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Kombucha has become an extremely popular beverage. Owing to the many health benefits it boasts, more and more people are trying it out. This means an increased demand for the product. So if you are wondering how to dive into this line of business, this article has you covered!
Is Kombucha Legal to Sell
The matter of Kombucha’s legality became a major bone of contention across the country.
First of all, Kombucha is a raw and fermented drink that is made with sugar, tea, yeast, and bacteria. Now we all know one other product that is made in this manner; alcohol!
Kombucha can have up to 3% of alcohol by volume (ABV). This is something that most consumers are unaware of. The matter of the legality of selling Kombucha is subject to interpretation.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (shortened TTB) regulates and collects taxes on trade and imports on alcohol, tobacco, as well as other things. It enforces regulations on these commodities and is responsible for terming these commodities as legal or illegal.
The bureau requires that all drinks that are above 0.5% ABV be labeled accordingly as such. So if Kombucha falls in this category, then it is required to be classified as an alcoholic beverage. A retailer who sells it is thus subject to federal excise tax which must be paid. The TTB also requires a Kombucha brewer to have a brewer’s notice. The packaging on the Kombucha must also have a label with a Government Warning statement. A TTB formula approval is also required.
If the Kombucha brewed by a seller falls below the ABV limit, then it’s okay to sell the beverage. If a seller brews Kombucha that exceeds the ABV limit but complies with the TTB’s regulations, then it’s quite legal to sell Kombucha.
It’s also legal to sell Kombucha if one meets Food and Safety Regulations that ensure consumers are not poisoned.
How to Sell Kombucha at Farmers Market
To sell Kombucha at a farmers market, you require a couple of things. One of these is a food producer’s license from the Department of Agriculture. You’ll have to go through the health departments of your city, county, and state. This is because your commercial brewing kitchen needs to be certified as safe and sanitary. You should get the appropriate permits from the necessary authorities.
You also need to decide how you want to sell your Kombucha. Be it from bottles, growlers, or keg containers. Some sort of insurance is also essential.
Determine the flavors you want to sell. Have gas chromatography done on all batches you produce and then consider the pricing as well as your competition.
Once you’ve figured it all out it’s time to sell at your local farmers market.
Is It Worth to Sell Kombucha at Farmers Market
To answer the question from a commercial point of view, not really. Not unless you are an experienced entrepreneur with a lot of patience and capital to spend. Here’s why.
Like we’ve already discussed earlier in this article, there are a lot of regulations surrounding the production, sale, and distribution of Kombucha. The TTB requires sellers to have a permit for Kombucha that exceeds .5% ABV. Even when the final product falls below this value, the TTB still requires sellers to have a permit.
It’s a little bit tricky to measure the ABV of Kombucha. It’s even harder to brew Kombucha that falls below the ABV limit. The only way for measuring the ABV of Kombucha is to pay for gas chromatography or mass spectrometry in a lab. This costs a lot of money.
Sellers are also required to pay excise taxes for the products they produce. These are relatively high considering that some Kombucha sellers are small scale.
So unless one has the capital required to start this business and the patience to follow regulations, selling Kombucha isn’t that worth it.
Can You Make a Living Selling Kombucha at Farmers Markets?
Kombucha is inexpensive to make and sell. With the right amount of capital, it’s possible to make a substantial income by selling Kombucha.
The good thing about this business is that as your experience grows and you learn the tricks of the trade, you can expand from farmers’ markets to retail stores and major distributors. The most important factor to invest in when selling Kombucha in farmers’ markets is credibility. Building the credibility of your product from the start goes a long way in establishing a base of loyal customers.
Some individuals have been known to make six-figure revenues from selling Kombucha. Take an example of Health-Ade which started with just $600 selling in farmers’ markets. The owners operated from their apartment and after a while things got so crazy they had to find more space.
If one has the necessary capital and equipment, and is patient enough to follow the TTB regulations, selling Kombucha at farmers markets can be a very profitable business. The beverage is usually in high demand and therefore attracts dozens of customers.
How Do You Make Commercial Kombucha?
The first step is to decide whether you’ll sell Kombucha Tea or Beer. Kombucha tea has an ABV of below .5% while that of beer is higher. The equipment you require to make these is about the same. The paperwork and fees are very different. Also, decide on how many bottles you’d like to sell.
Some of the ingredients you’ll require are Tea, Water, Sugar, and SCOBY.
Step 1: Boil water and add tea bags. Let them seep for a few minutes, remove them, and add sugar. Let the sweet tea cool because SCOBY is sensitive to high temperatures. Add the starter tea.
Step 2: Add the SCOBY. It’s the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast + starter tea. It’s what helps your kombucha ferment. Cover the jars with a tight weave cloth after adding SCOBY.
Step 3: Fermentation. Find an undisturbed spot and place your jars away from direct sunlight. The optimal temperature should be maintained at 24-29 degrees. Leave your jars for 5 days or more. Once you’re satisfied with the flavor, your Kombucha is ready for sale!
Always be careful with how you brew your Kombucha for sale in farmers’ markets. Follow the regulations and you’ll be safe to operate!