Kombucha Comeback

By James Madeiros


..and Reports of it Containing Too High of an Alcohol Content.

Fans of kombucha, a popular fermented tea laden with stomach-friendly probiotics and other nutrients, will soon have one more choice to make before popping open the fizzy tea: kombucha regular or kombucha ID-required.

GT’s, America’s most popular kombucha brewer, will soon be offering their original kombucha formula, which just might exceed the .5% alcohol content limit requiring government warning labels and giving office managers a reason to look more closely at what employees are sipping to alleviate boredom at work.

In the summer of 2010, Whole Foods pulled GT’s kombucha from their shelves amid concerns that the alcohol content exceeded that .5% threshold. Since kombucha continues to ferment in the bottle, the federal government started to investigate various brands amid fears the alcoholic content of some bottles not only exceeded .5%, but climbed as high as the 3% level found in some light beers.

Kombucha followers everywhere felt like they had taken a punch in their probiotic-filled guts. Fears were allayed months later, however, when GT’s Kombucha reappeared on shelves, although with an adjusted formula to scale back the alcohol content. Now, according to GT’s, the original is being reintroduced to the health-food wild and can be purchased with a state-issued ID.

Believed to have first been brewed in China around 221 B.C., kombucha has an array of supposed health benefits including preventing hair loss, aiding digestion and stimulating the immune system. In fact, GT’s founder claims to have been inspired to start the company after his mother recovered from an aggressive form of breast cancer after daily doses of kombucha.

Even so, medical professionals are hesitant to promote the drink as little to no scientific research has been done to verify the curative claims. Ironically, there appears to be more documentation as to possible ill effects, at least when home-brewed varieties are consumed in excess.

Since there is little scientific evidence to back up the claims of kombucha connoisseurs, it would be presumptuous to make the assertion GT’s classic brew formula will be more beneficial to one’s health than their current “kombucha-lite” variety.

Bottom line, perhaps like any other fermented drink it’s probably best to enjoy it in moderation. Whether it be caffeine, alcohol or even water, too much of anything – much less a good thing – can be bad for you. If you choose GT’s classic variety, do so because of its supposed “bold taste and identifiable personality,” and not because you want to get your buzz on at work.


Legal Stuff: Of course, I should remind everyone that our blog entries are for your information only and are not intended as medical advice. If you’re going to drink, do it legally and responsibly; don’t be stupid =).

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