Kefir: A dazzling fruit-flavoured drink that must be handled with care

Gerry Scullion of King of Kefir has been producing these delicate drinks for a decade

Water kefir skoby looks a bit more appetising than its kombucha counterpart, more like grains of sugar. They require a little care, and constant feeding, but you can have lots of fun creating your own very refreshing natural fruit-flavoured drinks. A milk kefir skoby looks more like a baby cauliflower, and milk kefir is a bit like a funky yogurt.

Kefir is less predictable than kombucha, fermenting from plain liquid to delicious drink to vinegar quickly, depending on the weather. I suspect this is why there are fewer commercially available. One exception is Gerry Scullion of King of Kefir, who has been producing kefirs for a decade now. “I was very naive at the start. I was obsessed with making the product rather than selling it. I couldn’t explain it very well either,” he says. He credits his participation in the SuperValu Food Academy for small food businesses as being a turning point.

January is the start of his busy period, which runs up to the end of summer. He intends increasing production over the next year. He will also launch four new kefirs – mint and lemon; ginger and lemon; lavender and lemon; and hibiscus and star anise. King of Kefir is now fully certified organic; up until now Scullion had been unable to source organic apple juice. They now buy from Clashganny in Co Waterford.

Aldi now stocks two Nomadic Lemon Milk Kefirs, made in Killygordon, Co Donegal. These yogurt-like rich drinks, made using low-fat milk, are widely available.