Did Kombucha Set Off Lindsay Lohan's Booze-Monitoring Ankle Bracelet? (And Does This Mean Kombucha Should Be Sold in Wine Shops?)

They say some varieties of kombucha, the fermented Chinese tea popular with health food nuts and starlets, could contain almost as much alcohol as weak beer. Given this information, Whole Foods, once one of the largest retailers of the stuff, pulled it from shelves. And now people like Lindsay Lohan can claim that their alcohol-monitoring bracelets weren't set off by violating the rules of their probation, but rather by drinking too much kombucha.

But is the booze claim baloney?

Mother Nature Network is reporting that a prospective kombucha producer from Maine is seeking a wine license to sell his drink. Chris Hallweaver, who was previously turned down for a license to sell his Booch brand as a food product, may be the reason for the sudden kombucha scrutiny. His application drew the attention of officials, who enlisted a University of Maine food science professor to test his brand and others, the most popular of which were found to be the booziest.

Coca-Cola, which owns a line of kombucha products, plans to pasteurize its drinks to get rid of the alcohol. But Hallweaver says the process would "kill many of the benefits." So, if LiLo wants to keep getting the good stuff, she might have to get herself a Maine hookup.

Have a restaurant tip or other food-related news? Send it to fork@villagevoice.com.


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