Another unusual item in the taproom is colloidal silver — a drink with microscopic particles of silver suspended in the solution. Parent’s mother introduced the family to kombucha and colloidal silver in the 1980s while they were living in Ohio.
“Mom made kombucha during the hippie peak of kombucha making in the 1980s,” said Parent.
According to Parent, customers who don’t like kombucha are drawn to SOMA for its lack of vinegar flavors due to a long fermentation process. “Ours is really user friendly. A lot of people tell us they hate kombucha but they like ours,” said Parent.
SOMA’s Vancouver taproom is occasionally staffed but set up to be self-serve. Parent signed up with a Swedish web-based app called Honest Box to create a system for customers to let themselves into the taproom and pay for items by scanning a QR code and creating an account. Customers can unlock the door to the taproom and pay for their items once they have an account on the web-based app.
Parent tried this self-serve app-based model in Portland, but the state of Oregon shut it down. He thinks there are many benefits to a 24-hour, self-serve space. “People have to be mature and regulate themselves. This is the opposite direction of the world right now. Things are dumbed down and people are treated like children. I want to put more energy into people being treated like adults,” said Parent.
He also likes the idea of having a late night sober space for customers.
“A lot of people go to a bar because it’s the only thing open. This gives them another option,” Parent said.