Does Kombucha Contain Alcohol? Here's What You Need To Know.
10 Minute Read
Would you believe us if we said “yes,” but also “no?” As we’ve discussed before, kombucha is a fermented beverage. Due to the fermentation process and the presence of yeasts necessary for that process, there are trace amounts of alcohol in kombucha (therefore: “yes”). However, most kombucha you see on the shelves in your local grocery store is not considered an alcoholic beverage (hence: “no”). How can this be?
Well, to be in compliance with current laws set forth by regulatory agencies, kombucha must test under the 0.5% ABV limit to be considered a “non-alcoholic beverage.” The trace amounts of alcohol found in a properly fermented kombucha are non-inebriating, but serve the dual function of drawing out the medicinal properties from the herbal ingredients and serving as a natural preservative.
Additionally, many commercial brewers use various processes for removing alcohol from their brews. Each method presents its own sets of challenges. In regards to Buchi, our in-house lab technicians have spent and continue to spend countless hours reading, researching, testing and experimenting, to perfect a process that works best for our kombucha. Our proprietary process uses many tools, however they do not involve nor require the use of preservative chemicals.
We do rigorous laboratory testing to ensure that the ABV of all our kombucha is below 0.5% (where it will stay as long as it is refrigerated correctly during storage). An ABV below 0.5% means that our kombucha is classified as a non-alcoholic beverage. The kefir soda that we make goes through a similar fermentation process, and therefore also has an ABV of less than 0.5%.
We believe and respect that everyone’s journey with alcohol is unique. If you are struggling in your relationship to alcohol and do not wish to consume a beverage with any alcohol content, kombucha is likely not for you.
Alternatively, we have heard from many individuals who have quit drinking that kombucha has played a key role in their sobriety journey. Fizzy, fermented beverages are often a comfortable substitute for beer or cocktails. A recent study uncovered a direct link between gut bacteria diversity and maintaining sobriety. Recovering alcoholics with a diverse microbiome were more successful at remaining sober than those without.
Ultimately, this is a deeply complex and individual decision. We understand that everyone’s body may react differently to fermented beverages, so again, it is always important to listen to your body (and your doctor). Also, if you have a sensitivity to alcohol for dietetic, religious, or personal reasons, we suggest refraining from consuming kombucha all-together.
In 2022 we took some time to reflect on where we’ve come and where we want to go. As with any business, there are areas where we shine, and areas that are a bit challenging and might not serve us as they once did.