Booch Buzz: Is It Possible to Get Drunk With Kombucha?

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Kombucha contains trace levels of alcohol, but no single bottle holds enough alcohol to get you to the point of intoxication, or even tipsiness. You can theoretically get drunk on kombucha, but that's only if you quickly drink extreme amounts of this fermented tea. It's not realistic.

What Is The Alcohol Content of Kombucha?

Commercial kombucha sold in the US has an alcohol by volume (ABV) content of 0.5% or lower, making it well within the range of a non-alcoholic beverage.

Homemade kombucha tends to have a slightly higher alcohol level, ranging from 1% to 2.5%. This percentage varies based on the fermentation time. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever brew a batch of kombucha with a higher alcohol level than this, even by accident.

However, there are cases where kombucha can be alcoholic. Hard kombucha has a higher alcohol content, usually around 3.5% to 5%. If you drink hard kombucha, do so in moderation, as you’ll likely get drunk. When shopping, a clear label will distinguish regular kombucha from hard kombucha.

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Hard kombucha with 4.5% ABV

Why Do I Get a Buzz From Kombucha Tea?

First, it’s essential to understand how kombucha is made. Kombucha is made by fermenting sweet tea and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). This fermentation process kickstarts the symbiotic conversion—turning the initial ingredients (i.g. sugar) into a slew of new compounds, from probiotics to ethanol.

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Kombucha’s first fermentation process, where alcohol is naturally created

While trace amounts of alcohol (ethanol) are a byproduct of prolonged kombucha fermentation, it doesn’t produce enough to get you buzzed. The buzz you get from this fermented beverage is derived from the proliferation of new probiotics and vitamins. These probiotics help to improve gut health, boost the immune system, and reduce inflammation in the body.

Furthermore, kombucha contains some caffeine and L-Theanine, both essential compounds in boosting your mood and making you feel more energetic.

How Much Kombucha Does It Take to Get Drunk?

You need to simultaneously chug eight kombucha bottles to be at the same level of drunkenness you’d have with one beer down. Therefore, getting drunk off kombucha is nearly impossible.

If you drink hard kombucha with an alcohol content of 5% or more, it’ll probably not take more than one or two before you start feeling tipsy.

What Are the Possible Side Effects of Drinking Too Much Kombucha?

Kombucha is riddled with incredible health benefits, but it’s not without risks, especially if you overindulge to take advantage of its alcohol content. Overindulging in kombucha can cause various side effects, such as:

  • Excessive calorie consumption
  • Increased risk of diabetes
  • Excessive caffeine consumption
  • Upset stomach
  • Stomach bloating
  • Headaches
  • Digestive issues
  • Feeling of nausea

That said, you’ll unlikely have these problems if you only drink one or two bottles of kombucha a day.

Can You Pass a Breathalyzer After Drinking Kombucha?

It is possible that the small percentage of alcohol in kombucha could show up on a breathalyzer. However, by US medical guidelines, a person is considered legally drunk if their blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is over 0.08%.

To reach the ABV threshold, most people would need to consume three 5% drinks within 60 minutes. Do the math with kombucha’s alcohol content, and you’ll see that you’d need to drink a lot of this probiotic beverage to feel its alcoholic effects.

A more questionable area is a car breathalyzer. If you were previously convicted of a DUI and have a mandatory device in your car, the low alcohol content may prevent you from being able to start your vehicle. Fermented foods, like kimchi or soy sauce, could cause the same effect.


Joshua recently discovered flavored kombucha and has since become a fan of its taste and health properties. He's currently attempting to taste test at least 20 different kombucha flavors, and his current favorite is apple kombucha.

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