Consumers Allege Kombucha Contains High Alcohol Levels
Three consumers have filed a putative class action alleging Kombucha 221 B.C. sells kombucha that contains “more than twice the allowed alcohol” for a nonalcohol beverage. Brothers v. Mad at S.A.D. LLC, No. 21-60542 (S.D. Fla., filed March 9, 2021). The plaintiffs, who allege they purchased the kombucha for consumption at work, argue that the kombucha beverages “are sold to unsuspecting children, pregnant women, persons suffering with alcohol dependence issues, and a host of other people for whom alcoholic consumption may pose a grave and immediate safety risk.” The complaint asserts that the nature of kombucha allows the product to continue fermenting, growing to a higher percentage of alcohol by volume by the time the product is consumed.
“While Plaintiffs do not know whether BC Kombucha is below 0.5 alcohol by volume at the moment it leaves Defendant’s distribution center, what is clear is that the beverages are significantly above the 0.5 threshold at the time of sale and consumption,” the plaintiffs argue. “Under federal law, Defendant cannot turn a blind eye to what happens to BC Kombucha products after they leave Defendant’s facilities, and, considering that continued fermentation and high alcohol content is an industry-wide problem, Plaintiffs allege on information and belief that Defendant knowingly and willfully distribute BC Kombucha in violation of Federal and State laws that require such beverages to contain the government warning.” The plaintiffs allege fraud, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment and violations of state consumer-protection statutes.