What Makes Hard Kombucha Alcoholic?

What is hard kombucha? We'll, we're here to answer that question.

It should come as no surprise that we are a bit obsessed with kombucha here at Boochcraft. Kombucha has been a source of inspiration for us since the very beginning. At this point, most people have tasted or at least heard of the beverage. Heavily associated with health food stores, kombucha has become more mainstream and can now be found almost anywhere. Though traditional kombucha can be traced back to 200 BCE, you’ve likely noticed a new variation of kombucha taking over the shelves that has everyone buzzing (pun intended). And that’s hard kombucha, our specialty! Hard kombucha is rapidly becoming a popular alternative to beer and wine, and for good reason. You get all the benefits of kombucha like low-calorie content, probiotics, and refreshingly delicious flavors!

 Traditional kombucha naturally contains trace amounts of alcohol, with store-bought options containing 0.5% ABV or less, and homebrew kombucha ranging between 0.25% to as high as 3% ABV. So how do we get Boochcraft to that boozy, bubbly 7% ABV? Let’s dig into the science that makes it all happen.

It’s All About Fermentation

Fermentation is the chemical breakdown of a substance by bacteria, yeasts, or other microorganisms, typically involving effervescence (the bubbles in a liquid). With traditional kombucha, fermentation occurs when you add a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) to freshly brewed black tea mixed with sugar cane, where the sugar is digested and converted to ethyl alcohol over time.

 However, this initial fermentation leaves us with a low ABV kombucha base. So, similarly, to making beer, wine, and cider, the base kombucha is then put through a secondary fermentation process that favors the yeast. We remove the SCOBY, add more yeast and sugar, and let it rip! If we let our kombucha do its thing and don’t add additional yeast, the existing bacteria would inevitably turn the alcohol produced into acetic acid and we would end up with a product that tastes like vinegar, aka Kombucha Vinegar (yeah… no thanks). With consistent monitoring and ABV testing, we are able to reach that magical Happy Hour 7% that we love.

Can You Make Hard Kombucha at Home?

Absolutely! It just takes patience, precision, and the right equipment. We put together this DIY Hard Kombucha Recipe so you can give it a good old-fashioned try. Who knows? Home brewing could become your next hobby.