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Grandfather Kicked Out of Virginia Park for Drinking Kombucha

"He was very disturbed, convinced I was contributing the delinquency of my grandsons," the grandfather said of the ranger who spoke to them

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    Kombucha is shown in this undated file photo. A 60-year-old grandfather in Virginia was kicked out of a park for drinking the bubbly, fermented tea with his grandsons.

    A picnic for a 60-year-old grandfather fizzled out pretty quickly when he and his grandsons were kicked out of a park in Virginia for drinking kombucha.

    The bubbly, fermented tea originated centuries ago in China and typically contains a slight bit of alcohol. That's what got Sid Tatem in trouble while celebrating his birthday with his two grandsons at Chesapeake's Northwest River Park.

    "I thought it was good, clean fun," Tatem told The Virginian-Pilot, "And as far as I'm concerned, it is."

    The Virginia newspaper reports the three were sipping homebrewed kombucha at the park when a ranger asked what they were drinking and then kicked them out upon discovering what it was.

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    Tatem explained to the officer that he was drinking kombucha, and that the tea might contain small amounts of alcohol.

    "He was very disturbed, convinced I was contributing the delinquency of my grandsons," Tatem said. "Kombucha is not considered an alcoholic drink anywhere."

    City spokeswoman Elizabeth Vaughn says the ranger acted because the beverage was given to juveniles.

    Kombucha sold in supermarkets must fall below 0.5 percent alcohol, but Tatem's homebrewed drink had not been tested for alcohol content.

    Hannah Crum, president of trade group Kombucha Brewers International, told the Virginia-Pilot that she didn't know anyone who drank kombucha to get intoxicated, and that it would be difficult to do so.

    Tatem questioned whether he will need to hide his kombucha the next time he is out in public. On Sunday, he listened to the officer’s orders.

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    "I thought, this is a losing situation. I asked the officer what he wanted us to do. He said, 'Dump the kombucha out, and leave the park.' We did so in silence," he told the newspaper.