Kombucha law is on the front page of tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal. Because kombucha law is so interlinked with alcohol beverage law, this is to underscore some alcohol beverage points only touched upon lightly in the article (subscription required).
- TTB has decided that most kombucha is beer for tax and permit purposes.
- This is because it is fermented tea. It is beer rather than a “malt beverage” because it lacks hops and malted barley.
- Most kombuchas are over 0.5% alcohol by volume during production, but less than that amount after bottling and at consumption. These can be called over-under kombuchas.
- It is ok for a kombucha to be 0.5% alcohol by volume or higher, after bottling, but only if the product jumps through most of the hoops required for Budweiser. This would include permits, taxes, a Government Warning, no sales to minors, sales via the three tier system. These can be called over-over kombuchas.
- Unlike Budweiser, the legal requirements would not include TTB label approval, because, like gluten free beer, the product lacks the hops and malted barely that would otherwise confer labeling jurisdiction upon TTB.
- Most kombuchas need FDA rather than TTB labeling.
- The article mentions a few recent lawsuits on these topics. So far there are five class action lawsuits. Two of...