First and foremost, we are so grateful to Tova and Peter for founding Alchemy Bottle Shop and for entrusting us with its care. We are excited and honored to expand upon the solid foundation that they built in the neighborhood.
We are doing a minor remodel to the shop with a goal of trying to re-open in late March/Early April. Tova and Peter told us how special their customers were at Alchemy and we want to assure them that we will try to keep all their favorite bottles stocked like before. The main change to the business is in expanding the offerings to also include non-alcoholic beverages like select teas and coffees, given Jessica’s and my own background in those industries. We also want to expand upon their tastings program to also include tea and coffee.
Lastly, as we mentioned at the Grand Lake Neighbors meeting, the name of the business (Alkali Rye) comes from a Californian native grass known for its resilience and adaptability. It inspires us to remember that all drinks come from plants and are deserving of our attention and care. We want to do what we can to highlight and support producers that are incorporating sustainability into their practices. For example, we will be selling organic Matcha green tea from a farmers cooperative in Shizuoka, Japan with whom we’ve built a relationship over the past few years. They are really committed to not using chemical pesticides as well as installing solar panels. Similarly, wethink a lot of new natural wine producers are doing really cool, thoughtful things and we want to serve as a platform for them.
Please feel free to please follow us at sipalkalirye.com and on Facebook and Instagram at @sip.alkalirye
Kori and Jessica
San Francisco born and Oakland raised, I’m the Owner & Cofounder of Alkali Rye andEvents & Experiences manager at Red Bay Coffee. These roles encompass my values and my life mission: Creating inclusive community space for activation and collaboration, appreciation for flawless service and deep love for all libations. Like our business namesake, I work towards collective growth and economic empowerment within our communities.
I often shop at the Grand Lake Market and one of my favorite spots is the Tru Gourmet Dim Sum tent.
My first restaurant job was at Chez Panisse where I worked for four years until Russell Moore and Allison Hopelain offered me a spot at their newly-opened Camino restaurant. It was there that I learned how to bartend. After years of contemplating cooking school vs. hospitality management, my time behind that bar really cemented my place in the food world. I spent the next ten years specializing in craft cocktails, consulting, creating recipes and eventually, my friend Zoe and I became the first female bartenders at Flora where we worked with head chef, Rico Rivera, now the owner of Almond & Oak. Over time, I acquired a robust resume before rejoining the family business with a full-time position at Red Bay Coffee Roasters as the Events & Experiences manager. P.S. I also have a background in wedding planning.
Kori Saika Chen
I grew up in the Laurel and Dimond Districts and attended Redwood Heights Elementary, Bret Harte Middle School, and Bishop O’Dowd High School. My family and I moved to Crocker Highlands when I was in high school, and my parents still live in that same house to this day! My sister, brother-in-law, their two kids, and I all moved back to Crocker Highlands in 2015 after we were all living elsewhere in Oakland, and my niece Kaia is midway through her first year at Crocker Elementary in Ms. Doersam’s Kindergarten class.
I have fond memories from childhood of supporting the many businesses on Lakeshore and Grand Avenue. Donuts at Colonial (only the ones freshly baked still cooling off on the rack, of course!); family dinners at Spettro (RIP); and many movies at Grand Lake Theater. My food tastes got more refined as I grew older and it is always a joy to search for delicious local produce and other treasures at the Grand Lake Farmers Market. I especially love the fruit and nuts from Inzana Ranch and Produce. It is truly special to now have the opportunity to contribute to the neighborhood with a business of my own.