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The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

The Student News Site of Bethel University

The Clarion

The big deal with kombucha

A Royal Grounds employee shows off a bottle of Kombucha. Royal Grounds began selling Kombucha to cater to the trends students are interested in. | Photo by Maddie Christy

Kombucha tea contains a small percentage of alcohol, but can you get in trouble for drinking it?

By Caleb Wells

Much like pumpkin spice, chai tea and peppermint mochas, Bethel University has not been able to escape the grasp of kombucha tea’s trend-setting nature. The tea’s glass bottles with bright labels fill water bottle holders in student’s backpacks all across campus.

However, there is something about kombucha tea that may surprise its average consumer. Kombucha tea can contain up to .5 percent alcohol. Yes, alcohol. The average beer contains about 4 to 6 percent alcohol by volume. But still, this is Bethel, and this is alcohol.

“I love kombucha,” said Abby Trebilco, a junior social work major. “It tastes so good.”

Bob Schuchardt, the general manager of Sodexo at Bethel (Sodexo Bob), says students should have to opportunity to buy things from Royal Grounds that are popular. Kombucha is one of those items.

“We try to bring in items that will be hot with students so they can have the best experience possible,” Schuchardt said.

Kombucha contains probiotics which are “good bacteria” that help fight off diseases. Kombucha contains a culture of bacteria and yeast within its probiotics. This not only causes the tea to have a taste that closely resembles vinegar, but it also causes the drink to become fermented and therefore alcoholic.

We do not allow non-alcoholic beer, primarily because it can be confusing on what is alcoholic beer and non-alcoholic beer.

Non-alcoholic beer contains the same amount of alcohol as kombucha tea does, .5 percent. However, non-alcoholic beer is not permitted on campus, according to Jim Benjamin, the associate dean for residence life.

“Our policy has been on the campus, whether in the B.C. or in the residence halls. We do not allow non-alcoholic beer,” Benjamin said, “primarily because it can be confusing on what is alcoholic beer and non-alcoholic beer.”

Benjamin used the example of vaping to further explain why non-alcoholic beer is not permitted on campus.  

“We have a tobacco policy, but not all vaping actually involves tobacco,” said Benjamin, “So a student could choose to vape, but we ask that they don’t do that on the campus for the very same reasons. It’s hard to distinguish what is what.”

Luckily for kombucha lovers, Benjamin clearly stated there is no problem with kombucha.

“There is no issue with that being sold at Royal Grounds and we wouldn’t have an issue with students drinking kombucha,” he said.


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