. “Growing up in a small beach town definitely helped shape the brand and the look and feel of our taproom.”
Echevarria and Hudock have spent years refining their brewing skills. In the early 2000s, they both worked at Pyramid Alehouse, a now-closed Sacramento brewpub. While there, they met Sabrina Helmick, who now works as Shorebirds’ taproom manager.
In 2015, Echevarria and Hudock turned their love of brewing into a business by launching the Brass Clover Cold Brew Coffee Company, which was based in the same location as Shorebirds Brewing Co.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the two took the shutdown as an opportunity to reevaluate the cold brew coffee business. A new idea was fermenting in their minds.
For some time, Echevarria and Hudock had been experimenting with hard kombucha brews at home. While reevaluating their coffee business, they noticed a lack of a hard kombucha presence in the local brewery scene. The duo decided to step in and fill the void.
“We spent almost the first two years of the pandemic perfecting our brewing process and refining our recipes,” said Echevarria. “We worked with an international consultant to dive deeper into the art and science of hard kombucha fermentation and worked with a local brewer to further refine our craft.”
“While we were brewing test batches and doing product development, we were also on a separate track going through the permitting and licensing processes with local state and federal authorities,” he added.
In summer 2022, Shorebirds officially opened its doors.
With almost half a year of operation under their belt, the Shorebirds team is constantly expanding and innovating when it comes to their offerings and in-person experiences.
“We’re pushing the envelope of what hard kombucha is and what it can be,” said Echevarria. “Earlier this summer, we introduced a hard kombucha soft serve and will soon be launching a hard kombucha acai bowl.”
Each week, the Shorebirds team selects one of their hard kombucha flavors and converts it into a boozy ice cream treat. In addition to innovation, the brewery also hosts events, like craft nights with the locally owned Heart Craft Studio.
“We’re always looking for new opportunities and ways to support other local businesses, especially new entrepreneurs,” said Echevarria.
With the addition of Shorebirds Brewing Company, the Rancho Cordova Barrel District is now nine members strong. And the Shorebirds team is excited to be part of the fold.
“The Barrel District is known as a region for producing solid craft alcoholic beverages, whether that be beer, seltzer or mead and now, hard kombucha,” said Echevarria.