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Can Kombucha Impair Driving Abilities?

August 8, 2016 | Category: Auto, DUI, Truck

Whole Foods supermarkets recalled the raw Kombucha beverage from its stores in 2010 because of the alcohol content; however, it maintained Kombucha flavored teas on its shelves. Honest Tea decided not to offer its own brand of Kombucha when it discovered its alcohol content continues to be over 0.5 percent.

Kombucha is a trendy health beverage because of claims that it has some health benefits, but it is also under investigation because of its alcohol content.  

What exactly is Kombucha?

WINK news reported on July 14, 2016 that Kombucha is made by mixing green or black tea and sugar and fermenting it using a probiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. According to experts the fermentation process increases the nutrients in Kombucha.

Is Kombucha an alcoholic beverage?

Although Kombucha is not sold in liquor stores, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau tested some samples, and they were above the .05 percent alcohol-by-volume threshold for nonalcoholic drinks. The Food and Drug Administration legally requires any drinks that have more than 0.5 percent alcohol content to be labeled alcoholic.

During the fermentation process of Kombucha, yeast transforms sugar into alcohol, which is then converted into gluconic acid by way of the bacteria. There is some ethanol leftover, which results in approximately 0.5 to 3 percent of alcohol depending on how long it has been fermenting. (Beer contains four to six percent.)

How is the law treating Kombucha?

Art Resnick, spokesperson for the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which is testing samples of Kombucha brands to determine how it should be labeled said, “Each brand will be treated differently, depending on its alcohol content. It's not clear how long the investigation will take because regulators don't know how many companies produce Kombucha.”

Producers, according to the news media, are weighing their options. They can change their formula or production methods to lessen the alcohol, pasteurize their drinks, or market their drinks as alcohol.

Could drinking Kombucha impair driving?

If Kombucha is consumed in large amounts before driving, experts believe that it is possible that the drink could cause impairment and that the Kombucha drinker could be charged with driving under the influence.

The law in many states is clear: If a beverage contains more than 0.5 percent, it is legally a beer and must be labeled, sold, and treated as such.

“If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with an impaired driver, after securing any medical treatment necessary, contact our experienced team of lawyers at Spivey Laws Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.,” said Fort Myers Hurt By Drunk Driver Attorney, Randall Spivey.


Hurt By Drunk Driver Attorney, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839,or by email to Visit for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.


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