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Posted on Mon, Apr 30, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Unity Vibration to open new microbrewery in Ypsilanti Township

By Tom Perkins


The Unity Kombucha tea and beer lines. Tom Perkins | For

A new microbrewery will soon open in Ypsilanti Township.

Unity Vibration Living Kombucha, which is currently based out of its owners’ home in Ypsilanti, is moving into a new location at 93 Emerick St. at the intersection with Ecorse Road.

“It’s a cool building,” said Rachel Kanaan, who is co-owner with her husband Tarek Kanaan. “We wanted to be in Ypsi and it was really just the nicest place that we looked at. It was a good price and it reminds me of the way a brewery is supposed to look with tall ceilings and an industrial feel.”


Unity Vibration's new microbrewery.

Tom Perkins | For

The Kanaans used to produce only a kombucha tea until the Michigan Liquor Control Commission suspended their operation. Alcohol is a by-product of kombucha tea, and the LCC eventually reclassified the health drink as a beer.

Though the reclassification process took a long time, it prompted Unity Vibration to begin experimenting with kombucha beer, which has higher alcohol content and is most similar in taste to a Belgian lambic.

Unity Vibration can offer tastings and sell their own beer to the general public or wholesalers, but cannot sell directly to retailers. They also cannot sell single glasses of beer at the brewery.

The Kanaans were producing in their Oak Street home in the City of Ypsilanti, but had been searching for a new building for months. Kanaan said they looked for places in downtown Ypsilanti and Depot Town but couldn’t find anything that fit their needs.

But she said they have already talked to developer Stewart Beal about opening a tasting room in the Thompson Block once it is renovated.

Unity Vibration's beers were a hit at Michigan’s beer festivals last year, they are already selling in California and the company is expanding into the Chicago and New York markets in the coming months.

Kanaan also said demand in Michigan is up, and the new space will allow them to produce 500 to 600 cases every six weeks. Previously they were limited to around 120 cases.

The increase in production also brought an increase in employment needs, and Unity Vibration could soon employ five new workers.

The beers come in two varieties — raspberry and ginger — which are 8 percent alcohol. They're packaged in either in a four pack of 12-ounce bottles or a 22-ounce bottle, and range in price depending on which of the 65-plus Michigan stores are selling it.

Kombucha tea is a fermented raw health drink that has seen its popularity increase significantly in recent years, and Unity Vibration is the first company to put out the tea as a “beer.”

The organic tea is made from a living yeast and bacteria culture placed in water with sugar and different types of tea. The yeast produces the alcoholic content on which the bacteria feed. Unity Vibration then adds fresh fruit juice from local farms.

After a fermentation period of 22 days, the process yields a unique, tart tea not too unlike sparkling apple cider. Most kombucha teas have an alcohol percentage between 0.5-2, and less caffeine than decaffeinated coffee.



Tue, May 1, 2012 : 4:16 a.m.

I thought the purveyors of this snakeoil might actually know what they were doing...that is, until I came across this statement: "...But she said they have already talked to developer Stewart Beal about opening a tasting room in the Thompson Block once it is renovated."


Mon, Apr 30, 2012 : 10:50 a.m.

Confused...."Unity Vibration Living Kombucha, moving into a new location at 93 Emmerick St. at the intersection with South Grove Road." It is Emerick St, not Emmerick St, but regardless, is it at the location displayed on the Google map, just off of Ecorse Rd, or is it at the intersection of South Grove and Emerick, just south of I-94?

Tom Perkins

Mon, Apr 30, 2012 : 1:22 p.m.

I corrected the sentence. Thanks.


Mon, Apr 30, 2012 : 12:43 p.m.

They are in the old shop space behind where Acme Glass used to be. Definitely off Ecorse Rd.

Georgina Susan

Mon, Apr 30, 2012 : 11:49 a.m.

I was hoping it was Emerick Rd -- in the shopping mall along Grove where the Value Foods used to be... But, alas, no, it is off Ecorse. Still, a happy new development (if further from my house!).


Mon, Apr 30, 2012 : 11:41 a.m.

Cash....I was confused also.Looking at the photo that is defiantly at Ecorse.


Mon, Apr 30, 2012 : 10:27 a.m.

"But she said they have already talked to developer Stewart Beal about opening a tasting room in the Thompson Block once it is renovated." She is planning 20 years ahead?