Kombucha Tax Relief Proposed

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland) and Greg Walden (R-Hood River) have proposed a bill to end alcohol taxes on kombucha.

The bill is titled the Keeping our Manufacturers from Being Unfairly Taxed while Championing Health Act, or KOMBUCHA. Wyden also introduced the same act two years ago, but it never came to a vote.

Kombucha, a fermented tea product, and is currently taxed like an alcoholic beverage because of trace amounts of alcohol – around 0.5 percent by volume. Wyden, Walden and Blumenauer maintain the amount is negligible, and that eliminating the tax would allow the market to grow

“Kombucha is one the fastest growing beverage industries in the world, with an expected economic impact of $1.2 billion by 2020,” Blumenauer says in a statement. “This legislation is a common sense solution that would lift unnecessary tax burdens and instead support emerging small businesses in Oregon and across the country.”

If passed, the kombucha act would increase the allowable amount of alcohol present in the drink from 0.5 percent to 1.25 percent by-volume.

Walden issued a statement saying, “I’ve met with kombucha manufacturers in Oregon who have told me how this outdated tax is holding back their industry,” he says. “This bill will help these small businesses keep more of their hard earned money to reinvest in their businesses and create jobs in our communities.”