Middlebury kombucha maker rebrands

MIDDLEBURY — Aqua ViTea, the Middlebury kombucha maker, this week announced that it was rebranding its bottles and cans to make it clear the level of alcohol its drinks contain.
Prioritizing alcohol transparency, the new Aqua ViTea labels will display a “Verified Alcohol Extracted” seal on the front panel in addition to several other key highlights, including USDA organic, non-GMO, natural probiotics, and lower sugar. The new labels will also more prominently highlight the brand’s signature hand-illustrated artwork.
The announcement came as at least one national publication reports that higher-alcohol “hard kombucha” is a popular hot-weather drink this summer.
“Alcohol awareness is a critical message for the safety and respect of kombucha drinkers everywhere, who deserve transparency,” said Jeff Weaber, founder of Aqua ViTea Kombucha. “As a live beverage, kombucha is always changing, making finding a long-term alcohol solution difficult. We experienced this firsthand years ago before making a commitment to purchase a Spinning Cone Column, which allows us to gently remove the alcohol from our kombucha at low temperatures, preserving the naturally occurring organisms. There is room in the market for non-alcoholic kombucha and hard kombucha, provided both product types are properly brewed, tested, labeled, and explained to consumers.”
The Kombucha Brewers International trade association recently released a code of practice to establish quality standards for the beverage, according to Food Navigator. The trade magazine reported that kombucha sales grew 60% in 2018 and 25% in 2019.
From 2018 to 2019, the category grew 25.4% after leaping 60.1% the year before, according to SPINS data cited by Food Navigator. Kombucha, however, has faced a tough road for the last few years with questions about its definition and alcohol content, resulting in a slew of lawsuits.
More information on Aqua ViTea is at

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