Hard Kombucha: Here to Stay?
by Liza Semenova
Seemingly overnight, kombucha hit the shelves of your local supermarkets and favorite local shops. Tall glass bottles that may look intimidating at first, quickly became a household staple to some, a healthy treat to others. But just like most other trends to hit the market, the booch didn’t stop there. Enter alcoholic kombucha. LA locals are jonesing for local brand Flying Embers, while brands like JuneShine and Jiant make their way into our fridges with their sweet, summery flavors.
What is kombucha?
Sure, it has a fancy name, but what even is kombucha? Regular kombucha, or in the form we’re used to casually enjoying it, is a carbonated fermented tea drink, with live microorganisms. It’s made by brewing sugar with black or green tea, some liquid from an earlier batch, and the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast - or Scoby. Kombucha has morphed into a jaw-dropping $475 million industry in the US as of 2019.
And now, you may be making some fridge space for hard kombucha.
If you thought regular (commercial) kombucha already contained some alcohol - you’re not wrong. Alcohol naturally occurs during the fermentation process; the level of alcohol depends on the length of time it’s fermented for, the types of yeasts used. But most contain less than 0.5% alcohol, so they aren’t considered alcoholic. That’s where hard kombucha comes in, ranging from 4% to 7% ABV on average.
Is hard kombucha healthier than beer?
Depending on what you're looking for, hard kombucha can be a good alternative to beer. Many hard kombuchas are naturally gluten-free (unlike beer) and may be lower in sugar, calories and carbs than some of your other go-to drinks. Of course, this entirely varies by brand. For example, hard kombucha brand JuneShine products have between 100 - 149 calories per serving, from >0.5g - 3.8g of sugar, and between 4.1g - 7.6g of carbs. A Bud Light comes in at 110 calories per serving, 6.6g of carbs. So, pretty comparable. But if we take a look at some classic mixed drinks, like a margarita (which are often made with a mix), the calories are often north of 200, and sugar content can quickly skyrocket to over 20g.
Is hard kombucha keto-friendly?
While not all hard kombuchas are keto-friendly, there are a few brands that make the cut! Kyla Kombucha and Flying Embers are two companies that you can indulge in if you’re part of the keto community.
Whatever your drink of choice may be, the 2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans advises drinking in moderation. This means up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men for adults of legal drinking age.
Have you given hard kombucha a try? Let us know your favorites!
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