alcoholic kombucha

Consider this the sequel to my rant about kombucha (“booch” if you’re a hipster). This time, I wanted to focus on drinking high alcohol kombucha, which I briefly wrote about in part 1

I felt the need to expand on boozy booch because there’s a company that’s making some claims on its website that warrants some fact checking. I don’t like to call out companies by name so let’s just give this pioneering brand of high alcohol kombucha a fictitious name: OOCHRAFT. 

Oh yeah, we’ll dive into some of the dubious claims this popular purveyor of hard alcohol has made. But first, let’s take a look at the main difference between low-alcohol and high-alcohol kombucha. 

I explain how the non-buzzy booch is made in the previous article. But here’s a crash course if you need it: Kombucha is tea (black or green usually), that becomes fermented thanks to a starter culture called SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) and sugar. After 7-10 days or so, the booch becomes a tangy, slightly carbonated drink, sometimes containing up to 20 grams of sugar. The main benefit of the drink is that it contains probiotics. But as I mentioned in my tirade against it in part 1, I think the sugar negates the benefits of the friendly bacteria. 

alcoholic kombucha

How is High Alcohol Kombucha Made?

As if the sugar weren’t a problem to begin with, to make the booch boozy, more sugar is added. Then, more yeast is mixed in. Ladies: if you’re struggling with issues “down there” as well as acne, you would be wise to avoid boozy booch. 

Because of the strong health sales pitch of kombucha brands, some women are chugging more than a bottle a day of the stuff. While the yeast in SCOBY isn’t necessarily related to the candida family that causes an overgrowth of bacteria in the va-J-J and mouth (“thrush”), it’s better not to consume any more yeast than is necessary if you already have symptoms of bacterial overgrowth. Hard booch contains even more yeast than its low alcohol counterpart. 

To make the booch extra boozy, after the second round of yeast is added, the sugary, yeasty tea is fermented for another couple weeks. When the booch leaves its cozy home in the fermentation tank, it contains 40% more alcohol per volume than your average big-brand beer. 

Bud Light contains 5% alcohol by volume (ABV). As for the popular brand I’ve cleverly disguised as OOCHRAFT: 7% ABV. Now that difference of 2% might not seem like much. But to review the math, that’s a 40% increase. That’s a huge difference if you’re a lightweight like me and think that if you have just a couple boozy booches, you’ll be able to drive home sober. Take it from me, if you have two of these drinks, not only will you be consuming way more yeast and sugar than you should, you’ll also be beyond buzzed. 

alcoholic kombucha

Boozy Booch: Buyer Beware

But the clever marketing employed by OOCHRAFT can be quite persuasive. For instance, here’s how they describe the difference between hard kombucha and other types of liquor:

“Choosing hard kombucha over other alcoholic beverages is a no brainer when it comes to nutritional information. Get a buzz while also filling your body with probiotics and antioxidants? Yes, please!”

There are a couple problems I have with this claim. First, check out what one owner of a hard kombucha brand that’s not OOCHRAFT says about boozy booch, in the Washington Post:

“Probiotics don’t like alcohol, period,” said Holly Lyman, founder of Wild Tonic, which brews a 5.6 and a 7.6 percent ABV kombucha. “We don’t pretend to have any probiotics in our high-alcohol kombucha because alcohol killed them. And we’ve done a lot of testing on products out on the market, and there’s not a lot of viable probiotics in even lower-alcohol versions, even though companies claim that there are.”

I’ve decided to include Lyman’s brand by name because I respect her honesty. To repeat what she says, not only does boozy booch not have the amount of probiotics claimed, neither does regular kombucha!

Hard Booch Nutrition Facts

Another ploy OOCHRAFT employs in selling their boozy booch is comparing their brand to other alcoholic drinks on their website. Check out the comparisons below: (The first drink is one of OOCHRAFT’s drinks.)

11 oz Grapefruit + Hibiscus + Heather – 159 calories + 8.5g sugar/carbs all from fresh pressed juice

12 oz Mojito – 242 calories + 37g sugar + 40g carbohydrates

12 oz IPA Beer – 200 calories + 0g sugar + 20g carbohydrates

10 oz Red Wine – 250 calories + 2g sugar + 8 carbohydrates

I concede that their boozy booch is better, nutritionally-speaking, than a mojito and, arguably, beer. But is boozy booch better than red wine? I think not. 

First of all, check the comparison again. Red wine is much lower in sugar and contains the same amount of carbs. Yes, a glass of red wine does have more calories, but here’s what you won’t find mentioned on the nutrition label of red wine…


Reserve Alcohol Intake For Resveratrol 

The skins of red grapes contain a potent antioxidant called resveratrol. Resveratrol has shown numerous health benefits, including lowering the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other inflammatory chronic conditions. The natural compound may help prevent the decline of brain function and other dysfunctions associated with the aging process.

Resveratrol is one of the best anti-aging weapons. In studies, it’s been shown to extend the lifespan of lower organisms. Sorry hard booch: you might be enjoying the spotlight now but you can’t brag about making mice live longer. 

Although more research is needed to confirm the benefits of resveratrol, researchers believe that this antioxidant partially explains why French people can eat wheelbarrows full of cheese and gallons of wine—without developing heart disease. This is called “The French Paradox.” 

And in case you’re wondering if it makes a difference drinking red or white, red wines are the resveratrol winner. Red may contain up to 10 times more resveratrol than white. 

As for OOCHRAFT, there’s no resveratrol. (But I have seen some resveratrol-infused booch recipes, so if you love boozy booch and want it healthier, check out those recipes.)

alcoholic Kombucha

Boozy Booch Better For Health? Conclusion

Whether you’re drinking low-alcohol kombucha or the boozier stuff, pay attention to how you feel afterwards. If you get bloated, like I did after drinking too much of it, or feel foggy-brained or break out in acne, this is a sign that your gut is imbalanced. 

Instead of drinking a bottle or more a day of kombucha, just have a shot glass of the stuff if you really think you’re getting any benefit from it. But as I suggested earlier, kombucha just might be a probiotic snake oil supplement; you’re better off, in my humble opinion as a certified nutritional therapist, buying a high-quality, soil-based probiotic supplement.