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The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) is the independent statutory authority that regulates Victoria's gambling and liquor industries.

Our vision is that Victorians and visitors enjoy safe and responsible gambling and liquor environments.
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Brewed soft drinks and undeclared alcohol

soft drink in glass with straw next to bottle

Recent testing of brewed soft drinks found that some have undeclared alcohol content on their labelling.  

Brewed soft drinks that contain 0.5 per cent or more of alcohol by volume must include statements about their contents on the label as well as businesses that stock these drinks to sell must hold a liquor licence. 

In a recent study by the Department of Health and Human Services, 47 per cent of brewed soft drinks (also known as fermented soft drinks) such as kombucha, kefir, ginger beer and kvass were found to be non-compliant with alcohol labelling requirements including statements about alcohol content and specifications of standard drinks.  

Why is there alcohol in brewed soft drinks?

During the brewing process for these types of soft drinks, alcohol is produced. If the process is uncontrolled, there are inaccuracies in alcohol measurement by the manufacturer, and/or incorrect transport and storage of retail ready brewed soft drinks, this can result in excess production of alcohol and incorrect labelling of alcohol content in the product.

How does this affect me as a licensee?

Drinks with 0.5 or above alcohol by volume are classified as liquor which means selling them requires a liquor licence or penalties will apply.

Unknown consumption of alcohol can also be harmful as well as misleading to consumers. 

What can I do as a licensee?

  • Request that brewed soft drinks are made to a requested standard, such as the FoodSmart food safety program fermentation supplement, before accepting the products from a supplier.
  • Ensure brewed soft drinks are cold when delivered. If not, reject the delivery.
  • Store brewed soft drinks in the refrigerator.
  • Discard brewed soft drinks if you suspect it they have not been stored correctly.
  • Do not sell brewed soft drinks past their best-before date.

For more information about this study and what you can do as a licensee see the Department of Health and Human Services website.