Drinking Carlington Booch battles addiction in Ottawa – get some at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend

New this year, Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend will have kombucha in addition to Kichesippi beer for your enjoyment in Festival Plaza! Beer is a tradition as a post-run celebratory beverage and although many runners love a post-run beer some runners are in recovery, and other runners and walkers are looking to reduce their alcohol consumption, some are designated drivers, and others simply love Kombucha! Whatever the reason, Carlington Booch will be on hand to meet your needs. 

Carlington Booch is a small batch kombucha business founded by Union City Church in 2017 to fight addiction in Ottawa. Together with their recovery brand, Ashes to Rubies, creating community has been their focus. Gathering people together, welcoming strangers, holding classes, grief and celebration events, and opportunities to gather and fight isolation.

Catching up with the founders of Carlington Booch, Jon Ruby and Josh Beattie shared their vision, and news of a new brewing location with plans to scale up distribution of their ‘booch’ from regional to national. Along with launching a business, Ruby and Beattie support addiction and recovery work of individuals through Ashes to Rubies.

“People don’t need more jails and rehab centres. It is the wrong model,” Ruby shares, “It is really all about creating points of connection and sharing between real people.”

100% of proceeds from Carlington Booch support Ashes to Rubies recovery and addictions work. With a new warehouse, the re-opening of events, and a weekly schedule of recovery meetings and events, Ruby and Beattie are busy! “Currently our distribution is regional, we get the occasional order from across Canada or from the US, but it is rare,” Josh shares, “90% of sales are regionally sold through local distributors right now but with the move we are able to scale up.” Kegs and bottles are available for pubs and stores, and soon through the on-site tasting room.

Non-alcoholic options at bars and events are often juice or pop, but when Ruby tasted the Kombucha at Beattie’s house he knew they had something to offer as a tastier, healthier alternative. Josh’s wife, Johanne, made small batch kombucha so delicious that Ruby was inspired to find recipes in order to provide better options for Ottawans, like him, who do not drink alcohol. After months of testing, perfect recipes were honed and the two started a business.

Ruby and Beattie set up Carlington Booch in the Carlington area, where they operated until the winter of 2021. Events and connections are more possible with the new location at 81 Auriga Drive, where espresso and kombucha tasting will be hosted, and will provide a better location for weekly recovery meetings, life-skills workshops, as well as special events. 

“Connection and stories of recovery are powerful tools to fight addiction, we host dry events based on hope.” Ruby says Ashes to Rubies events range from weekly recovery meetings, to educational workshops, to hip-hop and spoken word events where people share stories about their own healing. Sober-curious and questioning people are welcomed to these events too., “Addiction isolates and takes life… connection and community solve the causes of addiction. The problem is what drink or drugs relieve us of. Addiction is a solution to a problem, finding that problem underneath is what’s important.” 

A 17-week program is available for individuals to find spiritual solutions to addictions and look underneath the impulses to escape. “We all struggle with using something to escape or numb ourselves, whether it’s shopping, or eating, or working, or using drugs or alcohol. “We may not be able to solve addiction at the social level,” says Ruby, “but we can impact the individual. When sharing, we share each other’s recovery, not addiction, we are not here to share war stories and what addiction did to us.”

Ashes to Rubies events and education workshops are supported by a strong team of volunteers, who want to share their experiences and help others. The community respects peer support and fosters a community where people celebrate and share their recovery with the world. Many current volunteers work at a recovery centre where Ruby and Beattie teach weekly classes. Their goal is to build the Ashes to Rubies programs, which Beattie laughs “is not meant to make money”. It depends on proceeds from Carlington Booch kombucha sales. “It’s event-based. It’s free. It’s all about making points of connection and we never want money to be a barrier,” Ruby asserts. 

Carlington Booch founders look forward to connecting with individuals in-person again as pandemic restrictions loosen. “The first event we hosted since 2020 was in October 2021, we held a candlelight vigil for all those friends, loved ones, and strangers who lost their lives to addiction and suicide during the pandemic.” shared Ruby. “This spring we are opening events back to in-person and virtual.”

Celebrate the powerful spirits striving for recovery from addiction by joining their team in the Desjardins Charity Challenge. All proceeds support the Ashes to Rubies addiction recovery through the sale of Carlington Booch. Make a monthly donation through the Canadahelps.org donation form to United Church, or order Booch to your door today!