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Kombucha bill seeks to cut federal alcohol taxes for trendy health drink

Happy Leaf Kombucha is served in a Denver kombucha taproom.
Aaron Ontiveroz | The Denver Post | Getty Images
Happy Leaf Kombucha is served in a Denver kombucha taproom.

Colorado lawmakers introduced a bill Wednesday that would update regulations on brewers of kombucha, a trendy fermented tea product.

The trace amounts of alcohol found in kombucha are a result of the fermentation process.

Sen. Cory Gardner, Rep. Jared Polis and Rep. Scott Tipton said in a statement that their bill would get rid of "unintended tax and regulatory burdens" by increasing the alcohol-by-volume limit to 1.25 percent, from its current 0.5 percent level.

Gardner said the bill is a "commonsense fix." Polis said the bill would help the kombucha industry grow by eliminating "unfair taxes for kombucha brewers, many of whom are small businesses."

Tipton agreed, saying "Too often, federal regulations get in the way of small business innovation."

Gardner, Polis and Tipton all represent Colorado. Polis is a Democrat, while Gardner and Tipton are Republicans.

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon is co-sponsoring the bill, titled the "Keeping Our Manufacturers from Being Unfairly Taxed while Championing Health Act" (KOMBUCHA), with Gardner in the Senate.