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Lawyer who was caught four times over the drink-drive limit blames friend’s home-made Kombucha tea

Corporate lawyer who was caught FOUR times over the drink-drive limit in her Range Rover blames breath-alcohol count on a friend’s Kombucha tea – which was home-made using the WRONG type of yeast

  • Louise Taylor, 41, said she had been told the drink was good for her gut health
  • She told Llandudno magistrates’ court in Wales: ‘I didn’t believe it was alcoholic’
  • The corporate lawyer admitted driving her car with a breath-alcohol count of 135
  • She was bailed for a pre-sentence report and interim driving ban was imposed


A corporate lawyer who was caught four times over the drink-drive limit in her Range Rover has blamed her breath-alcohol count on a friend’s home-made Kombucha tea.

Although it tasted ‘disgusting’, 41-year-old Louise Taylor from Sandbach, Cheshire, said she had been told it was good for gut health. 

‘I didn’t believe it was alcoholic,’ she told Llandudno magistrates’ court in North Wales, saying her friend Angela Morrison brewed it using yeast and mushrooms.

She admitted driving her car on the A55 dual carriageway with a breath-alcohol count of 135. The legal limit is 35.

Defence lawyer Ashley Barnes said it appeared the wrong type of yeast – a brewer’s variety – was used in making the drink.

Louise Taylor (pictured), 41, from Cheshire, blamed her breath-alcohol count on a friend’s home-made Kombucha tea after she was was caught four times over the drink-drive limit

Prosecutor Gareth Parry said that at 8pm on April 22 police saw the vehicle at Rhuallt, travelling all over the road. Taylor was stopped at St Asaph.

A PC, who followed the white Range Rover Sport for six miles while using blue lights and a siren, said it had been drifting on the hard shoulder and nearly collided with a number of wagons while overtaking.

A bottle in the vehicle was half full of a liquid which smelled of alcohol.

A traffic colleague, PC Peter Doran, said: ‘Her eyes were red and glazed, her speech slurred. She was very unsteady on her feet.’

Taylor, who said she was ‘head of legal’, described how she had met a friend at Knutsford in the morning to take their dogs for a walk. She then went for lunch in a hotel restaurant and shared a bottle of wine.

She had stopped to see her friend Angela at Connah’s Quay on the way to Abergele. 

Taylor said she had been diagnosed with Coeliac disease, affecting the gut, and that her friend wouldn’t knowingly give her alcohol. 

The general counsel and company secretary for a bank insisted in evidence: ‘I’m not a massive drinker at all.’ 

Taylor had at least two glasses of the tea drink Kombucha and drank from a water bottle containing it as she drove. She had also taken four antihistamines for hayfever that day and started feeling unwell.

Taylor said she took the drink ‘in good faith’, adding: ‘I didn’t knowingly drink and drive.’

'I didn't believe it was alcoholic,' Taylor told Llandudno magistrates' court (file photo above) in North Wales, saying her friend Angela Morrison brewed it using yeast and mushrooms

‘I didn’t believe it was alcoholic,’ Taylor told Llandudno magistrates’ court (file photo above) in North Wales, saying her friend Angela Morrison brewed it using yeast and mushrooms

How to make homemade Kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented drink made from sweetened tea that is mostly non-alcoholic.

The scoby bacteria and yeast eat most of the sugar in the tea, transforming the tea into a refreshingly fizzy, slightly sour fermented beverage.

Homemade kombucha typically has an alcohol content of no more than 1%, but the longer the kombucha ferments, the more alcoholic the drink gets. 

Ingredients

2 organic green teabags (or 2 tsp loose leaf)

2 organic black teabags bags (or 2 tsp loose leaf)

100-200g granulated sugar, to taste

1 medium ‘scoby’ which stands for a ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast’, plus 100-200ml starter liquid 

 (via BBC)

Angela Morrison told the magistrates the Googled recipe just said to use yeast and she didn’t know what type had been used. 

She had been so ‘horrified’ when she found out there was alcohol that she poured the possibly ‘vital’ remaining liquid evidence down the sink, the prosecution noted.

The court chairman Graham Edwards described her account as ‘odd.’

The prosecutor told the court: ‘The defendant’s reading is extremely high. 

‘The reading is so high you are entitled to conclude she must have known she had been consuming alcohol. The impairment was substantial.’

But Mr Barnes said Taylor’s profession meant she was ‘less likely to tell untruths’.

Court chairman Mr Edwards said: ‘There’s no evidence to support there was a significant level of alcohol in the Kombucha.’ 

There was also said to be ‘inconsistency’ in Taylor’s evidence as to how much wine she drank that day. 

He added: ‘We don’t believe the level of alcohol was impacted by the Kombucha. We don’t find special reasons not to disqualify you.’

She was bailed for a pre-sentence report and an interim driving ban was imposed.

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