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BC Kombucha Contains Significant Levels of Alcohol Class Action

Kombucha as an alcoholic beverage? The complaint for this class action brings suit against MAD at S.A.D., LLC, which does business as Kombucha 221 BC, for the levels of alcohol in its flavored tea drinks, alleging that some of its drinks contain over twice as much alcohol as is permitted in in non-alcoholic drinks.

The BC Kombucha drinks at issue include the following flavors, and possibly others:

  • BC Kombucha
  • Acai Beet
  • Grapefruit Bee Pollen
  • Hibiscus Berry
  • Ginger
  • Moringa Lavender
  • Orange Turmeric
  • Jun Honey Matcha
  • Lemon Chlorophyll

The complaint alleges that the drinks are “substantially identical other than their flavor profile, as each flavor is above the 0.5 percent alcohol by volume threshold” for nonalcoholic drinks.

Kombucha is a tea—actually, a fermented tea drink. The complaint claims that the tea ferments “for up to a month while a ‘blob’ of bacteria known as ‘scoby’ (for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) floats on top. The scoby then ‘eats’ the sugar, acids, and caffeine in the tea, creating a cocktail of live microorganisms. Basic chemistry explains that the scoby conver[t]s the sugar into carbon dioxide and alcohol.”

According to the complaint, “BC Kombucha’s rise is built on a poorly kept industry secret—kombucha made the ‘real way,’ without pasteurization, predictably becomes highly alcoholic.” Pasteurization kills the yeast in kombucha, but unpasteurized versions become alcoholic, as the yeast changes the sugars to alcohol. The alcohol level can rise to as high as 4 percent, about the same as in beer.

Some companies have stopped the fermentation by such measures as pasteurization or have simply added alcohol warnings to their bottles. The complaint alleges that BC Kombucha simply makes unpasteurized kombucha without the required alcohol warnings.

For some, the effects of alcohol may matter. The complaint alleges that these drinks “are sold to unsuspecting children, pregnant women, persons suffering with alcohol dependence issue, and a host of other people for whom alcoholic consumption may pose a grave and immediate safety risk.” The bottles bear none of the warnings required for alcoholic drinks.

Furthermore, the complaint charges that the label of each of the drinks, “upon information and belief, understates the amount of sugar in the beverages.”

Although the company has since placed a warning under its ingredient list, the complaint calls it “woefully inadequate” because it does not contain the required Surgeon General’s warning.

The complaint defines three classes for this action:

  • The National Class is all persons in the US who, between June 15, 2017 and the date the class notice is sent out, bought BC Kombucha.
  • The Consumer Fraud Multi-State Class is all persons in Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York who bought BC Kombucha.
  • The Multi-State Express Warranty Class is all persons in Washington, DC, Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, and Virginia who bought BC Kombucha.
Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

BC Kombucha Contains Significant Levels of Alcohol Complaint

March 9, 2021

Kombucha as an alcoholic beverage? The complaint for this class action brings suit against MAD at S.A.D., LLC, which does business as Kombucha 221 BC, for the levels of alcohol in its flavored tea drinks, alleging that some of its drinks contain over twice as much alcohol as is permitted in in non-alcoholic drinks.

BC Kombucha Contains Significant Levels of Alcohol Complaint

Case Event History

BC Kombucha Contains Significant Levels of Alcohol Complaint

March 9, 2021

Kombucha as an alcoholic beverage? The complaint for this class action brings suit against MAD at S.A.D., LLC, which does business as Kombucha 221 BC, for the levels of alcohol in its flavored tea drinks, alleging that some of its drinks contain over twice as much alcohol as is permitted in in non-alcoholic drinks.

BC Kombucha Contains Significant Levels of Alcohol Complaint
Tags: Amount of Alcohol, Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels, Negligent Misrepresentation