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Best Hard Kombuchas

Kombucha went from being an underappreciated fermented tea, to a staple of grocery stores and restaurants all over the place.

Fizzy, sweet, and tangy, this is a completely unique drink that has amassed a huge following. Now, hard kombucha is hoping to continue the trend.

Hard kombucha is typically enjoyed as an alternative to beer, with the low-sugar and low-carb drink offering a tangy take on the bar staple.

But as regular kombucha drinkers know, it can be tricky to find that ‘booch balance of sweet and sharp.

If you want the perfect summer drink, check out this list of the best hard kombucha brands around. From the high ABV of Dr Hops, to the mixing ease of Flying Embers, these are hard beverages that are easy drinking.

Say hello to your new warm day favorite (sorry, beer!).

The 5 Best Hard Kombuchas

Boochcraft Hard Kombucha

Boochcraft is an easy drinking hard kombucha that many ‘booch-beginners will appreciate.

The organic certified company uses fresh fruits to create a hard kombucha that’s full of real flavors. Refreshing on a warm day, this is a drink to be enjoyed at barbecues and picnics.

But be careful when sampling a Boochcraft Hard Kombucha! It’s a surprising 7%, which is on the high end for a hard ‘booch, and it really doesn’t taste much like alcohol.

It’s such an easier drinker, thanks to that fresh flavoring, that you don’t always realize how much you’ve had.

Boochcraft have some impressive flavors, with a core range featuring Apple Jasmine, Ginger Lime, and Orange Pomegranate.

Our personal favorite is the Grapefruit Hibiscus, which blends floral flavors with citrus tang, for a sharp summer drink.

Keep an eye out as well for the Boochcraft seasonal flavors, and their heritage range.
Cheerful flavorings are matched by cheerful packaging, which recalls craft beers.

Boozy and bold, Boochcraft Hard Kombucha is for those long afternoons that turn into longer evenings.,


  • Real fruit base provides a freshness of flavor, and a lack of artificial sweetness.
  • Sustainability is at the heart of Boochcraft, with composting and water recapture an important part of the brewing process.
  • A good flavor range, with room for growth.


  • Limited edition flavors can be impossible to get your hands on.

Also available on Drizly

JuneShine Hard Kombucha

JuneShine is a Jun kombucha, made using green tea and honey, instead of the traditional black tea and sugar.

This makes it a little lighter, a little smoother, and lacking some of the bite of regular kombucha. JuneShine is a smooth drinking one, ideal as a lunchtime tipple.

The flavors of JuneShine are fun and fresh, using organic ingredients to create the bright tastes. The core range of fruit flavors are delicious, but the real standouts are the cocktail options.

Midnight Painkiller is a bold twist on the traditional tiki cocktail the Painkiller, featuring flavors of pineapple, coconut, and orange, with a touch of activated charcoal for a dark finish.

Grapefruit Paloma (see also: The 6 Best Tequilas For Palomas)is another good choice for those who like their cocktails with bite.

It’s also worth mentioning that the can designs for JuneShine are Instagram-perfect, and ready to freshen up your feed.

At 6%, there’s a decent kick to JuneShine, without it being too much. As the name would suggest, this is a sunny, funny, hard kombucha.


  • Unusual cocktail flavorings set JuneShine apart.
  • Organic ingredients are used to create JuneShine, including the smooth Jun kombucha that forms the base.
  • 100% carbon-neutral.


  • Lacks the tang of traditional kombucha.

Also available on on Drizly

Flying Embers Hard Kombucha

No sugar and no carbs make the Flying Embers hard kombucha a healthier choice for a summer evening. Brewed with an adaptogen root blend, the Flying Embers Hard Kombucha is a bubbly and boozy treat.

Without the sugar and carbs, the Flying Embers can be a little dry for some tastes. But the flavors are still powerful, and the juicy freshness creates an interesting contrast to the texture.

Flavors like Grapefruit, Watermelon, and Ginger form the core of the Flying Embers range. The variety is simple, but this actually works in Flying Embers favor.

This is an option that can be used to mix up a fabulous cocktail (especially alongside the Flying Embers hard seltzer range).

Flying Embers is a brand that almost didn’t exist, after California wildfires nearly destroyed the growing business.

Now, the brand works to support efforts to fight wildfires, help those affected, and prevent future disasters. All of which makes the sweet ‘booch that little bit sweeter!


  • Variable ABV levels, from 4.5% to 9%.
  • Simple flavors make fantastic cocktail bases, and can be enjoyed on their own.
  • Supports efforts to rewild, respond to, and recover areas that suffer from wildfires.


  • No sugar and no carbs can make the kombucha a little dry, although the bubble and fruit flavors help with balance.

Also available on Drizly

Dr Hops Real Hard Kombucha

Hard Kombucha is often enjoyed instead of beer, but with Dr Hops you have a stand in for your favorite mixed drinks, and even a glass of wine.

With drinks that have an ABV of up to 11%, this is a drink packed full of extra oomph.

If you’re making the switch from ale to ‘booch, then the Dr Hops Real Hard Kombucha IPA is the perfect drink to ease the transition.

Featuring tart and tropical citrus, with a dry and hoppy finish, the taste blends kombucha and IPA in the most delicious way.

Despite the high alcohol content, Dr Hops doesn’t taste like a strong drink. We recommend taking it slow, or you might be caught short by the 10% of the easy drinking Apple Pie variety.

Created using organic and fair trade ingredients, Dr Hops has a natural freshness with the tang of traditional ‘booch.


  • A high-alcohol brand, with options between 8% and 11%.
  • IPA alternative, for beer drinkers looking to make the switch.
  • No extracts, flavorings, or pasteurized purées. A fresh and bold taste created by natural ingredients.


  • Limited edition flavorings don’t always stick around for long, and can be difficult to find.

Strainge Beast Hard Kombucha

The exclusive SCOBY culture that’s used to ignite the fermentation process is vital for providing Strainge Beast Hard Kombucha the tart flavoring that characterizes the brand.

Made by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, this is a sour hard kombucha with a hoppy and drinkable finish.

Fresh and organic ingredients, alongside that exclusive SCOBY culture, give Strainge Beast Hard Kombucha a bold and exciting range of flavors.

Passion fruit, Hops, and Blood Orange is a 7% hard kombucha that eases the transition from ale to kombucha. Or try the Watermelon, Sea Salt, Lime, and Mint.

At 4% ABV, and only 100 calories per can, it’s low-alcohol, low-calorie, and big-flavor.

There’s a sparkle to Strainge Beast, with effervescent bubbles playing alongside the layered flavorings. Enjoy icy cold on a hot day, because it’s a real thirst quencher.

For more on flavor options, check out our in-depth Strainge Beast Hard Kombucha Review next!


  • The variety of 4% and 7% ABV means Strainge Beast has a hard kombucha that caters to your choices.
  • An exclusive SCOBY culture creates a tang that’s unique to Strainge Beast.
  • Made using natural and organic ingredients.


The low calorie range is small, and it would be good to see more flavor options at under 100 calories.

Buyer’s Guide

Kombucha lovers will know that not all ‘booches are made equal.

It’s the same when you come to dip your taste buds into the world of hard kombucha. Some are good, some are terrible, and some just aren’t for everyone.

If you want to try hard kombucha, this buyer’s guide is here to help. We have all the things you need to look for so you can find the perfect choice to accompany your boozy lunches, evening celebrations, and nighttime parties.


Hard kombucha comes in a large variety of flavors, although tangy fruits are the most popular. These work well with the drink’s natural sharpness, and the sweetness adds balance.

Flavors for hard kombucha range from the simple to the complex, using fruits and herbs to create a vast range. You’re likely to find something to suit your unique tastes.

And if you’re looking to switch from beer to hard kombucha, there are several tangy options for you to enjoy. For cocktail lovers, there are some fruity and unusual mixes that might catch your interest.

Keep an eye out for variety packs, which allow you to try the best the brand has to offer.
Be aware that many brands pride themselves on natural ingredients.

So limited edition brews tend to be very limited edition. Look out for seasonal options, but try not to fall in love. They’re likely to be gone before you know it.

Alcohol Level

The alcohol level of hard kombucha varies significantly, with everything from 4% to 11% readily available.

Always make sure to check the label, or you might find your lunchtime tipple knocks you out for the afternoon.

With this variety, it’s easy to find an option that suits your needs. While many brands stick to a single percentage, others have a range available.

If you’re looking for a beer replacement, a 5% or 6% hard kombucha works well. But if you prefer your drinks a little stronger, 10% and 11% hard kombucha is available.

Because of the sweet flavorings, and the natural zing of kombucha, you can barely taste the alcohol levels.

And because of the refreshing finish, it’s easy to drink more than you intended to. Stay aware of the ABV when purchasing, and drink carefully.


Organic and natural ingredients are regularly used to brew kombucha, giving that bold and fresh flavor we all love.

Brands tend to be upfront about what’s used in the brew, including the SCOBY used to power the fermentation process.

If organic is important to you, look for USDA certification.

Organic and seasonal produce does have its downside — freshly brewed hard kombucha won’t always be available in your favorite flavor.

But don’t worry, when the season comes back, you should be able to get your favorite mix again.

Health Benefits

Kombucha is often touted as a healthy alternative to soft drinks, thanks to the low sugar and carb content, and the fermentation process.

The same is true for hard kombucha, although the extra alcohol does negate these benefits slightly.

Before you buy your hard kombucha as a healthy substitute, double check exactly what the brands are offering. Although sugar is an essential part of the fermentation process, some brands have more sugar than others.

Check the sugar per serving, if you’re trying to cut down.

Jun Or Traditional Kombucha?

Traditional kombucha is typically brewed using black tea and refined sugar. Jun kombucha, however, uses a base of green tea and honey.

This tends to give it a lighter and smoother finish, lacking some of the bite common in the regular iteration.

Because it’s made with honey, it isn’t suitable for all diets (strict vegans should avoid Jun based kombucha).

If you’ve never drank kombucha before, Jun based hard kombucha is often a good choice to start with, because it’s light.


Hard kombucha tends to be on a similar price level to craft beer, but they aren’t always a budget friendly choice. It tends to work out best to buy larger packs, rather than single cans.

If you’re looking to cut costs, variety packs can be a good way to sample several flavors at a lower price. We think this drink is delicious, but it isn’t for everyone.

First-time ‘booch drinkers may prefer to sample it, before committing to a pack of 12.

If you have a taste for this drink, then hard kombucha is a comparable price to the traditional version. It’s especially affordable in relation to mixed drinks and wine.

Although kombucha is typically a higher price than standard soft drinks, the hard variety tends to be in line with the pricing of craft beers.


No one should buy a drink based exclusively on the bottle design, but it would be impossible not to mention the attractive packaging many hard kombucha brands use.

Artistic designs elevate the standard drink’s can into a work of art. Your Instagram will surely benefit from a splash!

Never pick a brand based exclusively on the can design, but if you’re struggling to choose, there’s no harm in admiring the packaging. After all, a lot of hard work goes into it.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Is Hard Kombucha Made?

Kombucha is a form of fermented tea. Black or green tea leaves (or a combination of the two), are brewed in sugar water. Then a SCOBY is added.

A SCOBY, which stands for symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, initiates the fermentation process. The end result is a sweet and fizzy drink, with a unique flavor and texture.

The hard version is made using regular kombucha, which then undergoes a second fermentation using yeast and sugar. This creates a higher alcohol content.

Is Kombucha Naturally Alcoholic?

The fermentation process used to create kombucha breaks sugar into carbon dioxide and alcohol. Because of this, all kombucha does contain alcohol.

However, as they typically contain less than 0.5% ABV they can be labelled non-alcoholic.

It’s the second fermentation process that gives hard kombucha the higher alcohol content. Without this, and the addition of yeast, kombucha is very low in alcohol.

Is Hard Kombucha Healthier Than Beer?

A low-sugar and low-carb count can make kombucha a healthier alternative to beer, wine, and other mixed drinks. However, the calorie and sugar levels do vary between brands, so make sure to check what you’re getting.

For those suffering from a gluten allergy or celiac disease, hard kombucha does make a healthy alternative to beer. It is typically gluten-free, so it is safe to drink.

Does Hard Kombucha Taste Like Regular Kombucha?

Hard kombucha has the fizzy and tangy taste that characterizes kombucha, with a unique zing that makes the drink so divisive.

If you enjoy regular kombucha, then you’re likely to enjoy the hard version. But if you aren’t a ‘booch fan, the hard stuff is unlikely to win you over.

How Do You Store Hard Kombucha?

Hard kombucha typically needs to be refrigerated, and it’s best served cold. Some brands will be safe to keep at room temperature, but others need refrigeration.

Make sure to check, as storage recommendations vary between brands. Overall, refrigeration is the best way to ensure your drink stays fresh and full of flavor.

What Is The Best Hard Kombucha?

Brands such as Boochcraft and Strainge Beast make exciting hard kombucha with a decent range of flavors and unique tastes.

If you prefer the lighter taste or a Jun kombucha, JuneShine has a smooth finish and some fun cocktail mixes.

Flying Embers kombucha is perfect if you enjoy a mixed drink, and Dr Hops make hard kombucha with a high ABV and a punch of flavor.