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All Kombucha Products On Ugandan Market Are Alcoholic – UNBS

UNBS last year closed a factory that was making Mukama nayamba drink

Uganda National Bureaus of Standards (UNBS) has declared that all Kombucha products on the Ugandan market are alcoholic beverages, based on the process they go through.

By process, Kombucha beverage is produced by adding certain strains of a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY) with other ingredients mostly mushrooms, and are left to ferment for some time before consumption.

Livingstone Ebiru, the executive director of the UNBS, says they have tried so much to support those who tried to process the non-alcoholic Kombucha with the produce process but have failed because it progresses to alcohol with time.


Ebiru adds that the Ugandan Kombucha manufacturers at the moment don’t have the facilities and technology to maintain the beverage as non-alcoholic which many of them so much want to produce.

This came out of the meeting between the Kombucha manufacturers, UNBS, and the Uganda Alcohol Industries Association- UAIA, aimed at seeing how these beverage manufacturers can join in the umbrella that brings together all alcohol manufacturers in the country.

Samuel Turyatunga, the president of the Uganda Kombucha Manufacturers Association (UKMA) agrees with UNBS, saying that their production is determined by the market preference and that most Ugandans prefer alcoholic Kombucha to the non-alcoholic one, and that is why they produce it.


Turyatunga adds that because they do not pasteurize the beverage, it continues to go through fermentation even when it is bottled, adding that the market mostly likes the non-pasteurized one because of its natural state.

He continues that there is also non-alcoholic Kombucha though it is hard in Uganda because of the poor refrigeration system which can’t maintain the beverage as such from the factory to consumption.

“The poor refrigeration systems in the country and our customer’s preferences, are the reasons behind the availability of this beverage only in the alcoholic form on the market,” Turyatunga explains.

Uganda has one of the highest per capita alcohol consumption rates in sub-Saharan Africa and records from UAIA show that 65% of the alcohol consumed in Uganda is from informal sources, as well as consuming it unaware, and this has led to a lot of Alcohol related diseases.

One-quarter of all alcohol consumed worldwide is in the form of homemade, unrecorded alcohol that is not accounted for in the national official statistics, and in low-income countries, this is as high as 40%.


Such alcohol is often illegally produced, and its consumption may be associated with an increased risk of harm because of the unknown and potentially dangerous impurities in these beverages, the World Health Organization said in 2019.


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