Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lindsay Lohan and Kombucha

Not the most popular of drinks when you think of hitting the bar, but it's making the press now that a celebrity is involved. Sometimes that fame factor really does help to bring things to attention.

I first encountered Kombucha, a fermented tea, when it was sent for analysis to the laboratory I was working at. We all hovered around the bottle, grimacing at the "floaties" and nearly gagging at the smell. But supposedly some people actually like to drink it...for some reason.

Kombucha is a tea made with bacteria that has a host of claimed health benefits and also a host of health hazards associated with it. I won't bore you with the details, mostly because I find the details disturbing. Here's the important stuff. It's fermenting. When you have fermentation you have alcohol.

You'll note that the tea is not pasteurized to preserve any apparent health benefit from the bacteria but because of that fact, the alcohol in the beverage continues to be produced. Although the tag lists less than 0.5% alcohol that is not always the case over time. It's been a difficult subject to deal with for liquor control authorities because of this changing alcohol concentration. If it's less than 0.5% at one point is that good enough even if it goes over later?

It's a difficult thing to decide, but I'm willing to cut Lindsay some slack on this one. Maybe anyone who can actually swallow the stuff deserves the alcohol that goes with it.

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