Some beverages require a bit more love and care than others during packing and shipping—and kombucha is definitely one of them!
This fermented sweet and sour drink is a mix of tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast. Beyond having a supremely unique taste, people line up for this beverage because of the health benefits associated with its ingredients. The tea in it has antioxidant properties, while the probiotics from bacteria and yeast are supposed to improve gut health.
With all that being said, getting truckloads of kombucha to customers can be tricky. From ensuring you’re using the right types of glass bottles to avoid combustion and maintaining ideal temperatures to keep its bacteria and yeast alive, here’s everything you need to know about shipping this insanely popular health drink.
What Is Kombucha?
To understand why shipping kombucha isn’t exactly an easy feat, we need to be familiar with its unique ingredients and why it’s so special. There’s nothing quite like it on the market and you’re about to learn why.
Kombucha’s roots date back thousands of years to ancient China. It is thought to have been brewed along the silk trail. By the 20th century, it had gained popularity in Japan as well as Russia and other Eastern European countries.
In the 1990s, it rose to popularity in the United States on the heels of a media frenzy hyping up its supposed health benefits. While, admittedly, not all of the then-proposed benefits have proven themselves true with rigorous testing, kombucha has remained a staple in the fridges of people who prioritize their health and well-being.
Kombucha is concocted using a powerful mix of black or green tea, sugar, yeast, and bacteria. It’s then set aside for a specific period (typically one week) to allow it to undergo the natural fermentation process.
Bacteria, acid, and low alcohol levels form as a result of this process. A finished kombucha product should have a film called SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast) above all the liquid in the bottle.
Craft Beverage Industry Growth for Kombucha
With health and wellness a consistent priority for consumers, the interest in this beverage continues to hit new heights.
The global kombucha market size reached a value of $2.64 billion USD in 2021. It’s expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.6% from now until 2030.
Shipping Kombucha Best Practices and Tips
As a fermented product, shipping kombucha requires very specific and ideal conditions to survive the trip and arrive at its destination in mint condition. Here are three tips for shipping kombucha.
1. Only Use Kombucha-Safe Glass Jars
Kombucha should always be packed in a glass bottle specifically designed to hold fermented products. Regular glass bottles with narrow mouths won’t allow the mix to “breathe” and typically can’t withstand the acidity of this beverage, which may result in combustion.
In order to avoid leaks, use appropriate sealing methods such as shrink bands, tamper-evident caps, or other reliable closure mechanisms.
Avoid plastic or metal containers for packaging your kombucha. The toxins and chemicals found in these materials can contaminate the drink and serve as a health hazard. They’re also not suitable for preserving bacteria and yeast.
2. Properly Pack and Protect Your Product
Glass jars aren’t just fragile—they’re heavy, too. Unfortunately, this unavoidable reality can create several complications on the road.
In order to avoid any accidents during transportation, use sturdy corrugated cardboard boxes designed for shipping fragile items. You can also ensure that each bottle is individually wrapped or secured to prevent movement and potential damage. Going the extra mile to ship your kombucha securely will pay dividends down the line.
3. Maintain the Right Temperatures
It’s safe to say that fermented products have a mind of their own; they naturally become more acidic and carbonated as time passes. Kombucha left out overnight, exposed to changing temperatures, is a recipe for disaster.
Because temperature control is crucial to perserving kombucha’s live cultures, taste, and carbonation, it’s recommended that cold storage levels of 34 to 40°F (1.1 to 4.4°C) are maintained throughout the shipping process.
The best way to keep kombucha cold while shipping is by adopting refrigerated shipping practices, which can run costly. An economical solution to this kombucha shipping concern is The Pallet Parka! It can effectively protect your kombucha jars and maintain more consistent temperatures for a streamlined supply chain experience.
However, this is easier said than done, which is why enlisting the help of craft beverage logistics experts is your best option…
Keep Your Kombucha Cold: Shipping Done Right
When it comes to shipping kombucha, Brew Movers can help! Our beverage managed logistics will ensure your kombucha reaches its destination in the condition at which it left your facility, perfectly cultured and carbonated.
By partnering with a logistics company that specializes in shipping craft beverages, you’ll enhance the safety of shipping kombucha and reduce the risk of product loss or spoilage. Having supported and served over 3,500 craft breweries across North America, you can rest assured that your products are always in good hands with our team.
Shoot us a message to get a quote on our top-tier cold chain shipping solutions!