Sainsbury’s experiment with alcoholic Kombucha is an attempt to bring natural, healthy drinks to the alcoholic sector, but the divisive taste of Kombucha seems to likely to ensure the experiment falls flat.

‘Bootleg Booch’, an alcoholic Kombucha, has just hit the shelves in Sainsbury’s as part of their futures Initiative scheme. The health aura surrounding Kombucha means the product aims to appeal to consumers who look to drink socially but are also aware of their health by, for instance, cutting back on fat and sugar.

In the UK in 2018, 34% of surveyed residents said they were influenced by the impact of health and wellbeing when buying alcoholic beverages.

Bootleg Booch is positioned as low sugar, organic and fermented, which will sit well with the 69% of global consumers who GlobalData found associate “natural” with healthy eating and drinking.

Consumers are also looking to cut back on potentially problematic ingredients like fat and sugar, with the alcohol industry experiencing this to some degree.

The rise of Kombucha has been no secret in the drinks industry, the fermented tea product appealing to those seeking a healthier soft drink.

Kombucha sales have grown on a huge scale. GlobalData’s market analysis shows a  155% increase in the last five years, and this rise is significantly attributed to rising health-consciousness among consumers. Kombucha in its natural state is slightly alcoholic, the longer it is left to ferment, the more alcoholic it becomes.

What hasn’t been established, however, is whether or not Kombucha is actually good for you. The vinegary taste of Kombucha may also be a barrier to its overall success.

Consumers are looking for a tasty indulgence when they are indulging in alcohol and the health-conscious are likely to look for lower calorie mixers with a similar taste such as Diet Coke, slimline tonic or juice, lower-calorie alternatives to their usual beer or wine, or simply cut back on their drinking.

Bootleg Booch has introduced three flavours; ginger and turmeric, passion fruit and pink lady apple in order to appeal to experimental drinkers. These flavours however are also an acquired taste, and though healthier alcoholic drinks may appeal to consumers, taste will always win the day.

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