Bar & Restaurant News is introducing a number of new content pieces in 2024, including Polls, From the Editor, and this column, One for the Road.
In this monthly column, we ask a question about a theme or topic covered during the month, and industry experts weigh in with opinions, advice, and real-life experiences.
For January, we're revisiting cannabis in the on-premise industry. If you missed our deep dive into the topic, check out "Welcoming Cannabis into the Bar & Restaurant Industry." We asked some industry experts:
Do you think cannabis consumption and/or cannabis-infused food & drink will find its way into more bars and restaurants in the future?
Warren Bobrow, CEO & Co/Founder of RTD THC-infused cocktails Klaus the Gnome, Inc.
I wrote the first book in the world on infusing cannabis (THC, not CBD or hemp) into craft cocktails of my own invention. As a master mixologist, former rum judge/ former day drinker, and now the creator of Klaus in California, I have some very defined thoughts on the addition of THC to food/drink.
I believe that you will start seeing those ubiquitous hemp-infused seltzers around in places where it is permitted by law. They are pretty uncomplicated and very low dose, more akin to a light cocktail or a mocktail in strength, which means you probably won't feel very much of anything. [It will be] similar to the addition of the CBD craze in craft cocktails a few years back. You can't feel anything with CBD, there is no buzz whatsoever, but I digress.
If you are looking for a THC edible or a cocktail with THC in it, I'm hoping these will make their appearance sooner rather than later. But everyone has different metabolisms, and eating cannabis can be problematic for some people. Care needs to take place, especially when mixing alcohol and THC. I should know a bit about this topic!
I'd love to see the combination of food and cannabis-infused craft libations like my own alongside a carefully prepared meal, or even tacos!
T. Cole Newton, Vice President, United States Bartenders’ Guild; Owner and Proprietor of Twelve Mile Limit and The Domino in New Orleans, LA
I do think we’re likely to see more cannabis-infused food and drinks in bars and restaurants in the near future. While there is a hard legal wall between dispensaries in states where traditional cannabis consumption (both medical and recreational) is legal, this is not the case with hemp-derived THC products like seltzers and other edibles.
This is great news for bar guests who identify as “California Sober,” i.e., abstaining from alcohol but enjoying THC. Hemp-derived THC beverages allow these guests to participate in the social elements of drinking and even catch a buzz without the less desirable effects of alcohol. This is a relatively new phenomenon—my bars have only been selling these products for about a year—but the growth has been staggering and will only continue as more people become aware of the option.
*Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.
Come back in February to find out what industry experts think about culinary-inspired cocktails!
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Plan to Attend or Participate in the 2024 Bar & Restaurant Expo, March 18-20, 2024
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