The Kombucha Party

Oregon lawmakers introduce bill targeting taxes on kombucha

Photo by Athena Delene

Oregon lawmakers pushed their acronym skills to the max when reintroducing legislation that would update federal alcohol taxes on kombucha companies in Oregon and throughout the U.S.

The KOMBUCHA Act (which stands for Keeping Our Manufacturers from Being Unfairly Taxed while Championing Health Act) would eliminate taxes and regulations imposed on the fermented tea drink by increasing the applicable alcohol-by-volume limit from .5 percent to 1.25 percent.

“Kombucha’s growth in Oregon generates jobs and small business growth throughout our state while creating fans everywhere of this tasty beverage,” Sen. Ron Wyden said in a statement. “Modernizing outdated taxes and regulations on kombucha is a must so the industry can continue to build on its achievements.”

The bill brought together Wyden and Reps. Greg Walden and Earl Blumenauer.

“Despite having more in common with yogurt than wine or beer, kombucha is subject to a costly federal excise tax as if it were an alcoholic beverage,” Walden said in a statement. “This bill would help these small businesses keep more of their hard-earned money to reinvest in their businesses and create jobs in our communities.”

The statement from Wyden’s office added that you’d have to drink 10 bottles of kombucha for it to equal one beer.

Wyden introduced a similar bill in 2017, but it only went to the Committee on Finance.

Rep. Peter DeFazio has asked to be included as a co-sponsor to the KOMBUCHA Act, according to a spokesperson.

A recent report by market research publisher QY Research says the U.S. kombucha market is valued at $800 million and is expected to grow to $5.7 billion by 2025.

UPDATED: 9:50 am Friday, March 29