Is Hard Kombucha Gluten-Free?

Are you wondering, “is hard kombucha gluten-free?”, and if it’s good for your gut? Here comes the truth.

Is Hard Kombucha Gluten-Free
Hard kombucha is generally free from wheat and barley, making it a stellar choice for those with celiac disease

Kombucha is on the rise as one of the top-fermented drinks packed with tons of nutritional benefits. Many people are concerned if hard kombucha contains gluten, and if so, if they can drink it if they have gluten sensitivity, intolerance, or celiac disease?

Rest your worries; the good news is: that most hard kombucha brands are gluten-free – but make sure you read the label before purchasing. No one can guarantee that all hard kombucha brands out there are gluten-free. 

However, hard kombucha is generally free from wheat and barley, making it a stellar choice for those with celiac disease. Read on to learn more about the making of hard kombucha, its tasting profile, and the best brands to stock up on your fridge.

Hard Kombucha Vs. Regular Kombucha: The Differences

Hard and the regular kombucha have the same origin; they are made of yeast, bacteria, sugar, and tea leaves. However, the main differences that set hard kombucha apart from the “soft” version come from the higher sugar content, type of yeast, and fermentation process.

Hard kombucha needs to go through a few more rounds of fermentation compared to two rounds of that from regular kombucha. During the later rounds, they add more yeast and sugar. And therefore, when more sugar is added, it converts into a higher content of alcohol (4.5 to 7%) which we measure by ABV or volume.

There are some exceptions to this; sugar-free hard kombucha does exist. Some of the most popular brands contain little to no sugar as they use organic cane sugar, honey, or even champagne yeast to trigger the naturally occurring alcohol and a satisfying botanical buzz.

If you like kombucha, you might also be interested in our explainer on fermented tea.

Can Hard Kombucha Make You Drunk?

Unlike regular kombucha, hard kombucha is likely to knock you off if you’re unfamiliar with alcohol, especially if you invest in something with high alcohol content. Read the labels before purchasing.

You might also be interested in learning is coffee gluten-free.

Can We Replace Beer With Hard Kombucha?

happy friends having a cheers holding beer
Hard kombucha is not a type of beer, where it goes through a different fermenting process

Hard kombucha is a great choice if you’re looking for a healthier alternative to beer. It spices you up with various flavors and makes a stellar choice if you’re sensitive to gluten.

Hard kombucha is not a type of beer. Hard kombucha goes through a different fermenting process. Plus, it’s made of tea leaves, while beer is made from wheat.

Even though hard kombucha has a reminiscent beer flavor, you can’t expect the same taste.

Check out our explainer on does hard kombucha expire.

What Does Hard Kombucha Taste Like?

Hard kombucha may not be very forgiving for those unfamiliar with its taste. If you haven’t tried kombucha before, stick to regular kombucha before introducing your palate to something on the extreme side.

The hard version is a strong reminiscence of vinegar. So be prepared for a dominant tart note to kick in your palate. However, the good news is that most commercial kombucha brands have gamed it up with adjunct ingredients that weaken the initial sourness. 

So if you’re on the way out looking for the best hard kombucha flavor, I recommend going for blood orange, lemon, grapefruit, hibiscus, or rose.

Is Hard Kombucha Good For Your Stomach?

four bottles of hard kombucha
Hard kombucha is not the best option to feed your gut in the same way that the nonalcoholic version does

Hard kombucha is a much better option than soda or cocktails. It’s gluten-free and lower in carbohydrates, sugar, and calories per serving. Plus, hard kombucha is packed with vitamins and antioxidants

However, I wouldn’t inflate hard kombucha’s effects with health benefits that are not scientifically proven. Hard kombucha is not the best option to feed your gut in the same way that the nonalcoholic version does. The amount of probiotics in hard kombucha has nothing to compare to that in regular kombucha because the extra alcohol is likely to kill a decent amount of helpful bacteria from the fermentation.

3 Best Hard Kombucha Brands

Flying Embers

Flying Embers was the first brand to introduce me to the kombucha scene, and I’ve got hooked ever since. Before Flying Embers, I had no idea what Orange Passion Mimosa was. And let me tell you: it is not only delicious but also sugar-free, so you don’t have to worry about your strict diet. 

Flying Embers introduce a range of ABV you can choose from, which is between 4.5% to 7%.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.


Boochcraft is one of the top-rated hard kombucha brands using organic, all-natural ingredients. The brand goes beyond just excellent quality by committing to its return to the planet and humans through many sustainability projects. My favorite flavor from Boochcraft is grapefruit hibiscus which lends a dominant note of tart and sour to the palate.

Luna Bay Booch

Luna Bay Booch is one of my top recommendations for hard kombucha. Luna Bay Booch does an excellent job in their mix-and-match flavoring game. You’ll be spoiled with choices from Hibiscus Lavender to Palo Santo Blueberry, from Lychee Lime to Prickly Pear Punch. 

Even though Luna Bay Booch contains about five grams of sugar or less, it shouldn’t deter you from taking the first sips.


  • Oanh Nguyen

    Born and raised by a traditional mama-barista, Oanh is a typical Viet coffee aficionado who would spend her entire precious Sunday showing you how to categorize coffee beans just by the looks and smells. She enjoys writing about everything drinks-related while sipping her favorite rosebud tea. Find Oanh on LinkedIn.