Shanti Sunshine Volpe, the founder of Shanti Elixirs, learned about the fermented health tonic called Jun during a beekeeping workshop.
“It was my love of honeybees and beekeeping that guided me to a sacred beekeeping workshop where I was offered my very first glass of Jun, was taught the art of Jun brewing and was gifted my first Jun culture,” Volpe remembered.
Jun is roughly similar to kombucha, but instead of feeding on black tea and concentrated cane sugar, Jun feeds on green tea and raw honey. The end result is an effervescent, fizzy probiotic drink that can help support gut health.
After finding out about this other form of gut health for her family, Volpe began experimenting with magical Jun cultures using honey from her own Blissful Bee Apiary.
Volpe at her Blissful Bee Apiary.
She started brewing in her own kitchen, using her family and her coworkers at her lactation job at Mission Hospital as taste testers.
“It didn’t take long for my family, friends and coworkers to urge me to make more,” Volpe said.
Her sister kindly let her use her basement apartment in West Asheville to brew Jun and her aunt and uncle let her share their walk-in restaurant cooler to store her finished product.
“Little did they know what they were getting into,” Volpe said. Her production rapidly expanded from 2 gallons per week to 50 gallons per week.
“We outgrew our first certified kitchen in 6 months and quickly got my parent’s basement in Weaverville certified,” Volpe said. “At this point it became apparent that I needed my own walk-in cooler and that I needed to start growing my team.”
Shanti Sunshine Volpe and her team giving out samples at Taste of Asheville 2018.
From her first tailgate market on April 1, 2017 to today — almost 2 years later — Shanti Elixirs has six employees, five contract workers, 75 accounts in and around the Asheville area and will be participating in six farmers markets and numerous festivals.
She now has seven standard flavors, five collaborations and a list of rotating seasonal flavors which highlight local Asheville farmers and other small businesses.
“We strive to support small local farms and love collaborating with other small businesses while highlighting unique flavor combinations such as chocolate chaga, orange roselle and kudzu dandelion,” Volpe said.
Shanti Elixirs literally infuses their cultures with love, peace and good vibes and supercharges their brews with high-vibration music, hugs and blessings to make you just feel good. Learn more about this growing company and find where you can taste their elixirs on their Dig Local profile.