Determination of the alcohol content in kombucha with Alcolyzer 3001 Beer

Kombucha, a tea-based fermented beverage that may contain small amounts of alcohol, has been enjoying increased popularity due to its refreshing taste and possible positive health effects on the human organism. The amount of alcohol, however, plays an important role for the wellbeing and enjoyment of the consumer and also for legal aspects. Alcolyzer 3001 Beer gives reliable information on the alcohol content of kombucha.

Kombucha: a composition of tea, sugar and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast

Kombucha is a fermented effervescent drink that may contain small amounts of alcohol. Kombucha is made from tea by adding sugar and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. During the fermentation process, the sugar is converted into CO2 and ethanol. Subsequently, most of the ethanol is transformed into acids by the bacteria leading to a final product that possibly contains a small amount of alcohol.

Generally, kombucha is referred to as a soft drink. Depending on country-specific regulations, soft drinks may contain up to 0.5 percent alcohol by volume (% v/v). For example, in the United States a kombucha product is considered an alcoholic beverage if it contains 0.5 % v/v or more alcohol and therefore is subject to TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) regulations.

Most kombucha products do not exceed this amount, but there are also kombucha beverages with more than 0.5 % v/v alcohol available on the market. These beverages are called “hard kombucha”. Fermentation in a packaged kombucha product below 0.5 % v/v may continue, e.g. when stored without cooling. In such a case, the alcohol content may increase to amounts above 0.5 % v/v, and the product is no longer considered a soft drink, but an alcoholic beverage, which is subject to different laws and regulations. This makes an accurate alcohol determination necessary.

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