Does Kombucha Have Alcohol? 5 Things to Know

Does Kombucha Have Alcohol? 5 Things to Know

Periodically we get questions or run across articles regarding alcohol in kombucha. So we wanted to share our answers to the most commonly asked questions regarding kombucha and alcohol.  

Question #1: Why is there a trace amount of alcohol in kombucha?

Kombucha is a naturally fermented food. To make kombucha, you add a SCOBY (culture of bacteria and yeast) to sweet tea. The yeasts in the SCOBY consume a substantial amount of the sugar and in turn, produce ethanol (alcohol) and carbon dioxide (those perfect little bubbles). The bacteria then consume the ethanol and produce healthy organic acids, such as acetic and gluconic acids. So alcohol is a natural byproduct of fermentation whenever there are yeasts and sugar present.

Question #2: So is kombucha like wine or beer?

No. One of the cool things about kombucha is that the yeast and bacteria work in symbiosis, so as the yeast continue to produce ethanol, the bacteria continue to convert that ethanol into acid. It’s a constant cycle. So the alcohol content in kombucha is self-limiting. Unlike kombucha, beer and wine are fermenting often with a purpose to drive alcohol content, so efforts in those brews usually involve removing the self-limiting components of fermentation. That being said, because real kombucha is naturally fermented and not pasteurized to kill the beneficial yeast and bacteria, the trace amount of alcohol in kombucha varies from brew to brew.  

Question #3: How much alcohol does kombucha have?

By law non-alcoholic beverages must contain less than 0.5% ABV. Keeping your kombucha properly refrigerated until you drink it will help ensure the alcohol remains stable (because once the kombucha gets warm, those gut-friendly probiotics get active again and fermentation will continue).  

Question #4: What about over-21 kombuchas and kombucha beer?

There are some brands of kombucha who brew over-21 beverages (sometimes called kombucha beer) which are higher in alcohol than regular kombucha, but these are a different kind of product altogether and you must be 21 to purchase them. They often combine beer making techniques and ingredients to drive the production of ethanol.  

Question #5: Can I drink kombucha if I’m pregnant or sensitive to alcohol?

Since raw, naturally fermented kombucha does contain a trace amount of alcohol, those who are sensitive to alcohol may choose to avoid it. As with any product, if you have questions or concerns, you can always consult with your healthcare provider before consuming kombucha.  

Find this interesting? Learn more about kombucha or read more Health-Ade blog posts.

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2 comment

Mia Gebrowsky
Mia Gebrowsky

September 10, 2018

How much alcohol is in the Pink Lady Apple Health Aid Kombucha? I was at my local market and I was carded since I am only 18. But before when I have bought this same product I asked about the alcohol content and they told me it wasnt enough to label it as an alcoholic beverage so I wasn’t carded. So I just wanted to know how much alcohol content is in this beverage, since I am already aware that it is present from the natural fermentation.


September 10, 2018

I have a few questions regarding your product and the employees at Whole Foods could not answer a single one. I’m new to kombucha, so I’m still trying to figure out how to incorporate it into my diet.

1. Is Heath Ade kombucha pasteurized or unpasteurized? I read that only unpasteurized kombucha provides health benefits as pasteurization will kill the probiotics.

2. Exactly how much alcohol and sugar is in your product per serving? I heard Independent lab testing found higher levels of alcohol and sugar than the levels indicated on the label. I don’t mind that’s there’s more, I would just like to know as I do not normally consume alcohol and I am lowering my sugar and carb consumption.

3. For full benefit of the probiotics, should the kombucha be consumed on an empty stomach or with food? If with foods, are there any foods incompatible to the probiotics?

4. How much kombucha is recommended per day?

5 I take a separate probiotic; should I reduce the amount of kombucha I drink per day?

6. I purchase the larger bottles in Pink Lady and pomegranate. After opening how long can the kombucha be stored in the refrigerator?

Thank you.

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