Honest Tea is pulling out of the kombucha business, according to a report in Beverage Business Insights. According to the report, the company felt that the regulatory environment for the kombucha category was still too unstable for further Honest Tea involvement.
Kombucha as a category is still being scrutinized by the U.S. Trade and Taxation Bureau following evidence this summer that unpasteurized kombuchas can ferment beyond legal limits for products sold as non-alcoholic beverages. As a result of that scrutiny, kombucha producers across the country were forced to pull their products out of Whole Foods stores while they searched for ways to produce products that would stay below the required 0.5 percent alcohol content required under federal law.
Honest Tea, which sourced its Honest Kombucha products from Colorado-based High Country Kombucha, had announced it was reintroducing TTB-compliant products in August.
High Country Kombucha would not comment on the news of Honest Tea’s withdrawal. The company is still waiting to hear from Honest Tea before making a statement, according to High Country President Shane Dickman.