Home brewers like Richard Radcliff Trice are celebrating the fact that the government seems keen to help them, especially the kombucha industry, flourish. The US Senate has reintroduced a bill called the KOMBUCHA Act, which levels the playing field in tax regulations for the beverage industry.
What is this bill and why are brewers excited for it to become law?
According to the press release from the office of Congressman Earl Blumenauer (3rd District, Oregon), the Keeping our Manufacturers from Being Unfairly Taxed while Championing Health Act (KOMBUCHA) hopes to clearly define kombucha as non-alcoholic, and remove unintended tax-related regulations. Blumenauer said, “This legislation is a common-sense solution that would lift unnecessary tax burdens and instead support emerging small businesses in Oregon and across the country.”
If the bill is passed, Richard Radcliff Trice and other home brewers can mix and process all the booch they want, and even expand commercially. The KOMBUCHA Act will increase the alcohol by volume (ABV) limit for kombucha. This limit is one of the factors why booch, even with trace amounts of alcohol, is being taxed. Under the present – some say antiquated – laws, the ABV limit for alcoholic beverage is 0.5 percent. Kombuchas, especially those that are improperly stored, continue to ferment and increase the ABV content within the 0.3 to 1.0 percent. This means that kombuchas are usually taxed.
In the KOMBUCHA Act, the ABV limit is increased to 1.25 percent. This means that most kombuchas, even those that continue to ferment, will still be under the limit and will be tax-exempt.
If this bill will be passed, Richard Radcliff Trice and other brewers are expecting that the kombucha will become a major player in the beverage industry. To date, the niche is already posting $800 million in revenues, and is expected to be a $1.2-billion industry by 2020.