Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau

Tea Party’s Over

By the time this article hits the streets, there likely won’t be a place in the valley to buy a bottle of kombucha tea. Nob Hill on Santa Teresa Boulevard had a few last Friday; Cosentino’s Market on Bascom Avenue had a couple more. Even over the hill in Santa Cruz, grocers expected to run out by the end of the weekend.

It started quietly, about two weeks ago. First, megastore Whole Foods announced it would join roughly a dozen suppliers in stopping sales of all unpasteurized kombucha tea products. The issue: concerns that the fizzy, fermented elixirs may contain more alcohol than the “trace amounts” listed on the label.