According to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau (TTB), kombucha is “a fermented beverage produced from a mixture of steeped tea and sugar, combined with a culture of yeast strains and bacteria. Some kombucha products also have fruit juice or other flavors added during production. The combination of sugar and yeast triggers fermentation, which may produce a kombucha with an alcohol content of 0.5% or more alcohol by volume.”
The popularity of this drink has exploded in recent years, especially in health food stores, and bottlers have been cashing in on the fad. A recent story broke that claimed the TTB had warned makers of the drink that are generating more than the allowable amount of alcohol.
Is there any real danger in that amount of alcohol, or is it just an arbitrary number? Good question, as it would take a very large volume to produce inebriation. However, it is good that the TTB is seeking to limit would could potentially be dangerous if some kombucha makers let their alcohol content rise much higher.
In a similar fashion as energy drinks that have alcohol content, if young people get their hands on beverages with borderline amounts, they can be abused and cause harm. While this would be exactly the opposite of the intent of kombucha makers, it is a very real possibility they have to be aware of if they let their alcohol content rise up above 1% or more (by comparison, light beer is usually about 4.5%).