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The Difference Between Brewing Beer and Kombucha

The Difference Between Brewing Beer and Kombucha

By Tim C

We hope most people know by now that we make great-tasting, healthy beverages. However, what makes our products uniquely delicious is the way we make them. When we use the term ‘brewing’ most people will probably think of beer, but there's so much more to this ancient art than just that. Our Kombucha, Sparkling Probiotic Water and Health Shots all involve brewing in some way!

Dating back over 7000 years, beer is one of the oldest-known drinks in human history, but did you know that kombucha is rich in its own history and is thought to have been invented over 2000 years ago? After starting in North-East China, kombucha made its way along the Silk Road to Eastern Europe and gained popularity in places like Russia, before spreading into the rest of Europe. Since gaining popularity in the late 1990s for its low sugar content and its many health benefits, kombucha is now enjoyed all over the world. 

Brewing beer involves adding yeast to a mixture of water and grains (usually barley, but modern recipes now use many other grains), which is then left to ferment for around two weeks to achieve a final product that contains around 4-5% alcohol. With modern brewing techniques, however, we can achieve far stronger brews. 

In contrast, Kombucha uses a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), which is then added to a base of sweet tea in order to achieve fermentation. More similar to brewing vinegar than beer, the SCOBY sits on top of the tea, with the yeast converting the sugars into alcohol and the bacterias converting that alcohol into acetic acid. Once the brew has been left to ferment over a period of 1-2 weeks, flavours can then be added to the batch and the final result is the healthy, effervescent and slightly sour drink we all love!

Now a question we get a lot is “if kombucha is fermented, doesn't that make it alcoholic?” While the final product does contain trace amounts of alcohol, it usually ends up being less than 0.5% alcohol which is low enough to class it as a non-alcoholic beverage and able to be enjoyed by everyone!