BILLINGS – A pair of Billings sisters are pouring their heart and soul into a new kombucha bar on Montana Avenue in downtown Billings.
“My sister and I were drinking kombucha constantly. We drink it for our health and it makes us feel really good,” said Ashley Klaus, co-owner of The Grotto. “We were going through so much of it that my dad, kind of jesting, said, ‘You guys should just make a business out of this.'”
That was two years ago. Today, Katie and Ashley Klaus are just over a month away from opening The Grotto.
They say the word “Kombucha” is foreign to a lot of people, but the taste is somewhat familiar.
“Kombucha is a probiotic tea, it’s effervescent, fizzy,” said Ashley Klaus. “A lot of people compare it to a soda pop, but the difference is the probiotics, they actually consume the sugar in the drink itself.”
Many of the kombucha drinks found on the supermarket shelves come with a flavor like mango or raspberry.
“If you like champagne or beer, there are flavors that taste like that,” said Katie Klaus.
“What I’ve noticed personally is it really helps my digestion, like after you have a really heavy meal or something like that it really gives your stomach what it needs,” said Ashley Klaus.
These sisters were born seven years apart, but now, in their 20s, these young entrepreneurs share a love for the drink and a common vision for their new space.
“The first thing people are going to see is our beautiful long bar, then our water wall, which we will have behind the bar,” said Ashley Klaus. “We’re trying to create an environment that’s relaxing and spa like.”
They plan to serve different varieties of kombucha on tap, offering several flavors in small amounts through a flight option.
“We want to import some from Missoula and Oregon and other places,” said Katie Klaus.
It’s quite the kombucha collaboration for a pair of sisters who didn’t even like the drink at first sip.
“At first, I didn’t like the flavor,” said Katie Klaus. “But after that first time, we kept trying and fell in love with it.”
And they say you will too.
Reporting by Aja Goare for MTN News