Made There: Iggy’s Alive & Cultured is anything but sour

Fermented goods such as bright kombucha and jewel-toned beet kvass reflect the depth and character of their producer Paul McClellan.

“Together we ferment” is painted in the taproom and emblazoned on banners adorning the entrance to Iggy’s Alive & Cultured in Kitsap County. It’s not only a nod to the very real people who work there, but also a mission and point of fact for the crew behind the kombucha, kvass and fermented foods company.

Discussions about culture and diversity have increased in the workplace and across our online and in-person communities. For Paul McClellan, Iggy’s co-owner and general manager, those types of conversations are the driving force behind the success of the company, not to mention for humanity. Whether you’re fermenting tea or building a team, culture evolves through diversity, Paul says. 

This video is part of our “Made There” series about local artisans. View more videos from Seasons 1 and 2

“I look at the example of the products that we make, the people that I work with every day, my own family, my life and my community,” he says. “Those same elements are in play where we have to have continuity, but we have to have something new coming to it. It's a demonstration that we can't live in a vacuum.”

The company itself is a living example of the process it follows for creating its drinks and fermented food. Iggy’s ingredients are carefully curated from like-minded suppliers, developed cultures are added to new batches of product, and the people involved in creating their line of products are a unique bunch who happen to share common goals. This beautiful synergy was a big reason why Paul was drawn to the company. 

“Finding this amazing community of people that seem drawn towards Iggy’s, people who are interested in food, interested in culture, both in the small sense, in the large sense. It created a rewarding work environment, the type of place you want to show up every day,” he says. “I've been happier in my life from that.”

Paul also feels healthier from incorporating more fermented foods into his diet. He understands that people can feel unsure about what to expect from ferments, so he has a few tips for those looking to make additions to their meals.

Making Sense of Ferments

Tasting tip: Before you take that first sip, Paul suggests pouring kombucha or kvass into a tulip glass or wine glass. The curved shape of the glass helps bring out the best combination of flavors and aromas. 

Kombucha comes in a variety of flavors, which are largely bright and floral. Iggy’s uses honey in lieu of sugar, which lends a bit more earthy sweetness. Paul recommends pairing these with Indian or Asian cuisines.  

Beet kvass is essentially a fermented beet juice, rich and earthy with a little saltiness. Though it doesn’t taste like wine, it could sub in for a glass of red. Beet kvass would pair well with roasted meat or vegetables.

Fermented foods include sauerkraut, pickles, curried cauliflower, and more. These foods are bright and acidic, and pair well with cheese boards or charcuterie and sandwiches. Paul suggests partnering their curried cauliflower with a rice biryani. 

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