Hard kombucha is the widely-used industry term for alcoholic kombucha. To be precise, a kombucha that has more than 0.5% ABV. Think of kombucha like beer- you can buy alcoholic or nonalcoholic.  

Theoretically speaking, all kombucha has alcohol in it, even the non-alcoholic kind. Producing this sparkling health tea involves fermentation. Good yeast in the bacteria culture consumes natural sugar thereby producing alcohol (ethanol) and crisp carbonation bubbles. Any kombucha with an ABV lower than 0.5% is not "Hard" and will never influence your mind or body in the way an alcholic drink does.   

That's all you need to know about the distinction, but there's plenty of mystery to uncover about boozy boocha; it's possible benefits, the taste, and whether it'll get you drunk. 

  1.  Hard Kombucha = 1 Smirnoff Ice 

Hard kombuchas differ in ABV, ranging between a light beer (3.2%) to a powerful IPA (8%). Home-brewed kombucha can get even stronger... but on average, a hard kombucha will be around 4.5% ABV, which compares it to the alcohol content of a Smirnoff Ice. I'd rather get "Booched" than "Iced" though.  

  1. Beer Companies Are Starry-Eyed 

As more people opt for lower-alcohol imbibing, gravitating toward plant-based drinks with functional benefits, beer companies are warming to hard kombucha. For instance, Samuel Adams' owner Boston Beer is introducing a new brand called Tundra Hard Kombucha. Local breweries are also expanding their hop-rizon by applying beer brewing know-how to kombucha brewing, expanding offerings and staying trendy for consumers.  

  1. Alcohol May Kill Probiotics  

Kombucha is coveted for its live probiotics, which offer a range of natural benefits like promoting good gut health. When the alcohol content rises, however, experts assert the probiotics get killed off. (RIProbiotics) Some executives at hard kombucha companies have said they don't pretend their high-alcohol kombucha has any probiotics since they've been knocked out by booze. Others argue hard kombucha does maintain its probiotic benefits, and it depends on the exact ABV whether you'll get a functional boost swapping beer for booch.  

  1. ... But It's Still Alcohol 

Hops are a great functional ingredient, touted as an aid for insomnia and leg ulcers, but that doesn't mean drinking beer will cure sleepless nights. This principle applies to hard kombucha. In light of the benefits of sparkling probiotic tea, you're still consuming booze. Hard kombucha should be treated like a mixed drink, beer, or glass of wine. Enjoyed at the right time and in moderation.  

  1. Higher the Heat, Higher the Booze 

Increasing heat during brewing can work to rid kombucha from harmful bacteria- this particularly applies to home brewing where surfaces may not be correctly sterilized. Clean, safe kombucha is great, but that extra fire will raise the ABV.  

  1. Home-Brewed Hard Kombucha is Very Alcoholic 

Homebrewing kombucha has become a popular garage hobby/adult science experiment. But miscalculating the fermenting timeline can lead to double (if not higher) the alcohol than commercial hard kombuchas. Commercial brands that prolong fermenting may do so to get more bubbles (another side-effect of time), but in doing so, make a very hard kombucha. The good news is, you can get lots of bubbles and modest ABV from the right hard kombucha. So emerge from your basement.  

  1. Hard Kombucha is Still Under the Radar 

If you're in the kombucha world, it may feel like hard kombucha has been around forever. Well, it hasn't. Non-alcoholic kombucha is just now reaching mainstream culture and access, meaning hard kombucha is somewhat off-beat and (ask anyone on Twitter) hipster.  

  1. They All Taste Different 

Beers taste different. Tequilas taste different. Hard kombuchas too. Some people experience an intense vinegar tang while others love the booming botanical flavor and aroma. It's safe to say if you enjoy the taste of kombucha you may be into a hard version. Try non-alcoholic kombucha first, test out different brands, and make sure you're getting all the health benefits associated with the drink.  

  1. Make Any Kombucha Hard By Mixing a Cocktail 

So you don't like hard kombucha, it tastes gross, you don't feel any benefits. Take regular kombucha and use it as a mixer for cocktails. You control the kombucha-to-booze ratio. We've heard of kombucha mimosas, kombucha gin and tonics, and kombucha margaritas.