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September 28, 2010 2:05 PM   Subscribe

After a meteoric rise in popularity in the US as a health drink, Kombucha has been pulled from the shelves of many major retailers over concerns that the drink often contains significant amounts of alcohol due to bottle-fermentation. On the bright side, it isn't too hard to find a mother and brew your own. But fermentation fetishists everywhere are left to wonder: Is Kefir next? More generally, do the trade-offs necessary to conform to commercial food regulations destroy the benefits of fermentation?
posted by kaibutsu (67 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I like to drink things that have been fermented.
posted by box at 2:08 PM on September 28, 2010


Goddamn trends move so fast these days that my kids won't even be able to understand what's being discussed 20 years from now on VH1's "I Love the 2010's".
posted by GuyZero at 2:09 PM on September 28, 2010


yeah, so kombucha has been my go-to hangover cure for a while now, and I've suspected that the very faint "hair of the dog" aspect of it is why it works.

but, man. I'm a big old fashioned statist, but nevertheless I'm having a major "big gummint better git their hands offa muh kombucha" reaction to this.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:12 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


A tempest in a teapot.
posted by kozad at 2:12 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I really like kombucha. I never knew why. Now I do.
posted by brundlefly at 2:14 PM on September 28, 2010


I am torn though - on one hand they're regulating perfectly safe food off the shelves while that dude in Iowa (or whereever) gets away with producing salmonella-laden eggs for a decade. Food regulation for the purposes of safety seems broken.
posted by GuyZero at 2:15 PM on September 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


I'm not seeing why this is a hard test, determining ethanol concentration is an undergraduate lab level experiment. I mean, they where talking about having levels 6 times the legal limit of ethanol in some bottles. 3% would be really easy to find with HPLC or a number of other methods, why is this controversial? They know what the limit is, they should have done some testing. It isn't like sale of it is going to be banned, just limited to places that can sell alcohol. If you disagree with that then you should argue that the legal ethanol concentration should be changed, not that we should make an exception. Why should this drink be allowed when something like certain British beers (which I think can go down to about 3-4%) not be allowed?
posted by Canageek at 2:21 PM on September 28, 2010


determining ethanol concentration is an undergraduate lab level experiment

My read of the article was that when it left the plant there was no alcohol but by the time you buy it it's over .5% due to ongoing fermentation. So you'd have to test it at the point of sale or something.
posted by GuyZero at 2:23 PM on September 28, 2010



Between this and Pom, I can only assume it's as apparent to me as it is everyone else...

Someone very high up decided that it was time to eradicate juice from the Freedomland.

Death to the juice.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 2:23 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sounds like a rehash of patent medicines.

"Kombucha: Makes you feel good! Gives you pep, vim, and vigor!" Active ingredients: alcohol
posted by benzenedream at 2:27 PM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


GuyZero: Yes, that makes sense, I don't see what the difficulty in going around to a bunch of stores and testing random samples is. That is how shows like Marketplace work, and how most product testing I've read works. Randomly bought samples at multiple stores ensures that you don't get all one batch, which could be bad. For regulatory purposes I would think it would be a lot better then a manufacturer supplied sample as it removes the fact you just get one batch then.
posted by Canageek at 2:31 PM on September 28, 2010


So if you're a homeopath, this stuff will get you hammered in no time, right?
posted by jbickers at 2:31 PM on September 28, 2010 [7 favorites]


OH NO A TINY BIT OF ALCOHOL IS GOING TO KILL US ALL
posted by effugas at 2:32 PM on September 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


Yep. I discovered this wonderful health food lunch buzz a few years ago when I had a regular office job and a Whole Foods within sight. Those were pleasant work afternoons.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:32 PM on September 28, 2010


A friend of mine has sworn for a long time that kombucha is what cleared up her acne--not drinking it so much as dabbing it on her face like a toner. And when I found out the alcohol content, I thought "Yeah, EXACTLY like a toner". It's basically Ten-O-Six Lotion with fruit flavoring.
posted by padraigin at 2:34 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


After a meteoric rise in popularity...

Oh, and I'm sorry to veer off topic here, but I really have trouble with this phrase for two reasons:

1) I'm sorry, kamboucha tea is just as obscure as it was last year. Go ahead, ask any not-vegetarian what kamboucha is and note the response.

2) When the hell do meteors rise? Meteors, by definition, are meteoroids that have entered our atmosphere. With earth being our reference point, they sure as hell do not "rise." Meteoroids are just space shrapnel. This juxtaposition of "meteoric" and "rise" does not jive with my conscious processing.

What do I not understand?
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 2:34 PM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


an aside: Bathtub Bob, what happened with Pom?

The thing about kombucha is that its health benefits are supposedly from the living cultures, and the living cultures ferment. Stop the fermentation, and you kill some of the benefits. Kombucha is different from alcohol in that it (well, the good stuff - there is stuff marketed as kombucha which is basically sugar water with a little fermented tea and no living cultures) is still "alive" and fermenting, unlike beer, wine and hard liquor, which are fixed at a precise point with a specific alcohol content. So as GuyZero says, you'd almost have to test it at the point of sale to get an accurate fix on things . . . And each separate bottle may be a little different.

Also, even at a couple of percentage points of alcohol content, it's as unlikely that people would drink so much kombucha that they would become inebriated, much in the same way that you wouldn't drink forty bottles of vanilla extract for a buzz. So the idea that this should be marketed as an alcoholic beverage is just totally stupid.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 2:38 PM on September 28, 2010


2) When the hell do meteors rise? Meteors, by definition, are meteoroids that have entered our atmosphere. With earth being our reference point, they sure as hell do not "rise." Meteoroids are just space shrapnel. This juxtaposition of "meteoric" and "rise" does not jive with my conscious processing.


I believe that "meteoric" is modifying "rise", not intensifying it. Meteors shoot through the sky quickly and brightly, so the idea is that you could have a meteoric fall, a meteoric rise, a meteoric romance, or any number of meteoric things that have nothing to do with something go with or against gravity. At least, that's how I've heard it used.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 2:38 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


What do I not understand?
posted by Bathtub Bobsled


Kombucha and meteors, apparently.
posted by Keith Talent at 2:39 PM on September 28, 2010 [9 favorites]


What's worse, social fear over tiny amounts of alcohol or shysty kumbucha salesmen?
posted by fuq at 2:42 PM on September 28, 2010


I thought "meteoric" just meant it was moving fast, like meteors do. And that the "rise" part wasn't affiliated with meteors.

What do I not understand

So to sum up, you do not understand that meteors and rising are not necessarily grouped by affiliation, insofar as this phrase is concerned.
posted by circular at 2:44 PM on September 28, 2010


Sorry, I'm not getting the big fuss about government regulation: Can't just about anywhere sell alcohol in the US? When I was down in Pennsylvania a while ago every drug store and grocery store sold it. They are just making them play by the rules everyone else has to follow.

I can understand opposing the regulation of alcoholic drinks, but if you are going to force people selling beer to follow certain guidelines you should force everyone selling a comparable product to follow it. I mean, most American beers are what, 4-6%? Many British beers are 4% or less: This drink was apparently hitting as high as 3%, so it should follow the same rules. I can understand objecting to those rules but saying 'You are a beer, so you have to follow these rules, you are a tea with the same amount of alcohol so you don't have to follow them' seems rather biased.
posted by Canageek at 2:44 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]



I'm sorry, kamboucha tea is just as obscure as it was last year. Go ahead, ask any not-vegetarian what kamboucha is and note the response.



This is from the article: Sales doubled annually for the past four years, reaching $150 million in 2009.

And prior to the pulling of kombucha off the shelves, sales were expected to more than double in 2010. So, extrapolating backwards, kombucha sales would have gone from under $10 million to over $300 million in five years. One has to admit that that's pretty phenomenal growth . . . I'd almost call it meteoric! Its popularity may still be highly regional, but most everyone I know in places like Austin and LA seems to like it and drink it, and only a tiny percentage of those are vegetarians.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 2:52 PM on September 28, 2010


Can't just about anywhere sell alcohol in the US? When I was down in Pennsylvania a while ago every drug store and grocery store sold it.

Were you in a different Pennsylvania than I live in? PA's beer and liquor laws are faaaar more restrictive than most states'. There was a huge to-do (with the State Supreme Court involved, no less) when the local Wegmans announced its intent to sell six-packs of beer. We have wine kiosks that won't release product until you take a breathalyzer test.

Unless you're talking about the wide availability of rubbing alcohol, I seriously doubt that you're describing Pennsylvania.

posted by lumensimus at 2:58 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


When the hell do meteors rise?

The English language is constantly rising to new depths and sinking to new heights.
posted by Dark Messiah at 3:00 PM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


...someday, when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, I will learn to close tags. But it is not this day!
posted by lumensimus at 3:01 PM on September 28, 2010


I'd always understood "meteoric rise" primarily in the context of the etymology of "meteor" and secondarily influenced by the connotation of speed.
posted by NMcCoy at 3:01 PM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Heh. Lumensimus beat me to it. Maybe Canageek wound up in Ohio by mistake?
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:02 PM on September 28, 2010


My girlfriend bought some of this stuff when we were in New York, having no idea really what it was. Now, I love kefir, and fermented drinks in general, but this stuff had numerous and sizable floating things that looked like someone had horked in the bottle, and it smelled just really, really vinegary.
posted by molecicco at 3:07 PM on September 28, 2010



When I was down in Pennsylvania a while ago every drug store and grocery store sold it.


*guffaw* No, no they did not.

Look, I think the idea of a low alcohol product with bottle fermentation is pretty cool and I want to try this stuff now, but you can't sell alcohol containing products that aren't well labeled. What happens when an alcoholic unknowingly starts drinking this stuff?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:14 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


It was on a trip to Intercourse, PA for a renfair. We went through other states on the way however, so it could be one of those. It has been a few years, so I could be misremembering, where it was other then 'Amarica', sorry. (You do have really odd drinking laws though, I mean, 21? REALLY? I mean we joke about how you can vote for a year before you can drink, but man!)

It could just be by comparison: In Ontario only the LCBO, the Beer Store, and a brewery can sell alcohol for off-site consumption.
posted by Canageek at 3:15 PM on September 28, 2010


Can't just about anywhere sell alcohol in the US? When I was down in Pennsylvania a while ago every drug store and grocery store sold it. They are just making them play by the rules everyone else has to follow.

No, just about anywhere cannot sell alcohol in the US.

Especially in PA.

What?
posted by desuetude at 3:15 PM on September 28, 2010


I'd always understood "meteoric rise" primarily in the context of the etymology of "meteor" and secondarily influenced by the connotation of speed.


Thank you. Now, I understand.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 3:16 PM on September 28, 2010


Being both a kombucha home-brewer and having close friends that run a tea house and commercial kombucha production facility, I can say the concerns those of us that consume and produce this beverage have over regulation as an alcoholic beverage has everything to do with licensing, taxation, and distribution laws.

Deeming kombucha an alcoholic beverage would require producers and retailers to obtain certain licenses, which would mean my friends would no longer be able to serve their kombucha in their tea house. Licenses can be very expensive, not to mention the additional taxes that go into producing and consuming alcohol. Also, in many US States it isn't legal for a production facility to self-distribute their alcoholic beverages, and requires a third-party distributor that in some cases only sell to specific retailers and require contracts with time commitments that extremely limit the growth potential for producers.
posted by bhamrick at 3:16 PM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


numerous and sizable floating things that looked like someone had horked in the bottle

Yeah, I went through a very brief kombucha phase...I liked the way it made me feel afterwards -- and now I know why it had that effect -- but I could not get past the horkiness.
posted by Pants McCracky at 3:17 PM on September 28, 2010


Errr, that should be America. Also I just saw nebulawindphone's post: Yes, it is possible that I am mixing up my memories of Columbus with my trip to PA. I blame my cold. >.>
posted by Canageek at 3:17 PM on September 28, 2010


When I was down in Pennsylvania a while ago every drug store and grocery store sold it.

Ah, Pennsylvania. You make the liquor laws here in Maryland seem sane by comparison.
posted by electroboy at 3:21 PM on September 28, 2010


Fucking assholes. No wonder my local store hasn't had GT Dave's in weeks. AAAARGH.

(yes, yes, get the 'eponysterical' jokes in now...)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:26 PM on September 28, 2010


Ok, so I've looked up the laws in each state I've visited: It was probably Indiana, Ohio or while passing through New York. Which doesn't invalidate my point: According to Wikipedia the majority of states allow the sale of beer up to 3.2% in grocery stores.
I could see banning people under drinking age from buying it hurting sales if it is a young, hip drink (I've never heard of it), but wouldn't some re-branding fix that?

(Was PA at least the place with the giant Canadian Beer signs for restaurants that served the cheap beer that most Canadians will not touch with a 10 foot pole?)
posted by Canageek at 3:32 PM on September 28, 2010


Canageek, the big huge guuuh WTF is because in PA, you may up to two six-packs of beer for off-site consumption at 1) bars which have an additional license to sell off-site and 2) delis which sell prepared food and have a place to consume said food on premises. Beer is not sold in drugstores, convenience stores, or grocery stores. If you want more than two six-packs, you must go to a beer distributor and buy an entire case. Yeah, this makes other states with restrictive laws seem positively sane.

I really like kombucha. I would like to continue buying it in my local health-food stores. Can't they just mandate sell-by dates that would minimize the chances of it having more than an incidental amount of alcohol?
posted by desuetude at 3:34 PM on September 28, 2010


desuetude: I noticed, I looked them up: They are actually comparable to Ontario's except you can't buy beer to go at bars (as far as I know).

It would depend on the time it took to ferment I would guess. If we are talking 48 hours after bottling it? Probably not. If we are talking several months then I guess that could work. How much you want to bet no one thinks to propose this as a solution at the company?
posted by Canageek at 3:39 PM on September 28, 2010


I really like kombucha. I would like to continue buying it in my local health-food stores. Can't they just mandate sell-by dates that would minimize the chances of it having more than an incidental amount of alcohol?

Kombucha's weird stuff, and the fact of its fermentation has much more to do with temperature than length of time. "Live" kombucha, if exposed to a fair amount of heat for several hours, will accelerate its fermentation like you wouldn't believe. Twelve month-old kombucha, stored at proper temperatures, will typically have far less alcohol after a year than a bottle that was on a hot UPS truck for just a few days. So sell-by dates wouldn't help much.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 3:56 PM on September 28, 2010


Two points...

One, US alcohol laws have nothing to do with health and safety, and everything to do with taxation. Case in point, minors can't legally buy non-alcoholic beer in most states, and even 18-21s can't buy it in 15 states. And on the other end of the spectrum, my own state doesn't allow selling Everclear (which I use for tincturing herbs), but I can buy all the 151 I can gag down.

Two, US food safety laws have nothing to do with health and safety, and everything to do with making sure you can't buy anything not blessed by ADM. Someone already mentioned the obvious example, you can buy poison eggs by the millions, but god forbid we actually manage to consume food that deliberately has harmless or even beneficial bacteria in it. And at the same time, now that the American public has realized that ubiquitous HFC doesn't do us much good (whether for metabolic or simply caloric reasons), we see an insulting push to rename it to something "less confusing".

Yeah, the laws minimize the worst of The Jungle-esque abuses of both workers and food safety; But if someone chooses to knowingly drink "contaminated" raw milk, the FDA needs to GTFO.
posted by pla at 4:07 PM on September 28, 2010


There are also additional restrictions on a local level. We've got a few dry towns here in New Jersey, and the stores that do carry wine around here can't sell it before noon on Sunday.

I was wondering where all the kombucha went.
posted by Karmakaze at 4:09 PM on September 28, 2010


That "brew your own" link is one of the more disgusting things I've ever seen.
posted by kafziel at 4:23 PM on September 28, 2010


is still "alive" and fermenting, unlike beer, wine and hard liquor

Good beer is bottle-conditioned (meaning there's live yeast in the bottles).

Also, those saying that it was under 0.5% when it left the bottling plant and hit 3% due to bottle fermentation on the shelves are clearly not homebrewers. The amount of CO2 expelled to ferment 3% of alcohol would create some weapons-grade bottle bombs.
posted by qvantamon at 4:24 PM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


No, I think it just went from under .5% to over .5%. I don't know where this 3% limit comes from, but it's not the issue at hand in the US. THe issue is that if it's over .5% then it's "alcohol", the same as beer.
posted by GuyZero at 4:25 PM on September 28, 2010


FTA:
A professor there replied with a scathing note, saying she'd tested myriad varieties of kombucha, and each of them contained between 2 and 3 percent alcohol.

Although, in fairness, he does refer to those cases as "hand grenades".
posted by qvantamon at 4:34 PM on September 28, 2010


she.
posted by qvantamon at 4:34 PM on September 28, 2010


What happens when an alcoholic unknowingly starts drinking this stuff?. If they are active alcoholics they will keep on drinking it--if they are recovering they all to likely to keep on drinking it, relapse and keep on drinking it. Unlabeled products with alcohol are not a cup of tea for those in recovery.
posted by rmhsinc at 4:37 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


To respond to a couple points:

I think most Kombucha producers weren't really considering the alcohol content of the drink they were producing. It's not thought of as alcoholic, even by those making it. Thus, when someone had the bright idea of running tests, they got a bit of a surprise.

qvuantamon: Producing 'bottle bombs' has a lot to do with the headroom in the bottle. It's extremely easy to produce a bottle-bomb by filling it only half way with beer and then leaving it to bottle condition; more head space => a greater volume of compressed air => greater total pressure in the bottle. Once the maximum air compression is reached in the head space, only then does the carbon start working its way into the liquid and creating carbonation.

Also consider that Kombucha uses very different cultures for its fermentation than beer does. Where beer has an extremely vigorous primary ferment that takes it to the 4+% alcohol range, Kombucha does not. It seems to be a rather slower process, and perhaps less likely to cause explosions as a result.
posted by kaibutsu at 4:43 PM on September 28, 2010


Someone who built alcohol tolerance (like alcoholics) would need to drink quite a few bottles in a short period of time to get even a buzz. It's not like it's spiked with vodka.
posted by qvantamon at 4:44 PM on September 28, 2010


That "brew your own" link is one of the more disgusting things I've ever seen.

Next up on Metafilter: Where does bacon come from?
posted by kaibutsu at 4:44 PM on September 28, 2010


Well, our house brews kombucha all of the time! In fact, before everything was pulled from the shelf, you could totally just grow your own mother from the little kombucha gobs at the bottom. It's very easy and very delicious.


Anyways, vanilla extract has alcohol too...wikipedia sez that "The maximum amount that is usually found is only 2%-3%". Just because we can't homogenize everything doesn't mean that we have to ban kombucha. Really, I'm more concerned with the health claims some of those bottles make!
posted by 200burritos at 5:18 PM on September 28, 2010


The health claims are what got POM in trouble.
posted by morganannie at 5:43 PM on September 28, 2010


Thunder Muscle!
posted by cazoo at 5:48 PM on September 28, 2010


Ok, this [YT] is disgusting. (Toddler eats kombucha mother.)
posted by threeants at 9:22 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


And on the other end of the spectrum, my own state doesn't allow selling Everclear (which I use for tincturing herbs), but I can buy all the 151 I can gag down

Are you in Virginia? I live in a small town in VA, we can't buy Everclear in the state run ABC store but, I can walk into the bar/restaurant/otb/keno/liquor store joint that is built over the Potomac and buy it.
posted by SuzySmith at 9:22 PM on September 28, 2010


I miss my kombucha something fierce.
posted by schyler523 at 9:57 PM on September 28, 2010


The amount of CO2 expelled to ferment 3% of alcohol would create some weapons-grade bottle bombs.

One of GT's Kombuchas (the number 3 botanical) would explode out of the bottle on me every time I bought it- I would lose over half the kombucha. In contrast, the number 9 never caused me any problems. There was something in the number 3 that really made certain critters happy.

I miss GT's kombucha. Whole Foods is selling some kinds of kombucha, but it's not fizzy or sour enough to taste good.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:56 PM on September 28, 2010


Yes the poor producers who marketed this as a health drink despite having zero understanding of what was in the final product or how it might be working. If you don't understand enough biology to know that yeast plus sugar water equals alcohol you probably shouldn't be making health claims. Also I'm not really sympathetic to people who took a folk medicine and decided it would be better if it was bottled, branded and mass marketed it.
posted by humanfont at 2:05 AM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I first became aware of kombucha in reference to Carpe Diem-Kombucha. Is this sold in the US? It seems to be the dominant commercial manifestation across Europe.

I came across this product when I was on a mission to find the stupidest product in the whole supermarket (an amusing game which I recommend to you sometime). This drink won hands down for its bizarre mishmash of cultural influences (thai tea, latin slogan, zen archer icon, papyrus background) cunningly designed to appeal to the nascent consumer niche of mental well-being suckers, when in fact it's nothing but a fizzy red drink that tastes a bit like sweet vomit. A quick internet search revealed that it is made by the Austrian company Red Bull (purveyors of literally the most awful advertising campaign ever) clearly looking to expand on its dubious self-medication (medutainment?) markets to those portions of the aspiring middle-class who turn their noses up at something as trashy as Red Bull, but who could still be persuaded that a fizzy drink might be just what the doctor ordered (you are stressed! you need this!) rather than actually tackling what is making their lives unsatisfying.

I became a little obsessed with this product- doesn't the mere existence of something so ridiculous demonstrate that our universe cannot be the product of mathematical necessity but must be fundamentally absurd?? I eventually realised that everything about Carpe Diem Kombucha could be explained- could be traced back to some meaningful cultural influence or evolutionary pressure, and that in fact it was far from random- on the contrary it was replete with meaning turning in on itself in ever more grotesque lumps like bacteria filling up the petri dish. I realised that what we are suffering from today is not a loss of meaning but precisely a surplus of meaning- like the surpluses that used to afflict the new mass production economies of the early 20th century. But instead of mountains of meat we now get sweet BBQ spare rib Pringles Rice Infusions endorsed by players of the English national football team. And this situation will continue until we are struck down by some great cataclysm of un-meaning, like a war or natural disaster- not because such events are meaningless in themselves, but because they cut short the attainment of individual meaning- washing over everything in their path like a tidal wave. We can only hope.
posted by leibniz at 6:12 AM on September 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Anyways, vanilla extract has alcohol too...

I don't think the problem is that it has alcohol content but that it wasn't labeled as having alcohol content. If you buy mouthwash, it specifically says whether it is "alcohol free" or not, because there are some people who for health or personal reasons want to avoid alcohol. And mouthwash you don't even swallow... but it may still be potentially dangerous to people on certain medications or with certain conditions.

and you can get non-alcoholic vanilla extract if you want.
posted by mdn at 6:24 AM on September 29, 2010


leibniz that's hilarious. i moved to europe three years ago and saw that carpe diem stuff, tried it once and thought it was a really boring drink and never got it again. never really gave it any more thought. but you're right, the packaging reeks of "trendy yoga studio cum spa". but really, the kombucha that you get in the us is way different than carpe diem. it's very sour, kind of fizzy, and can be quite good so long as is not overly horkish in nature or so fermented that it is basically sweet vinegar.
posted by molecicco at 12:38 PM on September 29, 2010


There is speculation that Kombucha is what set off Lindsay Lohan's SCRAM monitor, but I'm not sure if that's really possible or not.

Having grown up in a totally dry county, I could see teens trying to buy this in my home town and hoping to cop a buzz off it (IF they could even find or pronounce the stuff).
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 1:36 PM on September 29, 2010


If you don't understand enough biology to know that yeast plus sugar water equals alcohol you probably shouldn't be making health claims.

GT's label stated that it contained a small amount of alcohol, and everyone I've ever known who brewed their own is aware of the chemistry as well. I don't know about other kombucha brands.

Also I'm not really sympathetic to people who took a folk medicine and decided it would be better if it was bottled, branded and mass marketed it.

It's a fizzy, sour-ish soda. Not everyone enjoys overly sweet drinks even if they like fizz. People have brewed and drunk naturally fermented beverages regardless of any health claims for centuries. Personally, I have much less respect for people who bottle and mass market utter crap with absolutely no redeeming quality, than marketers of a drink that has some vitamins and helpful flora in it, and a lot less garbage.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:46 PM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


SuzySmith : Are you in Virginia? I live in a small town in VA, we can't buy Everclear in the state run ABC store but, I can walk into the bar/restaurant/otb/keno/liquor store joint that is built over the Potomac and buy it.

Maine, actually. And yeah, I too can get it in neighboring states, I just find the restriction an absurdity. Even taking it at face value (college kids binge drinking), most people using grain alcohol add it to something (they might end up with 40 proof OJ, but even in my hardest partying days, I never saw anyone drink more than a single shot of it straight, and then only on a bet/dare); 151, by comparison, only gets mixed with a chaser.
posted by pla at 5:29 PM on September 29, 2010


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