Kombucha Kamp Blog

GT Dave – Exclusive Interview

UPDATE! GTs Original & “Enlightened” Kombucha On The Way – Will Stay Raw and “True To Ourselves”
****UPDATE – 9/13/10****
Founder of GT's Kombucha, GT Dave.
GT Kombucha fans have reason to celebrate! I just got off the phone with GT Dave and he told me he has already re-started production of his Organic Raw Kombucha & Synergy Raw Kombucha lines – aka “AP5.”  The only change to the original line of products will be the label.  “We want the consumer to know that there is nothing wrong with Kombucha in the original formulation.”
He also let slip the name of his new FDA compliant line, previously known as BP5: “GT’s Enlightened Kombucha!” GT says it will be on shelves in 30 days. The new Enlightened line will be “a cousin” to the original line in that the changes will be subtle; for instance, it will have a shorter shelf life. “Rather than subjecting the Kombucha to a process that will change its essence and make a ‘carbonated tea’… we are tightening the tolerances in the current process,” says GT.  This is to ensure that the product stays within the FDA mandated limit (.5% alcohol by volume). There will be much tighter controls in place to prevent “temperature abuse.” GT also weighed in on his view of the nature of Kombucha, specifically the idea of subjecting Kombucha to filtering or some type of refinement.   “You can isolate and extract the nutrients out of broccoli and put it in a pill, but it will not assimilate the same in the body nearly a well as eating the whole broccoli.  The same is true with Kombucha.”
(GT Kombucha Fans listen up!  We’ve got an exclusive podcast with GT Dave coming up right here at Kombucha Kamp.  That’s right, hear GT Dave speak about the recall, his decision to stick to his raw Kombucha guns, and what he thinks the future holds for Kombucha.  Subscribe to Kombucha Kamp to hear it first.)


(Original Post – 9.3.10)
GT Dave’s Exclusive Interview with Kombucha Kamp
In an exclusive interview, GT Dave of GT’s Kombucha told Kombucha Kamp this afternoon that he is staying true to his vision of Kombucha by bringing back his lines of Organic Raw Kombucha and Synergy Organic and Raw beverages to stores in their original, unpasteurized, raw and “full-strength” formulation!
GT will not change his recipe or process. His Kombucha will be re-introduced under code name “AP5” (for “above .5 percent alcohol”), but only available for purchase by those 21 and over. Dave expects all 17 flavors will be available in his original formulation.
“We’re very proud. We always want to remain true to ourselves…and give our fans what they expect and trust and love. That’s why we’re not going to be changing our formula,” said GT via cell.
Three bottles of GT's Synergy Raw Kombucha
Much of the packaging will also remain the same. “The heart and soul of the label will be maintained. There will be a couple of little tweaks…the government warning and then we will be speaking to our fans about what we are doing and why. (Our Kombucha) won’t contain more alcohol; just the same great original formulations.” In many cases, where you can buy GT’s Kombucha won’t change.
Dave described the shelf space issue as a “state-by-state, sometimes county-by-county situation depending on the regulations for that area will dictate how it is sold,” noting that in states like California, there will be no change except being ID’d for purchase, while in a more conservative state like Utah, anything above .5% alcohol is available only in state run liquor stores. “It will take us some time to wrap our arms around the logistics” of the more restrictive states, said Dave.
He said his officially approved AP5 should be on shelves within “30-45 days. The ball is not in our court. We have to make sure all of the “i”s are dotted and the “t”s are crossed. Once that’s done, then we can move forward.” GT says his famous beautiful labels will remain mostly unchanged, though he will have to include a new government warning and has made a couple of small tweaks that fans will appreciate. The packaging will not be redesigned to appeal to the alcohol market.
The Kombucha recall has lead to the need for over 21 Kombucha to satisfy hardcore fans.
Source: Good
However, GT also let me know that he’s working on a top secret process to create a brand new Kombucha line known as BP5 (this time “below .5 percent alcohol”), which could be made available wherever AP5 was problematic. GT insisted the new line will be “still authentic, still raw” but categorized it as more of an “everyday, everywhere kombucha,” conceding the new line would have “more of a beverage personality with a lighter taste,” but insisting that taste would be king.
“We’re going back to the drawing board and creating the product from scratch — that’s gonna take time – we’re trying to understand nature and harness the beauty and the potency (of Kombucha) and still make it less likely to go above .5%.” “The whole .5% alcohol threshold is so arbitrary. It’s acting like .4% is not going to do anything but .6% is gonna get you wasted. It’s not. A lot of these laws and regulations were created in the 1920’s. You can get more alcohol in your system from mouthwash, cough syrup, vanilla extract, cooking wine, an herbal tincture or a dozen other products… It’s a little distorted.”
Dave said he expects AP5 and BP5 to offer the same products, but until formulation is complete, he simply won’t know for sure. “We want the lines to complement each other. We don’t want to suggest to someone that one is better than the other.” Though given the option, he expects most stores will prefer to carry the AP5 line because it is the brand the consumers already know and love. The BP5 line is still being developed. “It could be one month, it could be 9 months, we just don’t know. We don’t want to do it just to do it. If we can’t do it and it won’t be a great product, then we are not going to do it.”
GT also set the record straight on the “new” bottles of his Kombucha people are finding in stores these days, saying that all of that product is from before the recall. Once it became clear to distributors that they could sell GTs again, they moved the inventory they were holding out to stores. He added that all the product currently available, though from before the recall, is safe to drink.
As for the newly reformulated Kombucha hitting the market since the recall, GT says “They clearly taste different. For me it gets at the question of why do we drink Kombucha. Is it because it’s a thirst quenching beverage or is it for the health benefits?” He claims his company is sticking with the original formula because he believes in real Kombucha, and the laws that govern beverages are outmoded and need to be updated. “The long term goal is to change people’s perspective from a legislative standpoint and just from a society standpoint that this (category of beverage) really needs to be given different consideration. Open people’s minds.”

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  • Al Greenleaf

    May 28, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Leave it to the government to solve a problem that doesn’t exist! Just how many under age kids did they find getting high on Kombucha?

    These regulations are absurd.

  • john sweet

    July 3, 2013 at 8:03 am

    I’m the one who got whole foods to sell Kombucha in Minnesota when we move out here from Oregon.
    the question i have is where can i buy the
    Classic GT Kombucha in Minnesota?

  • Rahsul

    December 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    This moment is all there is, there’s no tomorrow or yesterday. We are forever in the moment; it is the mind that is into yesterday and tomorrow. Always in the past, or the future never here and now.

  • Rahsul

    December 10, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    This Kombucha drink is a very good drink. I love it; and I say that from my heart. Whenever I drink it, I become the drink, I become one with it. It’s great for meditation that you’re in.

  • Annie

    April 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    I love G.T. Dave’s. Too bad. Everybody knows the ban is really about the government wanting to tax a popular healthy alternative to complete garbage. There are common products above .5% that are sold everywhere without super-taxing.

  • frank lauciello

    January 9, 2011 at 9:37 am

    To whom it may concer
    Not happy with changes in GTS Kombucha multi green. there is no doubt that there was a signficant change when it was reformulated which was really unfortunate. now its no different than anything else on market. it was unique and worth spending a little more for. but not anymore. there truly is a difference in how it feels and i am not implying that it was the alcohol that make the difference. when opening the bottle it was full of “life”. now its “dead”. please let me know if the orginal formulation will be sold again. thank you and sorry that you were forced to reformulate. Cant stand ridiculous regulations.
    Dr. Frank Lauciello

  • Anonymous

    October 6, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    How is this now called Enlightened a cousin of the original GT and yet no new lable? Is there proven lab tests that this is below and approved by the TTB and FDA. I have a small store and no liqour license and can not risk it without proof. This all seems very sketchy!

  • Eric

    September 28, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    I read a quote from GT stating that his kombucha didn't have alcohol in it. Coming out with an alcoholic kombucha now seems like he wasn't really honest. I also got an email inviting me to be part of a lawsuit against GT based on misinformation on his labels. I used to really like this stuff now I find it suspect. I'll stick with Honest Kombucha or High Country from now on. Seems more potent anyway.

  • Anonymous

    September 28, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    High Country Kombucha again is the only authentic Kombucha on the market…look at the probiotic content…HCK has Z. Kombuchaensis (where Kombucha comes from) and GT has yogurt culture…C'MON…you make it at hime….does his taste like you homebrew?? Don't think so.

  • Hannah Crum

    September 17, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    They will definitely tax the Original Formulation – that is what they care about most – getting their $$!

  • Anonymous

    September 17, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Does this mean that they are gonna slap an alcohol tax on GTs making it even more expensive?

  • Amanda

    September 16, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    I found this link on GT's Synergy Kombucha Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/GTsLivingFoods/?ref=sgm. This is great news! Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    September 16, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Disappointing that it appears that GT's Kombucha will not be able to be sold at Healthfood stores without a liquor license! On the otherhand, wonderful news that it's back in production and soon to hit the shelves of different retailers to encompass a whole new audience and share the health of this miraculous beverage!

  • AMY

    September 16, 2010 at 4:36 am


  • Dr

    September 14, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    PA, where I live, has the most archaic laws for alcohol. The d*** Liquor Control Board (LCB) controls all alcoholic beverage sales, over-taxes them, and sells all but beer them in state run liquor stores. I'm wondering 1) will GT be able to sell them there or in the dedicated beverage stores that sell beer and 2) given the tax rate for alcohol in PA, will they be priced absurdly high? There is just no substitute for GT Dave's kombucha–I've tried all of them currently available in my area and they were all very "inactive"& with no flavor. I can see it now–I'll be making kombucha runs to NJ and DE for GT Dave's! Keep true to your formula, Dave, but do try to get your product available by October or November this year!

  • Teri [a foodie stays fit]

    September 12, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    great interview! I'm so glad it will be back on the shelves soon. It really is the best brand out there!

  • Hannah Crum

    September 8, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    UNFI is not set up to carry alcoholic beverages – I don't know about Tree. Seems like they will have to find other channels for distribution.

  • Stina

    September 8, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    I'm glad he's sticking to his original formula. Good for him for not succumbing to anything less. Too bad minors can't purchase it now. All the more reason to brew your own!

  • Anonymous

    September 8, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    does anyone know how GT intends to market the product- if it has over .5 alcohol will the distributors carry it? ie as a natural food store owner will I be able to buy it through Tree or UNFI??

  • Anonymous

    September 8, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Hanna- this is great news- does Dave expect to market through the same channels- ie. UNFI and Tree???

  • Jim

    September 7, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Cant wait to get some! I just hope the one place here that stocks it will be able to sell it with the Alcohol levels. Michigan is a funny place when it comes to what is legal and what isnt.

  • Josh

    September 6, 2010 at 3:38 am

    Aww, It's kinda sad though, AP5, BP5. I'm only 20 also, so It could even affect me being able to purchase It at all :/

  • Anonymous

    September 4, 2010 at 12:49 am

    Nice to finally hear something from them! they are the best.


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