Kombucha Brewers International, the non-profit trade association that represents makers of the fermented tea-based drink kombucha, has hired international law firm McDermott Will & Emery LLP to work Capitol Hill on taxation issues as they apply to the beverage industry.

Kombucha Brewers International

The Beverly Hills-based trade group, which is comprised more that 130 member companies — representing more than 90 percent of all kombucha products found in the U.S. today — has hired MW&E for the purpose of pitching legislative changes to the current Internal Revenue Code for the sake of enhancing the marketability of kombucha.

The alcohol content of kombucha varies greatly (anywhere from 0.5 percent or more), and currently, doesn’t belong to any recognized beverage classification as determined by the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. However, if kombucha’s alcohol content is greater than 0.5 percent by volume, its fermentation process and method of production determines its classification (either beer, wine or even distilled spirits, depending on its formulation), making taxation issues, marketing and compliance with federal law difficult for industry brewers.

The account will be managed by David Ransom, former senior communications and policy advisor to former House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and communications director of the House Administration Committee; and Erica Stocker, who was previously deputy chief of staff to former Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ).