Inside a basement brewery in Hoyt, you will find Topeka native Melinda Williamson preparing her next batch of kombucha.
Melinda was first introduced to the drink after she was diagnosed with an undifferentiated connective tissue disease 10 years ago. It is an autoimmune disease, meaning the immune system malfunctions and mistakenly attacks a person’s own healthy tissues.
“I just thought this can’t be,” Melinda said. “This can’t be my only option. I didn’t even know what an autoimmune illness was. I really had no idea.”
Looking to take control of her health in a more natural way she did some research and found kombucha a fermented tea, as her personal therapy.
“They wanted to put me on all this medication,” Melinda said. “And they were saying, ‘you may never know what’s wrong with you. We just know that you have an autoimmune illness.’ And I’m like, ‘what? That doesn’t make any sense. Like no sense at all.'”
As Melinda found her own relief with the drink she began thinking of ways she can make her own. Learning how to make it just for fun and in her spare time.
“While I was brewing kombucha, it was never in my mind that I was going to actually be selling my own,” Melinda said.
While Melinda found relief from her illness in the tea, she turned her love into a hobby, then into a business.
“I’ve really worked to source things local when it comes to my business,” Melinda said.
In 2015, Morning Light Kombucha was born. Today, it is being brewed in Hoyt.
“We really wanted to offer a beverage to the community,” Melinda said. “And be able to offer something that is healthy and something beneficial to our community.”
She hopes it will make a new name for kombucha in Northeast Kansas.
Melinda partners with six different farms for the fresh fruits and plants she uses in her drink.
Morning Light Kombucha is sold in stores, and on tap at restaurants around Topeka, Manhattan, and Mayetta. For a list of where you can get your hands on one of the drinks, click here.
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