If you remember, GTs Kombucha was pulled from Whole Foods and eventually all healthfood stores early last summer because of concerns that if the product was not properly refrigerated once it left the manufacturing facility that the alcohol content would rise slightly above .5%. At that point, a warning label is required and only people over the age of 21 could buy it. In addition, the product could only be produced in approved facilities.
To control the level of alcohol in the product, Dave of GTs Kombucha altered the original formula so that the amount of alcohol producing probiotics was reduced. Correspondingly, the amount of non-alcohol producing probiotics was increased to compensate. Each bottle contains the same number of probiotics, just in a different ratio than before.
The result? The reformulation has a smoother taste and a shorter shelf life.
I tried my first bottle of the reformulated GTs Kombucha yesterday and it definitely tastes lighter than before. It also tastes lighter than home brewed kombucha. There still is plenty of zing to it, but only time will tell if it produces the same feeling of digestive well being as before!
Dave of GTs has indicated that he plans to bring back the original formula at some point, but it would only be available for purchase by individuals over the age of 21.
Age of Kombucha Culture Affects Alcoholic Content
One interesting thing I discovered while researching for this article is that older kombucha cultures produce less alcohol in the final brew than younger cultures. A kombucha culture, if you recall, is a symbiotic balance of both friendly bacteria and beneficial yeasts that contribute greatly to the overall health and function of the gut.
A kombucha culture that is over 20 days old has less yeast and more bacteria. The bacteria are non-alcohol producing and the yeasts are alcohol producing. So, using a kombucha culture that is more than 20 days old will alter the ratio between the two in favor of the bacteria.
Starting with less sugar is also beneficial in altering the probiotic ratio. For example, a 3 quart batch of home brewed kombucha uses between 1 and 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Using only 1 cup as well as an older culture will reduce the alcoholic content of the final brew – even though the alcoholic content is negligible if proper refrigeration after fermentation is observed at home.
Interesting! For those of you who are interested in making your own, these kombucha videos demonstrate the process and provide a basic written recipe.
While I’ve been making my own kombucha at home for almost 10 years now, I find it extremely helpful to have GTs Kombucha at the store to help bridge the occasional gap between batches and for when traveling!
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
Source: Kombucha Tea Producer Reworks Formula to Alter Alcohol Content
The Healthy Home Economist has been a Nutrition Educator since 2002. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Nutrition nonprofit the Weston A. Price Foundation since 2011.
Sarah earned a Bachelor of Arts (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) in Economics from Furman University and a Master’s degree in Government (Financial Management) from the University of Pennsylvania.
Mother to three healthy children, blogger, and best-selling author, she writes about the practical application of Traditional Diet and evidence-based wellness within the modern household. Her work has been featured by USA Today, The New York Times, National Review, ABC, NBC, and many others.