Kombucha

The term "kombucha" generally refers to a fermented beverage produced from a mixture of steeped tea and sugar, combined with a culture of yeast strains and bacteria.  Some kombucha products also have fruit juice or other flavors added during production.  The combination of sugar and yeast triggers fermentation, which may produce a kombucha with an alcohol content of 0.5% or more alcohol by volume.

Does TTB Regulate Kombucha?

Under federal law, if the alcohol content of kombucha is 0.5% or more alcohol by volume, at any time during production, when bottled, or at any time after bottling, the kombucha is an alcohol beverage and is subject to TTB regulations.

Kombucha is AT OR ABOVE 0.5% alcohol by volume at any time

CorrectTTB Regulations
DO APPLY

  • Visit our Kombucha Information and Resources for TTB requirements, and other information about kombucha testing, production, distribution, and labeling.
  • All kombucha also must comply with any applicable state and local requirements.

Kombucha is NEVER at or above 0.5% alcohol by volume during production, at time of bottling, or after bottling

CorrectTTB Regulations
       DO NOT APPLY

  • This type of kombucha must comply with all applicable Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. See FDA.gov for more information.
  • All kombucha also must comply with any applicable state and local requirements.

 

 

Yellow icon with a black exclamation mark. IMPORTANT
TTB regulations on alcohol beverages DO APPLY to any kombucha that has less than 0.5% alcohol by volume when bottled BUT the alcohol content increases to 0.5% or more alcohol by volume at any point afterwards as a result of continued fermentation in the bottle.

Failure to comply with federal laws and regulations governing the production, bottling, labeling, and distribution of alcohol beverages, including kombucha that contains 0.5% or more alcohol by volume, may lead to enforcement actions, such as the assessment of tax, penalties, and interest, in addition to potential civil and criminal penalties.

General TTB Requirements

The following general requirements apply to any kombucha that contains 0.5% or more alcohol by volume:

  • It must be produced on a premises qualified by TTB under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (IRC) (see K16);
  • It must comply with the applicable labeling, formula, and tax requirements of the IRC (see K12, K14, and K15); and
  • The container must bear the health warning statement required by the Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Act of 1988 (ABLA) (see K11).

If a kombucha is classified as a malt beverage (as defined by the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAA Act)), it is also subject to the FAA Act permit, labeling, and advertising requirements (see K13 for more information).  For information about testing methods to measure the alcohol content of kombucha, please see K17-20 in our Kombucha Information and Resources section.

Kombucha Information and Resources - All FAQs Listed by Topic

The following frequently asked questions about kombucha are listed by topic to provide additional guidance for the public and for producers and distributors of kombucha.

 

Green icon with a white phone. CONTACT US
Questions?  Please contact the Alcohol Labeling and Formulation Division  at 202-453-2250 or Toll Free 866-927-ALFD (2533), or by email at Submit an Online Inquiry .

 

Page last reviewed: September 18, 2015
Page last updated: August 13, 2019
Maintained by: Regulations and Rulings Division, Scientific Services Division

Requirements for Kombucha Classified as Beer

        

Click on the questions below to reveal answers explaining information and requirements for kombucha that is classified as a beer. (Go back to main Kombucha page.)

 

Page last reviewed: September 18, 2015
Page last updated: April 27, 2018
Maintained by: Regulations and Rulings Division, Scientific Services Division

Kombucha Labeling Requirements

        

Click on the questions below to reveal answers explaining kombucha labeling requirements. (Go back to main Kombucha page.)

 

important icon IMPORTANT
TTB regulations on alcohol beverages DO APPLY to any kombucha that has less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume when bottled BUT the alcohol content increases to 0.5 percent or more alcohol by volume at any point afterwards as a result of continued fermentation in the bottle.

Failure to comply with federal laws and regulations governing the production, bottling, labeling, and distribution of alcohol beverages, including kombucha that contains 0.5 percent or more alcohol by volume, may lead to enforcement actions, such as the assessment of tax, penalties, and interest, in addition to potential civil and criminal penalties.


Green icon with a white phone. CONTACT US
Questions?  Please contact the Alcohol Labeling and Formulation Division  at 202-453-2250 or Toll Free 866-927-ALFD (2533), or by email at Submit an Online Inquiry .

Page last reviewed: September 18, 2015
Page last updated: April 27, 2018
Maintained by: Regulations and Rulings Division, Scientific Services Division

Kombucha Information and Resources

        

The following FAQs about kombucha offer guidance for the public and for producers and distributors of kombucha. For more information, visit our Kombucha page.

General Kombucha Information | Kombucha Labeling Requirements | Requirements for Kombucha Classified as Beer | Testing Methods to Measure Kombucha Alcohol Content | Responsibilities of Kombucha Distributors and Retailers

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Green icon with a white phone. CONTACT US
Questions?  Please contact the Alcohol Labeling and Formulation Division  at 202-453-2250 or Toll Free 866-927-ALFD (2533), or by email at Submit an Online Inquiry .

Page last reviewed: September 18, 2015
Page last updated: March 29, 2019
Maintained by: Regulations and Rulings Division, Scientific Services Division

General TTB Requirements

The following general requirements apply to any kombucha that contains 0.5 percent or more alcohol by volume:

  • It must be produced on a premises qualified by TTB under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (IRC) (see K16);
  • It must comply with the applicable labeling, formula, and tax requirements of the IRC (see K12, K14, and K15); and
  • The container must bear the health warning statement required by the Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Act of 1988 (ABLA) (see K11).

If a kombucha is classified as a malt beverage (as defined by the Federal Alcohol Administration Act (FAA Act)), it is also subject to the FAA Act permit, labeling, and advertising requirements (see K13 for more information).  For information about testing methods to measure the alcohol content of kombucha, please see K17-20 in the below Kombucha Information and Resources' Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

View the Kombucha Information and Resources section to learn more.

 

important icon IMPORTANT
TTB regulations on alcohol beverages DO APPLY to any kombucha that has less than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume when bottled BUT the alcohol content increases to 0.5 percent or more alcohol by volume at any point afterwards as a result of continued fermentation in the bottle.

Failure to comply with federal laws and regulations governing the production, bottling, labeling, and distribution of alcohol beverages, including kombucha that contains 0.5 percent or more alcohol by volume, may lead to enforcement actions, such as the assessment of tax, penalties, and interest, in addition to potential civil and criminal penalties.


Green icon with a white phone. CONTACT US
Questions?  Please contact the Alcohol Labeling and Formulation Division  at 202-453-2250 or Toll Free 866-927-ALFD (2533), or by email at Submit an Online Inquiry .

Page last reviewed: September 18, 2015
Page last updated: March 29, 2019
Maintained by: Regulations and Rulings Division, Scientific Services Division