Kombucha is a beverage that has grown in popularity over the last several years. Hailed by many as a health miracle, kombucha is a probiotic that is made of fermented mushrooms. Many people regularly drink the beverage as part of a health regimen because of the fact that it may aid in digestion and help with things like headaches and skin clarity. For members of the recovery community, however, it seems that drinking Kombucha may present a very real threat to their sobriety. This is because the probiotic drink contains trace amounts of alcohol, due to the fact that it is in fact fermented.
How Much Alcohol is in Kombucha?
Kombucha generally contains such a small amount of alcohol that even the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has contended that it can generally be sold and taxed in the same way that non-alcoholic beverages like juices are. A standard bottle of commercially sold kombucha contains a mere .5% of alcohol, compared to 3.5%, which is the alcohol content of a light beer. The alcohol content in kombucha comes from the fermenting process, which occurs when the bacterial substance is fermented. The process of fermentation can vary in length and may last as long as thirty days. The longer the tea is fermented, the less sugary it takes, and the beverage begins to take on a more vinegary taste.
Why Does Kombucha Pose a Threat to Recovering Alcoholics?
It is not generally seen as a good idea for recovering to drink kombucha because although the alcohol in kombucha is minimal, it is still present. For a person who is addicted to alcohol, any amount of alcohol can pose a major threat to their sobriety. This is because addiction is such an overpowering disease that even just a small taste of the substance they are addicted to can trigger use. The brain is so accustomed to finding and using alcohol that even trace amounts of it can “remind” the brain how much it misses the substance and set off an episode of using. This is the same reason that recovering alcoholics are advised not to drink things like non-alcoholic beer, which also contain very small amounts of alcohol.
Kombucha in the News
Until a handful of years ago, the alcohol content in kombucha had not been part of a major discussion about the beverage. It was sold to minors on a regular basis, and many recovering addicts were not aware that the drink contained alcohol. One thing that happened to bring kombucha and alcohol to the conscious of recovering alcoholics is that actress Lindsay Lohan failed her alcohol test after she had consumed some of the drink. The popular health food store Whole Foods also pulled kombucha from its shelves, until more investigations could be done into the alcohol content of the drink.
Are There Options For Recovering Alcoholics Who Enjoy Kombucha?
Many people who are in recovery are also self-identified health nuts, many of whom want to keep drinking kombucha because of the benefits they believe they get from drinking the beverage. The good news is that some brands of kombucha do sell varieties that are completely alcohol free. When the news of kombucha’s alcohol content became widespread, the makers of the popular kombucha Synergy began to make two different kinds of kombucha - a traditional one, which is marked with a black cap, and an alcohol free one, which is suitable for use by minors and recovering alcoholics. These alcohol free drinks are a good option for recovering addicts seeking the many health benefits of probiotics.