Edibles, Drinkables, and What’s Next For Culinary Cannabis
I recently attended Hall of Flowers, the largest and most trendsetting cannabis trade show in Santa Rosa, bringing together the best of Northern and Southern California. After two days of exploring new brands and cannabis products, some exciting new trends are emerging, particularly within the food and beverage space.
This should come as no surprise as edible and drinkable cannabis products continue to gain market share. In 2020, cannabis beverage sales increased by 40% across recreational states, including California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Cannabis edibles are also seeing higher sales as consumers turn to healthier and more discreet consumption methods. With innovation as a primary category driver, edible and drinkable products are also evolving, with a greater focus on product diversity and quality ingredients.
In the edibles world, you’ll undoubtedly always be able to find a variety of gummies and infused chocolates, but what impressed me the most was the chef-inspired items that deliver a gourmet experience. A few stand-out brands and products include Hervé’s gold-dusted macarons, Rose Delight’s “Skin Contact” flower rosin delights, Mellows’ gourmet cannabis-infused marshmallows, and Humboldt Sugar Co.’s cannabis-infused sugar sticks, which can be used when baking, cooking, or making cocktails. Potli’s savory shrimp chips were also a fun discovery (and are out-of-this-world delicious if you can find them). After sampling several other items, savory edibles will play a pivotal role in expanding the edibles category.
The advancements within the cannabis beverage space are also significant. Over the past few years, a wave of cannabis-infused seltzers, sparklings, and tonics have entered the market, but drinkables, such as aperitifs and dealcoholized beer, cider, and wine are pushing the boundaries and helping fine-tune the category for more refined palates.
During Hall of Flowers, I came across Artet’s new “Founders’ Blend No. 1” aperitif, infused with live resin from Aster Farms. Ceria’s nonalcoholic “Indiewave” cannabis-infused beer was another stand-out, which remarkably tastes like an actual IPA. The cannabis-infused nonalcoholic wine category is also improving. House of Saka’s “Mimosa” is a playful spin on an actual Mimosa, but instead of alcohol, it blends live resin from the Mimosa cannabis strain with nectarine orange blossom flavors and dealcoholized wine. Rebel Coast’s cannabis-infused wine and sparkling seltzers are also making waves, now available in single-serve cans.
What’s next for culinary cannabis? With events slowly coming back, cannabis chefs and event producers are beginning to host intimate cannabis gatherings with infused cuisine featured throughout the menu. At this point, many of these events are private and invite-only (or tied to a larger event such as Hall of Flowers), but as regulations continue to change and COVID restrictions ease, these unique dining experiences will be more accessible to the public.
The second installment of Hall of Flowers takes place on December 8th and 9th, 2021 in Palm Springs. Stay tuned for The Herb Somm Holiday Gift Guide following its conclusion.
About the Author:
Jamie Evans is the founder of The Herb Somm and author of The Ultimate Guide to CBD: Explore the World of Cannabidiol and Cannabis Drinks: Secrets to Crafting CBD and THC Beverages at Home. She is an author, entrepreneur, and writer specializing in cannabis, food, recipes, wine, and the canna-culinary world. In addition to her work in the cannabis industry, Jamie has over a decade of wine industry experience and is a Certified Specialist of Wine. Having represented a wide array of organizations and wineries, she is best known for her literary work and producing high-end events. She was also named as one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers in 2018. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @TheHerbSomm.