Kombucha, a type of fermented tea drink, has become a lot more popular in recent years, with some grocery stores even installing their own kombucha stations where you can fill your own jugs and reuse the growlers once you’ve finished the kombucha. Beyond that, most stores now sell kombucha in pre-filled bottles, or in cans. There are a variety of types of kombucha, some of them have the sediment at the bottom, also known as the “mother” or the scoby.
Some types of kombucha have varying levels of alcohol in them, where certain grocery store brands are on the lower side, but some homemade Kombucha can be a lit higher alcohol %.
At the very lease, Kombucha will have these trace amounts of alcohol, usually around half a percentage per volume. Kombucha has about 0.5% alcohol, meaning you would need to drink several bottles of Kombucha to get the same amount of alcohol as a beer.
There are various reasons that someone would want to avoid alcohol. For people people, they are recovering alcoholics who are concerned that a single drop of alcohol could ruin their recovery. Other times, it’s for personal or religious reasons that someone chooses to not allow any alcohol into their body. Whatever the reason is, the answer isn’t always simple, but here’s a breakdown of our thoughts on the topic.
Should Alcoholics Avoid Drinking Kombucha?
Yes, Alcoholics Should Avoid Drinking Kombucha That Contains Alcohol.
If you are looking up whether or not the 0.5% alcohol in Kombucha could be harmful to you as an alcohol, the pragmatic answer is to just avoid Kombucha altogether, it’s the type of thing where “If you have to ask, it’s probably not worth it.”
Many people will claim all these incredible health benefits about drinking Kombucha, but there are plenty of other ways to eat beneficial foods and probiotics that don’t involve alcohol. You can have some yogurt, drink some regular tea that hasn’t been fermented like Kombucha is, and you’re all set.
Any potential health gains from Kombucha are far outweighed by even a small risk of a negative impact from the alcohol found on it, in our opinion, when it comes to alcoholics drinking Kombucha.
There are some brands of Kombucha that have taken steps to remove all of the alcohol or to brew it in a different way that doesn’t ferment into alcohol. It’s not the same drink, technically, but it’s a good alternative for someone who wants to enjoy Kombucha but can’t, or doesn’t want to, have any alcohol for whatever the reason may be.
This article from Vice quotes AA and their opinion on alcoholics drinking Kombucha:
For some AA members— who range widely in history, experience, exposure, and reaction to alcohol—even that .5 percent can be unthinkable. “People are very susceptible to the power of suggestion,” a spokesperson for AA told me. “If it’s suggested that there is alcohol in this beverage, and they drink it and they’re OK, then they could drink something else and be OK, and that can be really dangerous.” Understanding what it means to have the physical problem with addiction, and levels of addiction is key here. For an individual with high sensitivity to alcohol, kombucha “can be seen as a gateway.”
Is Kombucha Halal?
Yes, Kombucha is Halal.
We’ve seen people wondering if kombucha is Halal or if Muslims can drink Kombucha. Practicing Muslims and other people who avoid alcohol for religious reasons may be concerned about the alcohol content in Kombucha for a different reason than someone who is a recovery alcohol, but at the end of the day, their concerns are similar.
Whether or not someone is bothered by the small amount of alcohol that’s found in Kombucha for religious reasons is a personal choice, it depends on how they practice their beliefs and some may intrepidity things differently, but we’ve heard that generally speaking, the amount of alcohol in Kombucha is small enough that it’s non-inebriating, and can be similar to what’s found in unpasteurized fruit juice, therefor it’s considered Halal and okay to drink.
Alcoholics and Kombucha: Can Recovering Alcoholics Drink Kombucha?
Here’s a passage from Banyan Treatment Centers that expresses their view on alcoholics and Kombucha:
“For many alcoholics and professional treatment programs, complete abstinence from alcohol is a key component to a successful recovery. If you want to be safe, then kombucha should not be an exception to that rule. Kombucha for alcoholics is risky. Although it may seem like a longshot, kombucha could be a gateway back to that bad drinking habit that was so hard to give up in the first place. The alcohol content may seem low. However, as a recovering alcoholic, you could push your limits too far, thinking you’d be able to handle this amount. If you can handle kombucha, you can handle one drink… and the slippery slope begins. Why risk it? There are plenty of other teas with great health benefits that do not have any alcohol.” (source)
What About Alcohol Free Kombucha?
Alcohol-free Kombucha is another option. If you’re wondering “is Kombucha an alcoholic drink?” the answer is yes, Kombucha prepared the way it’s meant to be prepared will always lead to some alcohol being present, but you can enjoy a fizzy tea drink without any alcohol, that hasn’t been made the same way.
Canned iced tea drinks are similar to Kombucha, especially if they are slightly carbonated. This is the best alternative for people who want to enjoy something like Kombucha without any of the alcohol.
How Much Alcohol in Kombucha?
Kombucha has 0.5% alcohol per volume.
Is kombucha an alcoholic drink? Yes, technically it is, but you’d have a really hard time drinking enough Kombucha to get drunk. None the less, some people have tried, and the real risk is that having a little bit of alcohol in Kombucha is kind of like breaking through a barrier, and it can lead to a slippery slope as some of the quotes on this page have highlighted.
Kombucha contains alcohol, therefor it’s not ideal for a recovery alcohol to drink Kombucha, for a variety of reasons outlined above.