Is Spiked Kombucha the New Hard Seltzer?

Is Spiked Kombucha the New Hard Seltzer?

On the verge of selling his probiotic and kombucha brand KeVita to PepsiCo , entrepreneur Bill Moses was already considering what would come next. “That’s when I realized that kombucha was meant to be an alcoholic product,” Moses recalls. And after about 18 months, he is now the founder and CEO of Flying Embers, a range of organic hard kombucha with 4.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) that comes in flavors like Lemon Orchard and Ancient Berry. Flying Embers kicked off with sales in California but earlier this year expanded distribution to New York, New England, and Washington State. Flying Embers is the latest twist on the trend of taking popular nonalcoholic beverages and making them alcoholic. There have been “hard” variations of apple juice, iced tea, soda, and seltzer, and now kombucha is joining the group. U.S. retail sales for the hard kombucha category soared 126% to $11.6 million for the 52-week period ended Aug. 10, according to data tracked by Nielsen. “Hard kombucha has a lot of opportunity to grow,” says Caitlyn Battaglia, manager of the beverage alcohol practice at Nielsen. “Nonalcoholic kombucha caught the tailwind of the health and wellness trend that we’ve seen across consumer packaged […]

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