No wonder we get the DTs if we don't get our bottle of GT Synergy Kombucha in the morning: Since the popular product continues to ferment in the bottle, some bottles may have an alcohol content above 0.5%, the legal threshold for a non-alcoholic beverage. Earlier this week, Whole Foods yanked GT Synergy Kombucha from its shelves, and the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau [TTB] has launched an investigation into the nascent yet booming kombucha industry. Pretty soon you may need to show ID to buy your six pack of Guava Goddess!
Kombucha is seen as a "natural foods gold mine," and BevNet reports that Millennium Products, which owns GT/Synergy, is believed to have sales "that have gone well north of $40 million." We contribute $3.99 to that haul every single morning, as does Lindsay Lohan, who has embraced kombucha now that she's been forced to wear an alcohol monitoring ankle bracelet as part of her probation. There's currently grave concern that Lindsay may violate her parole by drinking a bottle of Synergy that's gone over the 0.5% mark!
The man behind Kombucha, GT Dave, who started the business in his parents' kitchen, admits there are concerns over alcohol levels in the drink, but tells TMZ, "Although we are not familiar with the technology or sensitivity of SCRAM bracelets, we think it would be highly unlikely that our products would trigger an alarm." Nevertheless, the TTB is testing samples of kombucha products, and the agency says [pdf], "If TTB finds alcohol beverages that are not labeled in accordance with Federal law, we will take appropriate steps to bring them into compliance. Anyone who produces alcohol beverages without payment of tax in violation of the IRC is subject to liability for tax, penalties, and interest. Such non-taxpaid products may be seized and forfeited."