SōRSE Producers Series: Hi-Wire Brewing

hi-wire brewing logo

For the sixth post in our Producers Series, we spoke with Peter Batinski, Head of Sour and Specialty Beers at Hi-Wire Brewing, based in Asheville, North Carolina. Hi-Wire Brewing, one of SōRSE’s lighthouse customers for one of our hop-derived water-soluble products, Hop Haze, is known for creating balanced, approachable lagers and ales and utilizing the freshest of ingredients for its seasonal offerings. 

Batinksi is responsible for designing, maintaining, and packaging all sour and specialty beers as well as working with a small team of brewers on R & D initiatives. In this piece, Batinski shares a bit of Hi-Wire’s history, the challenges that come with upgrading their production facility, how the team comes up with new beer ideas or styles, and why they are using SōRSE’s Hop Haze emulsion in a few of their beers.

hi-wire brewing logo

Can you start by sharing Hi-Wire’s background and history?  

Hi-Wire opened in the summer of 2013. There were a few people in Asheville who wanted to start a new brewery, so they went ahead and purchased Craggie Brewing. Hi-Wire’s owners kept on a lot of Craggie’s employees and started making their own beer, which was much different from Craggie’s. Since then, Hi-Wire has expanded considerably. We’ve opened a number of taprooms in areas and neighborhoods that are being revitalized; we’ll be opening a ninth this coming year. We’ve had a big growth spurt over the past three years. It’s an indicator that the business model is working.  

Currently we are in the process of revamping the original Craggie Brewing facility and installing all new equipment. 

What are your company’s core values? 

One of our core values is taking great care of our employees. That has been the case since the beginning, and since then, our number of employees has grown significantly as we have expanded! 

One of our mottos is “Good Beer, Good Times.” We believe in providing a high-quality beer for our customers, but also encourage them to have a good time when they are drinking our beers! That’s where our tap rooms come into play. We have a lot of games in them, pinball machines, and soccer pool (a big pool table with soccer balls), you name it. Our taprooms are not places where you are going to just sit at the bar and stare at a TV! We want people to have fun when they are with us.  

You are in the process of rebuilding your brewing facility – what are the biggest challenges you are facing as that project moves forward? 

The biggest challenge right now is getting everything, including the old equipment, out of the facility, which includes a 30-barrel brewhouse and a tiny R&D brewery. We need to be prepped and ready for the contractors to come in to work on the space and for the new equipment to arrive. There are a lot of moving parts to keep track of – from making sure the gas gets hooked up to managing when the concrete will be poured. It’s all about logistics and supply chain right now. We’re transitioning to a 15-barrel system with bigger tanks which will allow us to produce more beer more quickly. We’re hoping to put some of the old equipment on display somewhere, because it was used in Asheville’s first brewery, Highland Brewing Company. There’s a lot of history in this equipment that we want people to see and know about! 

How do you come up with new beer ideas or vet new styles? Where does the inspiration come from? 

Our brewers – and brewers in general – are in constant conversation about beers we are enjoying and why. Ideas come from those conversations or visits to other breweries to taste what they are making. For sour beers which use a lot of fruit, herbs, and different kinds of wood, I’ll read a lot of cocktail recipes and menus to get ideas for flavor combinations that I have never thought of before. Vetting new beers is definitely a collaborative effort. Once a week, we’ll get together around a table to taste the beer and discuss them. We also make a point to try someone else’s beer we have never had before. 

One beer of ours that I am really excited about is the Japanese Dry Rice lager that we just canned; it won a GABF Gold award. It was a fun beer to make because we got to work with our next-door neighbors, a sake brewery, to develop it. That is one of the more innovative beers that we’ve created. I’m also excited about an Italian-style pilsner that we made recently – it’s very tasty and drinkable.  

How did you discover SōRSE, and why did you choose SōRSE’s Hop Haze for your product? 

I knew an employee at SōRSE from when we worked at Sierra Nevada together. A few months ago, she suggested that we try Hop Haze. We tested the sample together when she was on a trip to North Carolina, and the product produces the most stable haze I’ve seen. I’m really impressed with how well it works and the ease of application. Creating a stable haze is not as easy as people think; over time, the haze will drop. SōRSE’s haze does not drop because it is so stable. We’re currently using Hop Haze in two of our IPAs and our Lemon Meringue Blond Ale 

hi-wire super haze beer

How has business been over the past two years? Did you have to do business differently because of COVID?

In the beginning we had to shutter our tap rooms, but we were still able to offer beer to go and delivery service. We had a lot of growth in supermarket sales as well. Apparently, a lot of people stayed home and drank beer!  

Where do you see your company and brand a year from now? 

We will be offering a ton more specialty cans this coming year, and higher volumes. We have a lot of fun producing our specialty beers, like the Japanese Dry Rice lager. 

What excites you most about being in brewing industry? 

What I love about my job is the constant creativity, the constant innovation. It’s why most people get into the industry — and i get to do it everyday!  

In terms of trends, I’m thinking about what’s next for IPAs and what beer drinkers will want in their next IPAs. There are so many different styles out there – and it will be interesting to see what consumers gravitate towards like they did with hazy IPAs.  

I think that this coming year the craft brewing community will continue to grow and evolve together. It’s cool to see how brewers can take a certain style and make it their own, while still supporting each other, picking each other up and pushing each other to make better beer.  

lemon meringue blonde ale sorse hop haze

Infused Beverages: The Perfect Alcohol Alternative for Dry January and Beyond

dry january hand declining drink

Now that Santa has returned to the North Pole, the ball has dropped, and we’ve rung in 2022 with spiked eggnog, champagne, or a few shots of whiskey, that means it’s time to consider going dry in January — and perhaps for the entire year.  

What is Dry January?

Dry January is a movement that began in 2013 by an organization called Alcohol Change UK. Their goal was for people who drink on a regular basis to take a break from alcohol for one month, and after that month, perhaps they would consider drinking less because they were feeling better. It would provide a time to reset the mind and body on the first day of January, after a month of festivities that often revolve around eating and drinking. With each year that has passed since 2013, more people have participated in the movement, so much so that now most consumers know what Dry January means and the benefits of taking part in it.   

Benefits of Going Dry in January

Better Sleep

While drinking alcohol may help people fall asleep faster, it can interfere with breathing and disrupt the REM phase of the sleep cycle, which negatively impacts the overall quality of one’s sleep.  

Better Hydration Levels 

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it triggers the body to remove fluids from your blood at a much faster rate than other liquids. As most of us know, dehydration can lead to nasty headaches, fatigue, and dizziness. Unless you’re drinking a glass of water after each alcoholic beverage, you are sure to feel parched after a few cocktails or glasses of wine.  

Potential Weight Loss 

There is no doubt that most alcoholic beverages taste great – but with the flavor can come empty calories. For example, a classic margarita is about 200 calories, while a glass of Chardonnay has 125 calories. Whatever your drink of choice, a few of them over the course of the evening can add up, and if you aren’t burning those calories somehow, they can turn into a few extra pounds of unwanted weight.  

Clear-headedness 

Drinking alcohol regularly can leave you feeling fuzzy and can make it challenging to remember things. It can also alter your perception of distance, as well as slow or impair your fine motor skills. Saying good-bye to alcohol for a month will leave your brain feeling sharper and likely your reactions quicker.  

Infused Beverages: An Alcohol Alternative 

crisp and crude cbd drink

For people who have never participated in Dry January before, they might be wondering about beverages that can replace a beer while watching football, a cocktail at Happy Hour, a glass of wine with dinner, or a nightcap before bed. A great alternative to any of these is a beverage infused with water-soluble CBD, THC, or a combination of the two! A drink infused with THC will likely give you an elevated experience, minus the hangover! 

There are plenty of different options on the market from you to choose from, such as: 

Infused Sparkling Water 

These products make a great base for a mocktail. Infused Sparkling Water flavored with natural fruit juice and other functional ingredients also makes a great base for a mocktail or can stand alone with a wedge of fruit in them.  

Infused Coffee Beverages 

While some may think coffee is strictly a morning beverage, many people who are not highly sensitive to caffeine like to enjoy a coffee-based beverage after dinner or to replace dessert (or an Irish Coffee!). 

Infused Tea

There’s nothing like a warm cup of tea in the evening to wind down before catching some zzzzz’s. 

Infused Mocktails 

There are a number of beverages on the market that replicate the flavors of certain cocktails like a Gin and Tonic, an Old Fashioned, or a Paloma, minus the alcohol.  

Infused Fruit Juices

Many cocktails feature fruit juices as their base – Margaritas, Pina Coladas, and Daiquiris, to name a few. To create your own mocktail, take your favorite infused fruit juices, mix and match them, and add other ingredients like bitters, herbs, syrups or fresh fruit to enhance the flavors. (Note: Technically bitters are made from alcohol, but they’re often labeled as non-alcoholic given how little you use in a cocktail.) 

Tips for a Successful Dry January or Dry ’22

  1. Ask a friend to go dry with you

     As we all know, making resolutions is easy, but sticking with them can be hard. If you do Dry January with a friend, you can hold each other accountable as well as have fun creating and making non-alcoholic beverages together. 

  2. Track how you feel at the end of each day

    The first few days of Dry January might be tough as your body and mind recalibrate themselves. In a journal, in your planner, or on a calendar app, reflect on how you are feeling – not just physically, but emotionally. Consider your energy level, your mood, how hydrated you feel, how you are sleeping, etc.

  3. Replace your evening alcohol with an activity

    For many people, alcohol is part of their nightly routine – a cocktail at Happy Hour, wine with dinner, a sip of scotch before bed. For Dry January, you can replace that beverage with a NA drink AND an activity! This could mean a yoga session or a trip to the gym followed by an infused sparkling water, an evening walk followed by an infused tea, or dessert and infused coffee with friends.

  4. Host a mocktail party

    For many, drinking is a social activity. This month, instead of meeting up with friends at a bar, consider throwing a mocktail party. Do a little research for recipes online, grab some infused beverages for the mocktail base, then find some fun ingredients fruit or vegetable juices, syrups, and herbs, fruit wedges or pickled vegetables for garnish. You could also have a contest for best mocktail! The Powered by SoRSE Holiday Gift Guide is a great resource for infused beverages you can offer your guests at your party.

  5. Be patient with yourself

    Change is hard for most people, especially when it comes to altering one’s behavior or routine. You might be a little cranky when you first start Dry January – and that is normal! When you’re feeling a little off or irritated, try to remind yourself why you are doing this in the first place and then do something nice for yourself, like drinking an infused beverage.

Beyond CBD and THC: The Role of Minor Cannabinoids in the Cannabis Plant and for Infused Products

cannabinoid molecule infused oil

Cannabis, like many other botanicals, is a complex plant. It contains a variety of chemical substances including flavonoids, phytonutrients that create a plant’s color; terpenes, the compounds that create a plant’s smell and flavor; and cannabinoids, the active chemical compounds that interact with receptors in the human body.

CBD and THC are the two cannabinoids most consumers are familiar with, but scientists and researchers have discovered and identified over 100 other minor cannabinoids in hemp and cannabis plants.

As consumers become more knowledgeable about the potential health benefits of CBD, THC, and the minor cannabinoids found in cannabis, they are also looking for products that pair CBD or THC with some of the minors. The way the major cannabinoids work with the minors can improve the efficacy of the product and the way they interact with the Endocannabinoid System, the ECS.

Major Versus Minor Cannabinoids

CBD and THC are considered major cannabinoids because of their high level of concentration in the plant’s flowers where they are produced in the trichomes. CBDA, CBG, CBN, CBC, THC-A, THCV, THCP, THC-A, and Delta-8-THC are a few of what are considered to be minor cannabinoids.

MINOR CANNABINOIDS FEATURED IN INFUSED PRODUCTS ON THE MARKET

minor cannabinoids origin graph
Image Source: Science Direct

CBG – Cannabigerol

CBG, otherwise known as Cannabigerol, is often referred to as “the mother of all cannabinoids” because it is the first cannabinoid the plant produces. Its acidic form —  CBG-A – is the original compound from which the other cannabinoids are derived through different processes of synthesis as the plant grows. Think of those cannabinoids as the children of CBG. CBG is most frequently found in strains of cannabis and hemp that has a low amount of THC and a high amount of CBD.

In terms of its potential benefits, CBG may be effective in treating pain, nausea, and inflammation. Research has shown that CBG may be an effective treatment for Glaucoma because of the way it interacts with the eyes’ endocannabinoid receptors, reducing pressure in the eye. In experiments on mice, scientists have also found that CBG can also decrease inflammation in the bowel. Cancer studies have also proven that CBG may also block receptors that trigger cancer cell growth.

CBN – Cannabinol

CBN, otherwise known as Cannabinol, is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that is a derivative of THC-A, one of the acids CBG-A converts to. It was the first cannabinoid to be isolated by scientists almost 100 years ago. CBN is produced when the hemp or cannabis plant is exposed to air and light over long periods of time. Oxidation breaks down the THC-A molecules and converts them into CBN. Because there is very little CBN in young cannabis plants, it is hard to extract. Regardless of that, sales of products containing CBN (mostly edibles) totaled more than $65M in California, Colorado, Nevada and Oregon in the last four quarters, according to Headset, a data analytics firm in Seattle.

In terms of its potential health benefits, CBN is best known for its sedative qualities, but it has also been used as an anticonvulsant. In a study on rats, scientists found that CBN could be used to relieve muscle and joint pain, and that when paired with CBD, the product was more efficacious. A study in 2005 also found the CBN could help delay the onset of ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease which affects cells in the brain and spinal cord.

CBC — Cannabichromene

CBC, also known as Cannnabichromene, is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid. It is the result of the conversion of CBG-A to CBC-A; once CBC-A is exposed to heat and light, it becomes CBC. CBC is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid that activates the CB2 receptors but does not bind well with the CB1 receptors in the brain.

In terms of its potential health benefits, studies have shown that CBC may be effective in fighting cancer because of its ability to inhibit growth of tumors. CBC is also purported to block pain and inflammation, particularly when paired with THC. As a result, it may be used to help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and post-operative pain. When paired with THC and CBD, CBC has also exhibited anti-depressive properties.

THCV – Tetrahydrocannabivarin

THCV, also known as Tetrahydrocannabivarin, is a psychoactive cannabinoid found mostly in Sativa strains of the cannabis plant. Unlike its cousin, THC, it does not elicit a case of the munchies because it actually suppresses the appetite instead of awakening it. Those who use THCV describe feeling alert and energized.

In terms of its potential health benefits, THCV may be able to be used to relieve stress, reduce the chance of experiencing a panic attack, and treat PTSD. Researchers are also exploring the use of THCV for treating Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and MS, as the cannabinoid is able to protect nerve cells against degeneration or damage.

Understanding the ECS (Endocannabinoid System)

The ECS is a unique communications system found in the human brain and body that affects many important functions. It appears that that the main function of ECS is to maintain bodily homeostasis — biological harmony in response to changes in the environment. It is made up of natural molecules known as endocannabinoids, and the pathways they interact with, as well as receptors and enzymes. The endocannabinoid system has been recently recognized as an important modulatory system in the function of brain, endocrine, and immune tissues. It appears to play a very important regulatory role in the secretion of hormones related to reproductive functions and response to stress. This system is very old, and all vertebrates produce endocannabinoids.

The ECS involves three core components: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. 

Endocannabinoids: These molecules are similar to cannabinoids, but they’re produced by the body. These help keep internal functions running smoothly. Your body produces them as needed, making it difficult to know what typical levels are for each. 

Endocannabinoid Receptors: These receptors are found throughout your body. Endocannabinoids bind to them in order to signal that the ECS needs to take action. The two main endocannabinoid receptors are: CB1 receptors, which are mostly found in the central nervous system; and CB2 receptors, which are mostly found in the peripheral nervous system, especially immune cells. Endocannabinoids can bind to either receptor. The effects that result depend on where the receptor is located and which endocannabinoid it binds to.

Enzymes: Enzymes are responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids once they’ve carried out their function. 

Understanding the Entourage Effect

 This term, the Entourage Effect, describes the way in which the compounds of a cannabis or hemp plant, including the cannabinoids and terpenes, interact with each other and the human body to be more effective than any one of those chemical components acting alone, which creates a synergistic effect. The Entourage Effect helps maximize the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids by improving efficacy and tolerability.

The Future of Infused Products Pairs the Majors with the Minors

While CBD and THC have a solid foothold in the infused product space, last year, more products featuring these major cannabinoids paired with minors emerged in the marketplace, and we expect this to continue as we move forward. As companies look to differentiate their products from others, one way to do so is by incorporating minor cannabinoids into their product formulas to complement the major with the goal of improving efficacy and health benefits. The key to success will be in the formulation process – utilizing the minor cannabinoids to create a synergistic effect with either CBD or THC.

As consumers become more knowledgeable about cannabis and hemp in general and learn about the many cannabinoids the plant has to offer, they will likely be more willing to try products that include minor cannabinoids. The more that cannabinoids are studied by researchers, the better consumers will be able to understand the benefits that both major and minor cannabinoids have to offer.

If you are in the process of evaluating emulsion suppliers for a product to be launched in 2022, the SōRSE R & D team would be happy to talk about your product development needs and discuss formulation possibilities with you. Book a call today!

Understanding Water-Soluble CBD

pipette

There are numerous CBD-infused products on the market today, from tinctures to tablets, from beverages to edibles. Many of these items contain water-soluble CBD — but what does that mean for a product producer trying to decide how to integrate CBD into a sparkling water or a gummy, or to the consumer trying to decide what product to buy? How is water-soluble CBD different from oil? Is it easier to produce a product with water-soluble? Does the body absorb water-soluble cannabinoids differently than oils?  

Consumers are curious about CBD – how it’s extracted from the plant, how it’s integrated into products, and what its potential benefits are. Here we will explain what water-soluble CBD is — how it is made, its benefits, the formats that it comes in, and what to look for when evaluating water-soluble products.    

What is Water-Soluble CBD?  

Simply put, water-soluble CBD is CBD that can be dispersed in water and other liquids. When extracted from the hemp or cannabis plant, CBD and other cannabinoids are oils, which can be challenging to work with in terms of the sensory profile, dosage control, reliable and repeatable onset and duration, manufacturing, and labelling.  

Making CBD water-soluble by emulsifying the cannabinoid gives infused food and beverage producers the ability to create products that taste great, are accurately dosed, and that offer predictable, repeatable experiences for the consumer. 

Water-Soluble CBD Benefits 

To understand the benefits water-soluble CBD in the form of an emulsion delivers, it’s important to explain how the body processes oil extracts first.  When an oil-based cannabinoid is ingested, its bioavailability is limited because the oil is hydrophobic, meaning that it is incompatible with or insoluble in water.  This means that the human body, which is over 60% water, has difficulty absorbing and processing the oil.  

Another factor is that first pass metabolism also inhibits bioavailability. When CBD oils are ingested orally, the GI tract absorbs them and delivers them to the liver via the portal vein. The liver metabolizes them, and from there, a limited amount moves to the circulatory system. The end result is that cannabinoids in oil form are not readily absorbed by the body, and the onset can take a few hours.    

In contrast, the body is more able to process and absorb water-soluble CBD because the oil, which is embedded in the emulsion, is recognized by the body as hydrophilic, or water-friendly. Emulsion technology breaks the oil down into small particle sizes for even dispersion and stability, which allows for greater absorption in the intestinal tract. This means that consumers experience the effects of water-soluble CBD between 10 and 20 minutes after ingestion.  

How is Water-Soluble CBD Made? 

Method #1: Physical Dispersion 

There are a few ways CBD can be made water-soluble; the first is through physical dispersion – think, shaking your bottle of oil and vinegar to create a salad dressing! While this method is easy to prepare and execute with low capital cost, the resulting material is prone to settling, clumping, and layering; it also does not protect the CBD oil from oxidation. In terms of the sensory profile, the weedy/grassy flavors and aroma persist.  

Method #2: Ultrasonic Dispersions 

The second is through ultrasonic dispersions, where very small droplets are produced through cavitation generated by propagating a sonic wave through the product. This capital-intensive method requires the use of surfactants and brings with it some challenges when it comes to scale up and labeling of organic or all natural products.   

Method #3: Co-solvents 

The third method involves the use of co-solvents, where the CBD oil is solvated in water-miscible solvents. While this method does provide decent solubility and uniformity, there are potential label claim concerns because of the solvents, the flavor and aroma persist, and the formula is prone to scalping – where the CBD adheres to the lining of the can.  

Method #4: Water-Soluble Emulsions 

The fourth method is through creating an emulsion. The act of emulsification reduces a cannabinoid’s oils, or any oil for that matter, to very small, protected droplets. An emulsifier is brought into the equation so that the oil droplets will remain dispersed as individual droplets as opposed to grouping back together and separating from the water again. With this process, the new liquid is an oil and water combination that plays nicely together. In fact, when done correctly, the oil droplets prefer to be uniformly and equally distributed throughout the surrounding liquid. Once an emulsion has been made, analytic equipment is used to test particle size, stability, and homogeneity – all important elements of a high–quality emulsion.  

If the cannabinoids were left in their-oil based state and a beverage product developer tried to add that oil to water, the oil would rise to the top. Not only would the first sip be a less than appealing one, but the cannabinoids would not be evenly dispersed throughout the beverage, which is an important factor to consider for a safe, consistent experience.   

An easy way to think about how emulsions behave is to imagine dropping food coloring into a glass of water. The color will eventually disperse evenly and completely transform the color of the water. (See video below) 

A successful emulsion will have consistent particle size, 12+ months’ stability and homogeneity, balanced density, and accurate dosing throughout the formula. A broken emulsion will show signs of creaming (oil rising to the top), ringing (oil settling around the edges), sedimentation (settling at the bottom), and flocculation (clumping).  

stability vs instability example emulsions

Forms of Water-Soluble CBD 

Water-soluble CBD typically comes in two forms: Liquid and Powder.  

Liquid is ideal for ready-to-drink beverages and personal care items.  

Standard Powder is ideal for baked goods and other food items.  

Agglomerated Powder, which SōRSE has offered since 2019, allows for rapid hydration when dropped into liquid. That makes it the best solution for ready-to-make beverages like stick-packs.  

How to Use Water-Soluble CBD  

There are a variety of water-soluble CBD products on the market, and many consumers wonder which is the best format for taking CBD. Some formulations such as drops or tinctures can be taken under the tongue (sublingually). This rate of absorption is relatively fast and efficient, because the tissue in the mouth and under the tongue is highly vascular – meaning the tissue contains blood cells which will absorb the CBD.  

Many consumers ingest water-soluble CBD orally, via products like beverages, edibles, capsules, tablets, or powders. When choosing between an edible like a brownie and a beverage, it’s important to know that the onset times can be very different given the amount of fat in the edible. As mentioned earlier, it takes longer for the body to process fat, which means that it may take longer for the consumer to feel the CBD’s effects after eating the brownie than they would if they had consumed a beverage.  

What to Look for in Water-Soluble CBD  

A high-quality water-soluble CBD will have the following qualities that will benefit the product producer and the consumer.  

    • Safe ingredients: The emulsion is made with safe ingredients commonly found in the food and beverage industry.   
    • Homogeneity: The emulsion evenly disperses when added to the product formula.  
    • Stability: The emulsion remains shelf stable for 12 months. 
    • Accurate dosing: Homogeneity and stability allows for near-perfect dosing and accurate label claims
    • Improved sensory: The emulsion can make an ingredient like CBD that has a bitter or disagreeable sensory effect more palatable. It can also allow a product producer to control the flavor profile.
    • Quality assurance: The producer of the water-soluble CBD should have established quality and safety standards, internal and third party testing, and documentation to verify quality and safety.  

If you are a product developer, selecting the water-soluble CBD to infuse your product with will be one of the most important decisions you make during formulation because it impacts the entire product development process as well as the consumer’s experience with your product. Taste, stability, product consistency, dosing, and scalability are all incredibly important attributes in any emulsion. Throughout this evaluation process, it’s important to remember that you are not only looking at the quality of the emulsion; you are also choosing a strategic partner that can support you from concept to commercialization.  

The team at SōRSE not only offers liquid and powder emulsions designed for easy integration into food, beverages, and personal care products, but also guidance through every stage of product development. If you are looking for a high-quality CBD emulsion powered by a team of experienced food scientists and product developers to get your product to market fast, now is the time to come to the SōRSE. 

Hops 101

hops plant

Table of Contents
WHAT ARE HOPS?
HISTORY OF HOPS
GROWING CLIMATE
HOP VARIETIES
GLOBAL PRODUCTION
HOPS: A KEY INGREDIENT TO CRAFT BREWING
HOP DELIVERY METHODS
HOP OIL
WATER-SOLUBLE HOPS: THE FUTURE OF HOPS IN BEER

Bell’s Hopslam. Dogfish Head. Discord. Latitude 48. Ruination. What do these words have in common? They are all the names of craft beers with a taste and aroma best described as “hoppy.” What does a hoppy beer taste like? That depends on the type of hops used, where the hops are grown, how much of the hops are integrated into the flavor profile, and how the beer is brewed.

Here, we’ll dive more into the world of hops and cover all aspects of this plant!

WHAT ARE HOPS?

Hops are the dried, cone-shaped female flower of a climbing perennial bine called Humulus lupulus that are integral to beer brewing because they impart bitterness and flavor as well as contribute to stability and shelf life. A bine is a climbing plant which climbs by its shoots; a vine is a climbing plant which climbs using suckers or tendrils. Hop plants are dioecious, meaning the male and females flower on separate bines.

There are four major components of a hop cone: the Strig, the Bracteole, the Bract, and the Lupulin glands.  

hop cone cross section
Source: Wikipedia

The strig is the base of the flower where the hop connects to the bine. This is where most of the tannins are found. Tannins give the hop medicinal properties via polyphenols, which are the major contributor to the harshness or smoothness of a particular hop’s bitterness.  

The bract is the exterior part of the hop comprised of leaf-like structures. The bract also contains polyphenols.  

The bracteole are located in the hop cone’s interior that give the cone its structure. 

Within the bracteole reside the Lupulin glands, which hold the resins and essential oils. When you break open a hop, the glands are yellow and resemble a pollen pouch; once the glands are exposed, the aroma of hops can be quickly detected. The Alpha acids, Beta acids, and essentials oils produced by the lupulin glands have the greatest impact on the beer’s taste and aroma, making them an important part of the brewing process. 

Alpha acids give beer its unique bitter taste and suppress bacterial growth.  

Beta acids contribute to a beer’s shelf life as well as the yeast’s ability to grow.  

Essential oils or terpenes like Humulene, Myrcene, and Caryophyllene add aroma and flavor. Typically, the notes they impart are described as “citrusy,” “earthy,” “spicy,” “piney,” or “herbaceous.” 

HISTORY OF HOPS

Today, hop-forward beers like IPAs and Pale Ales are featured prominently on store shelves and in tap rooms. The practice of integrating hops into the brewing process goes back hundreds of years. Prior to the 11th century, brewers used a mixture of herbs, called gruit, to flavor their beer. Between the 11th and 16th centuries, brewers started replacing the gruit with hops because hops were cheaper and more effective at preserving beer.  

In 1512, Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria introduced Reinheitsgebot, the beer purity law, which enforced the restriction of any ingredient outside of hops, barley, water and later, yeast, in every stein. This recipe served Bavaria very well for 500 years and Germany for the last 100.  In the late 1700s, hops became even more widely used as they were added to help maintain the quality of the beer, given some of the hop’s compounds’ antimicrobial properties; the iso-α-acids specifically act against bacteria. Hops were utilized for that purpose in the beer that was transported by ship from England to the British colonies in India, which is how IPA, India Pale Ale, got its name.  

Brewers utilize hops to develop complex, unique flavor profiles to meet consumer demands for craft brews. Brewers have options as to how and when to incorporate hops to the brewing process. Each option affects bitterness, aromas and flavors of the finished brew as well as time, machinery, and overhead costs of production. While the integration of hops into the brewing process presents challenges for brewers, new technology such as emulsion technology offers innovative solutions that may become the future of brewing with hops.

GROWING CLIMATE

hops plant

Hops grow best in temperate climates where it is warm during the summer and cold during the winter when the vine goes into dormancy and all of the plant’s energy goes to its roots. The plant thrives in the climate between the 35th and 55th parallels on either side of the equator.  

It typically takes three to four years for a plant to mature. Because hops can grow as tall as 20 to 25 feet, they need to be supported by trellises. When the bines on the hop plant begin to emerge, they grow upwards of six inches. At this point, they are trained to grow vertically, clockwise, around the trellis.

HOP VARIETIES 

While there is only one hop species, Humulus lupulus, there are several varieties, also known as cultivars, that brewers choose for their different properties.

Aroma Descriptors for Hop Cultivars 

Hop Cultivar Aroma 
Brewer’s Gold Black currant, fruity, spicy 
Cascade Flowery, citrus, grapefruit 
Chinook Spicy, piney, grapefruit 
Willamette Mild, slightly spicy, black currant, herbal 
Fuggle Delicate, minty, grassy, slightly floral 
Hallertau Mild, pleasant 

Hop varieties are classified into three categories: Bittering hops, Aroma hops, and Dual-purpose hops. With their high Alpha acid levels, bittering hops lend bitter flavor to beer. With low to medium Alpha acid levels, aroma hops mostly contribute to the beer’s smell. Dual-purpose hops offer aromatic properties as well as medium levels of alpha acids.

GLOBAL PRODUCTION

The United States and Germany are the largest producers of hops across the globe. The main producers of hops in the US are Washington, Oregon and Idaho; in Europe, Germany and Belgium; and in the southern hemisphere, New Zealand. In 2019 in the US, 113 million pounds of hops were harvested, an increase of almost 5% over 2018. For hops grown in the Pacific Northwest, Washington production represents 73.2% of total production, followed by Idaho with 15.2% and Oregon with 11.6%.  

HOPS: A KEY INGREDIENT TO CRAFT BREWING

beer hops

Hops are an integral part of the current craft brewing experience because of the unique flavors and aromas they impart on the beer as well as the role they play in preservation of the beer and its shelf life. Hops make beer more complex; they add layers of flavor and bitterness, contributing to the beer’s weight and mouth feel on the palate.  

Brewers use hops for three different reasons:  

  1. To add bitterness to the brew using bittering hops with their high Alpha acid levels 
  2. For adding aroma and flavor using aroma hops with their low to medium Alpha acid levels 
  3. To create haze, the cloudy appearance of the liquid that the hop particles create.

These three elements of hops are carefully adjusted and specified to serve the ever-evolving market and is evident in existing hop forward beer profiles. 

Dry & Earthy: English Pale Ale, English India Pale Ale, Belgian IPA, Ordinary Bitter 

Fruit & Full Malt Body: California Common, American Amber Ale, American Imperial Amber Ale  

Bold, Herbaceous & Citrus: American Pale Ale, American Fresh Hop Ale, American India Pale Ale, American Imperial IPA

HOP DELIVERY METHODS 

There are several ways brewers can add hops to their brews. Each method brings with them a unique set of challenges. 

Dry hopping is the process of steeping or soaking the hops in the wort during fermentation or conditioning which releases the hop cones’ essential oils. These oils add aroma and flavor to the beer without adding bitterness. When dry hopping, a brewer can choose to either use dried whole female flowers (cones) or hop pellets, which are produced by grinding up dried hop cones and pressing them into pellets. There are benefits and challenges to using these two different dry hop forms.  

Using whole hops imparts a very fresh aroma and flavor, and they are easier to remove from the brew, although they take up a considerable amount of space in the fermenter and absorb a fair amount of beer. Using hop pellets tends to create a more stable end product, with less risk of oxidation. While there are advantages to dry hop pellets, it comes at the loss of essential oils, which are integral to the sensory effect of the resulting brew.  

Adding dry hops to a brew has obvious benefits such as creating complex, unique flavor profiles; adding varying levels of bitterness; and extending shelf life. Currently some brewers choose not to filter out all of the hop particles to create haze or cloudiness in the final product.  

There are also unavoidable downsides to this method of hop integration.  

Hop creep is best described as continued fermentation in the keg or bottle after packaging. Hop creep is caused by the trace amounts of residual enzymes in the hops converting starch into sugar. In the presence of yeast, the sugars will ferment and will produce Diacetyl, an organic compound commonly used in the flavor industry for its buttery quality. Diacetyl is what will make a beer taste buttery. 

Hop burn is the process of over-hopping the brew to compensate for the fading of the hop aroma over time.  

Oxidation is the exposure of the hops to oxygen which can result in off flavors.  

Yield loss is the result of the dried hops rehydrating upon being added to the brew. The dried plant matter absorbs the wort, which can result in a 5% or higher loss of the entire batch, even with the use of centrifuges and filter presses. If the brewer is producing a double, triple or quad-hopped beer, which are higher in alcohol by volume, they can lose upwards of 12 to 15% of the entire batch. 

Brewers can create a hazy or cloudy appearance in their beer by not filtering out all of the hop particles. The downside to this is that it can shorten the beer’s shelf life, which can lead to more buyback after the “best before” date. 

HOP OIL 

Hop oil is the resinous, pure essential oil extracted from fresh hops. Brewers typically add hop oil in the boiling phase to provide flavor and aroma. There are two methods of extracting the oil from the cones, leaving the biomass: steam-distilling and liquid CO2 extraction. Because hop oil has a longer shelf life than fresh hops, a brewer can purchase it and store it until they are ready to use it. Utilizing hop oil has trended in popularity among brewers to preserve shelf space and mitigate issues associated with dry hopping, although this newer method of incorporating hops comes with its own set of challenges. 

The first significant challenge brewers face using hop oil is that oil is the oil is not water soluble. Because of this, 190 proof spirits such as Everclear need to be used as solubilizers, but those spirits are not always available on the market, and some jurisdictions do not allow for the addition of spirits in beer production.

Another challenge is unwanted separation and stratification that can occur in the finished product. When a brewer adds solubilized hop oil to the boil, which is mostly water, it will result in a visual separation between the two liquids where hop oil rises to the top of the water layer. During the boil, there is heat and agitation, where some of the oil is absorbed into the solution due to fats in the kettle. In this case, the conversion rate of the oil into the water is very low. If the brewer doesn’t keep the tank continually mixing, there will be stratification of the flavor layers. During the time where the tank cools down slightly and the solution is slowly drained from the tank, the hop oil rises to the top of the water solution and is eventually be drained off as waste. 

Dosing variance from batch to batch has proven to be an obstacle for brewers using hop oil. Because hop oil is highly concentrated and used at usage rates as low as 2 to 5ml per barrel, accurate dosing is extremely important. Minor variances can have significant impacts on the beer’s sensory profile. The margin for error is small, and working with potent, viscous oil increases the risk of dosing in excess leading to discarded batches.  

WATER-SOLUBLE HOPS: THE FUTURE OF HOPS IN BEER

Using its patent-pending water-soluble technology, SōRSE Technology emulsifies hop oil for a simplified one-step integration into the brewing process resulting in better-tasting beer. SōRSE water-soluble hop oil emulsions are customizable in aroma, flavor, and opacity.  

Enhanced Aroma and Flavor Profile

24 to 48 hours after the emulsion is added to the brew, there is a continued aromatic flavor bloom that can continue after packaging. Water-soluble emulsions give the brewer the ability to work with their supplier and fine tune the flavor profile using other terpenes and natural ingredients. Water-soluble hop oil emulsion also eliminates the possibility of hop creep and hop burn, both unwanted sensory experiences for the consumer. 

Visual Esthetic – Haze 

With hop emulsion, brewers can customize the beer’s visual attributes such as a hazy appearance without reducing its shelf life. The primary control point for creating haze is the size of the emulsified oil droplets; the smaller the droplet size, the greater the haze. The stability of the haze emulsion within the beer is 12 months and continues to maintain its integrity. 

Versatility 

Hop emulsion gives brewers the ability to create multiple uniquely flavored beers from one foundation base. Because the water-soluble oil is added at the end of the brewing process, the batch can be divided and infused with different emulsions formulated for specific sensory attributes.  

Consistent, Predictable Dosing

When working with highly concentrated hop forms, dosing is critical to the batch’s sensory profile. Because water-soluble emulsion are homogenous and have a low level of viscosity, the loading level of the hop oil can be adjusted to minimize dosing variance.  

Cost, Time, and Labor Savings

The time and labor saved using an emulsion includes sourcing, storing, and preparing the hops for processing as well as time in the kettle, filtration, and cleanup. The “drop and go” emulsion integration process is an efficient end-of-production step. Once the emulsion has been added to the bright tank, carbonation and bottling can begin. Because filtration loss is minimized, the yield per batch increases by 5+%. 

Because the emulsion is added post-filtration as opposed to incorporation processes at several and different brewing stages, the time and labor associated with dry hopping is eliminated and the production window is shortened. Increased throughput means a faster turnover of batches and an efficient use of materials.  

Sustainability and Environmental Footprint 

Sustainability practices are becoming more important to today’s producers and consumers, who are more aware of their environmental footprint. Replacing dry hopping with hop oil emulsion increases the brewer’s sustainability efforts; with the hop oil emulsion utilization rates, a quarter of the hops are needed for the same output. By replacing hop flowers or hop cones with hop oil emulsion, the amount of fuel needed for transport decreases. With a decrease in storage requirements, brewers reduce their energy usage. 

As the climate continues to change, some hop varietals are dying. Fractionation of aroma compounds allows the hops farmer to grow heartier varieties, strip away the off-flavors, and deliver rare aromas without the agricultural risk. 

The history of hops’ role in the brewing and production of beer is a rich one, going as far back as the 10th century. Today, brewers have fully embraced hops, given the varied flavors and aromas that the cones can impart on a beer, as well as the way it can alter a beer’s appearance, creating cloudiness and haze. 

Consumers of craft brews know what attributes they like in their beer—while one person may seek out a Porter for its depth of flavor, richness, and caramel or chocolate notes, another may choose an American Pale Ale for its medium body, its maltiness, and its citrus and floral flavor notes – otherwise known as its “hoppiness.” As craft breweries continue to create uniquely flavored beers utilizing the essential oils in the hop cone, there continue to be hurdles based on the hop delivery method.  

SōRSE Technology has designed a novel solution with a seamless, one-step delivery method for hop integration, providing a better-tasting, less labor-intensive craft beer. Designed with brewers and consumers in mind and backed by 200+ years of food and beverage product development experience, SōRSE hop emulsions provide a better hop delivery system for the brewer, and a better-tasting beer for the consumer.  

Great beer begins with great ingredients. Book a meeting today to speak with our team about the solutions we offer for beer and other beverages. For your hops, go to the SōRSE.

RESOURCES

Author Unknown, “Beer Without Hops: History of Gruit Ale,” https://2ndkitchen.com/breweries/gruit-beer-without-hops. 

Author Unkown, “German beer: 500 years of ‘Reinheitsgebot’ rules,”  

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36110288. 

Andrew Seawalish, “Hops: Anatomy and Chemistry 101,” http://bioweb.uwlax.edu/bio203/s2009/sewalish_andr/Humulus%20Lupulus%20-%20Common%20Hops/Hop%20Anatomy%20and%20Chemistry%20101.html

Rob Sirrine, “Growing Hops,” Michigan Freshhttps://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/michigan_fresh_growing_hops.

Diane Brown, “A Brief History of Hops and Its Uses,” https://www.canr.msu.edu/uploads/236/71516/ipm_academy_2014_intro_to_hops.pdf.

Ted Goldammer, “Hop Varieties Used in Brewing Beer,” The Brewer’s Handbook, https://www.beer-brewing.com/beer_brewing/beer_brewing_hops/hop_varieties.htm.  

Hop Growers of America, “2019 Statistical Report,” http://www.usahops.org/img/blog_pdf/276.pdf. 

Martin Stack, “A Concise History of America’s Brewing Industry,” EH.nethttps://eh.net/encyclopedia/a-concise-history-of-americas-brewing-industry/. 

Greg Engert, “The 7 flavor categories of beer: What they are, how to pair them,” The Splendid Tablehttps://www.splendidtable.org/story/2013/03/21/the-7-flavor-categories-of-beer-what-they-are-how-to-pair-them. 

Author Unknown, “The Brewing Process,” https://aslanbrewing.com/thebrewingprocess  

BSG Craft Brewing, “Re-evaluating dry hopping techniques,” Brewbound, https://www.brewbound.com/sponsored/re-evaluating-dry-hopping-techniques.

Employee Spotlight: Hilary Brown

hilary brown sorse employee

Meet our Director of Technical and Analytical Services, Hilary Brown, who has been at SōRSE since 2019. Drawing on her extensive knowledge and experience working in the culinary industry as a chocolatier and product developer, Hilary and her team specialize in the application of our emulsion into products to ensure stability and design studies to increase a product’s success. Hilary also offers technical support to our customers as they integrate SōRSE emulsions into their production processes; her background in developing safe, consistent, and scalable products makes her a valuable resource for our customers. 

hilary brown employee spotlight

What drew you to SōRSE?

I had worked in the Cannabis industry for a few years prior to joining SōRSE, and wanted to get more experience in working with CBD and gaining a broader understanding of the industry as a whole. The first time I met the team at SōRSE, I was very impressed with their analytical capabilities and the deep knowledge base of everyone I met. The breadth of knowledge about the industry and the chemistry of both cannabinoids and emulsions among employees was incredibly impressive. SōRSE seemed like a great company to grow and learn with as the industry expanded. 

Prior to SōRSE, you worked in confections and owned your own company. What skills that you have developed over the course of your career do you find yourself drawing on in your current role?

I like to find ways to solve problems, whether it be a production issue, a dosing issue, or how to get ingredients to incorporate together in a smooth and delicious way. When I first started at SōRSE, I was brought on as a product developer.  My past experience and understanding of how to incorporate functional ingredients that have a strong or bitter sensory profile into products where you might not want all of those sensory attributes to shine through came in very handy. As I have continued to grow at SōRSE, my role has changed quite a bit, though a lot of my experience continues to be relevant in my current position. 

My focus now is understanding production processes, natural variation in those processes, and how to dig into a system to find control points to make the process as a whole run smoothly and more efficiently while retaining desired potency in the final product.

What do you enjoy about your role, and what do you find challenging?

In my current role, I work with a wide realm of current and prospective clients at SōRSE.  I enjoy being able to help a customer with some small part of their production process and watching them grow. Seeing their product on retail shelves and seeing how they market their product and message is something that I really enjoy.

In addition, there are a lot of areas of the cannabis industry that are still unknown. Through testing and trying to pick through current data, I enjoy the process of drilling down to what is happening with the cannabinoids, what might be degrading and why, and how interactions are occurring. All of those are challenges that I enjoy and keep me learning.

Describe a day in the life of Hilary at SōRSE. What are some of the projects that you are currently managing?

Every day brings something new, which keeps me on my toes. I am often working directly with clients to work through any incorporation or testing issues they may have, and talking through their production processes to find how to best incorporate our emulsions. 

We do a lot of work in understanding the interactions between ingredients, the breadth of cannabinoid and terpene interactions with each other, as well as the interactions of the active ingredients with the product packaging. Looking at what causes degradation of different cannabinoids and how to control it have been focuses of the work I have been doing with the team in my role. Currently this involves large scale stability studies of finished beverages under various conditions, as well as product packaging tests, which involves testing how much UV light can penetrate packaging. We are also testing new emulsions for stability over time that our Research and Development team have created.

Can you describe a project that you worked on this year that you are particularly proud of?

This year we completed a second study on aluminum can liners and their interactions with beverages containing SōRSE emulsion. We completed the first study late last year, and while we got a lot of great data, there were still quite a few questions about secondary interactions that were remaining. The secondary study allowed us to look at ingredient interactions and how they affected the active ingredients interaction with various can liners. Each study was 120 days long and involved hundreds of samples being testing. It was an incredible amount of work for my analytical team.

Can you share some thoughts on how the cannabis industry has changed since you started working at SōRSE? What are the growth opportunities you see on the horizon? 

I had worked in the cannabis industry before coming to SōRSE, when recreational cannabis first became legal in Washington state. Over the course of that time, I have found that change is really the only constant in this industry. I have seen the industry grow up a lot. 

I think we will see growth in discovering and expanding the functional uses of more of the minor cannabinoids and how interactions of cannabinoids occur. I also believe there are a lot of growth opportunities. We have seen a big push for method development for analytical testing. I am excited to see companies open up about their processes and become more interested in talking to other organizations in the same space about what works and does not work for them in the industry, as well as what difficulties they are having. I have seen many companies begin to work together to find consensus in the industry and fix issues that are occurring for most companies across the board, in regulation, testing, and otherwise. 

What infused product would you create for consumer use and why? 

You are asking this question during winter, and before coming into the cannabis space, my background is as a chocolatier.  I think I would have to say Hot Chocolate Bombs infused with cannabinoids? It’s a popular uninfused product, it’s a cozy for cold weather, and chocolate and cannabinoids go very well together. 

Can you share something about yourself that not many people know about you? 

I cannot for the life of me keep any plants alive. I currently have a small potted evergreen tree that I have had for the past three months….That is my record for the longest length of time that I have been able to keep a plant alive.

hilary brown sorse employee

Powered by SōRSE Holiday Gift Guide to Cannabis Infused Products

sorse cannabis gift guide

‘Tis the season for holiday gift-giving! We all know that it can be a little stressful trying to find just the right present for the people on your list, so we created a cannabis Gift Guide of products that are Powered by SōRSE water- soluble technology that will be sure to bring a smile to the faces of the recipients. We think your friends, family, coworkers, and four-legged companions will love these products as much as we do! 

For coffee connoisseurs Altitude’s Everything Latte  

altitude cbd coffee

Americans love their cafes and coffee beverages. Altitude’s twist on the latte puts the fun into the category of functional beverages. The base of the drink is cold brew coffee and oat milk, which is then blended with CBD, turmeric, cocoa, cinnamon, chaga, lion’s mane mushroom, cordyceps, reishi, blue agave and sea salt. Can a coffee drink actually be good for you? In the case of the Everything Latte, chock full of these healthy ingredients, the answer is yes.  

For hikers, bikers, climbers and adventurers Aprch

aprch cbd sparkling water

As far as beverages go, APRCH is the perfect drink to have before, during, and after time in the great outdoors. This zero-calorie sparkling CBD water comes in three flavors: Lemon + Lime, Watermelon, Cherry-Lime, and Mint + Cucumber – with no added sugar. Each 12 oz can contains 30mg of CBD, L-Theanine, an amino acid that promotes relaxation, Vitamin C, and organic natural flavors.

For the canna-curious, Cann

Three cans Cann Beverages

This low-dose social tonic that comes in a variety of flavors like Lemon Lavender, Blood Orange Cardamum, Grapefruit Rosemary, and seasonal Cranberry Sage, are the perfect present for the person who’s interested in re-introducing themselves to cannabis and looking for an alternative to inhalation. Each can is infused with 4mg CBD and 2mg THC, lightly sweetened with agave nectar, and flavored with pure fruit juice. The sensory experience is just cann-tastic. Cann is available in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada and Rhode Island. 

For those who play hard outside and relax harder, COPA Beverages

copa sparkling cbd water

The team behind COPA have a true appreciation for the outdoors – from snowy mountains to the rugged northwest coast. They’ve created four sparkling waters infused with 25 mg CBD and fruit juice that are meant to refresh, recharge, and relax the outdoor adventurer. Their sparkling waters feature creative flavor pairings for an amazing sensory experience, like blueberry and pineapple in Blue Beary, and a blend of raspberry, blackberry, cherry, and black currant juices in Wildberry.  

For friends who are crazy for cocktails, Crisp and Crude

crisp and crude cbd drink

With Dry January right around the corner, a great gift for people who love festive drinks for Happy Hour are Crisp and Crude’s four sparkling ready to drink NA cocktails featuring botanical terpenes. Swap that gin and tonic for an OG Tonic made with juniper, gentian root, angelica, cardamom, coriander, and lime, or try a Mellow Mule which melds tropical pineapple with mint, earthy botanicals, and ginger. Trust us; you won’t miss the spirits with these terpene-forward cocktails! 

For the craft beverage fan and aficionado, Cruise

cruise cbd drink caffiene

Based in Chicago, Illinois, Cruise has created a line of nitro-infused, sugar-free CBD drinks featuring 25mg CBD, caffeine from organic green beans, and natural fruit extracts. The flavors include Mellow Mango, Blissful Blood Orange, Loosen Up Lemon, and  Peaceful Pear. What makes Cruise unique is the foamy head and rich texture the infusion of nitrogen creates, which results in an amazing sensory experience for the consumer. Your friends will thank you for helping them cruise through the day…with Cruise.

For Fido the lab and Felix the cat’s best human friends, Heirloom Pet Products

Heirloom Pet powered by sorse

Many of us know folks who love to spoil their pets rotten. Gifting them some of Heirloom’s water-soluble hemp infused products will be sure to result in wags and purrs. The Beef and Yam bone broth is a great addition to the food (or water!) bowl, and the bacon- flavored Road Trip Stick helps take the edge off before a vet visit or a car ride. You can be sure these gifts will earn a 5-paw review and make their owners furever grateful!

For culinary creators, ISCA Drinks

isca cbd tonic

Michelin chef Michael Caines named the company Isca as a way to pay homage to Exeter, England, his birthplace, once a Roman settlement, and the place where he created the drinks’ formulas. With its effervescence, high-quality ingredients including 20 mgs of CBD, Isca beverages pair well with many savory foods, which will be fun for your culinary-minded friends to experiment with. A four-cheese Mac and Cheese recipe paired with Isca Ginger Ale could prove to be a fun, gourmet version of a childhood favorite!

For those in need of some kalm and klarity, Kleer

Kleer powered by sorse

The last two years have been tough for many people — working from home, zooming from home, kids schooling from home – it’s been a lot! The perfect gift for the person who could use a little TLC in a can are Kleer’s sugar-free sparkling waters. Each can features 25mg CBD and 100% natural flavors. Passion Orange Guava is a blast from the past (who didn’t love POG as a kid?), Cucumber Lime is crisp and refreshing, and Berry Blast is the perfect combination of tart and sweet.

For the New Year’s Eve Party Host(ess), L8

L8 cbd drink

Headed to a New Year’s gathering to close out 2021 and ring in 2022? Make sure you bring L8 for the friend behind the festivities! They will appreciate the gesture and enjoy the four different drinks infused with 20mg of CBD and refreshing flavors – coconut vanilla, blueberry mint, ginger peach, and strawberry lemonade all deliver great flavors. Replenishing and rejuvenating, L8 is the perfect beverage to crack open on the first day of the new year, and every day after!

For those looking for a little “aloha” and an island oasis, Lei Back (plus a pair of flip flops)

lei back cbd drinks

When it’s cold and dark outside, who doesn’t long for sun, sand, and surf, and a beverage that makes them think of fun times at the beach or on vacation? Lei Back’s three sparkling beverage flavors – tangy and refreshing Pomelo, Guava, and Pineapple – all infused with 20 mg CBD, are the perfect remedy for the winter blues and remind us that summer is only six short months away!  

For friends who appreciate companies that make the world a better place, Mad Tasty

Mad Tasty cans held above bowl of ice.

Mad Tasty’s sparkling waters come in four refreshing flavors — Watermelon Kiwi, Grapefruit, Unicorn Tears, and Yuzu Citrus – and each can contains 20mg of CBD. Knowing that access to clean water is a problem in many impoverished communities face, Mad Tasty donates 12 ounces of clean drinking water for every 12 ounces of Mad Tasty sold through their partnership with Drop4Drop. Each time your friends drink a Mad Tasty, they’ll be making a difference too.

For canna-enthusiasts looking for an elevated experience, Major

Major powered by SoRSE

Small but mighty, THC-infused Major packs a punch at 100mg of THC per bottle. Major drinkers can choose their own adventure by picking their own dose – a few mgs for a gentle lift, a few more for a heightened occasion. Whatever the case, any one of the five flavors available — Orange Mango, Pink Lemonade, Blue Raspberry, Passionfruit and Grape — will bring a smile with every sip. Major is available at dispensaries in Washington, Oregon, California, and Arizona. 

For someone pining for palm tree paradise, Pink Cloud Beverages

pink cloud cbd beverage

Pink Cloud recently launched two island-inspired, CBD-infused sparkling beverages flavored with natural fruit juices: Pineapple, Yuzu, and Lime; and Lilikoi and Guava. Beyond transporting a person to the tropics with each sip, Pink Cloud is committed to preserving our oceans and beaches. The company donates a portion of their proceeds to Surfrider Foundation Oʻahu, an organization with a mission to protect and enjoy the ocean, beaches, and waves, for all people. 

For those on the go, Rip N Sip

rip n sip powered by sorse

We all have friends who are constantly on the move, rushing out the door for a run before meeting up for coffee. An easy way for that person to add CBD to their daily routine is by opening a packet of Rip N Sip and pouring it into whatever beverage they choose. Each 3 ml packet contains 20 mg of flavorless liquid CBD which disperses rapidly. It doesn’t get any easier than that to make your own CBD-infused drink! 

For Washingtonians (that’s state, not DC) who love their bubbles, Vertus

vertus cannabis champagne

December is a festive month, and Vertus, a cannabis-infused sparkling beverage, is the perfect elevated gift for people who love prosecco and champagne. It’s flavorful and effervescence, spirited and sophisticated. Each 750 ml bottle contains either 50 mg or 100 mg of THC, which makes it a great beverage to share with others. And imagine – no headache the next day!  Available at dispensaries in Washington state.  

For those who thrive on routine, a sample pack of W*nder

wonder cbd can breakfast club

A lot of consumers wonder when they should take CBD and what effect it might have on them given the time of day. The W*nder Meter makes it easy to figure out what beverage to drink when and why, like Breakfast Club, flavored with blood orange, ginger and mint for a boost of energy in the morning, or blackberry, blueberry and basil-based Night Moves for some chill before bedtime.  

For fans of fruit, Zenly Sparkling Water

zenly cbd beverage

Drinking sparkling water is a great way to stay hydrated, and it’s even better when it’s enhanced with fruit flavor and infused with CBD. Friends who love the tartiness of citrus will love Zenly’s Blood Orange and Lime Mojito, while friends who like a hint of sweetness and the tastes of summer and fall will appreciate Berry Bliss and Honeycrisp Apple. Whatever the case, dehydration will never be a problem once they start drinking Zenly.

What Time Is It? It’s Beer Thirty!

BREWING INDUSTRY GUIDE: BEER TREND PREDICTIONS FROM A FLAVOR SCIENTIST

Beer Thirty. If you’re wondering what this term means, consider the saying, “It’s 5:00 o’clock somewhere!” That refers to the hour when people clock out of work and head to the pub or the bar to get drinks with their co-workers and friends.

Beer Thirty is essentially the same thing – except specifically directed at those who prefer an IPA or a Stout over a gin and tonic or a glass of wine.  It’s a call to action of sorts – the Urban Dictionary refers to it as “the time of day at which drinking a beer becomes necessary.” 

beer thirty meaning

So who coined this term? “Beer Thirty” is  actually a  song written by Ronnie Dunn and Terry McBride that was recorded in 1999 by the country duo,  Brooks and Dunn.  Here’s a portion of the lyrics: “Got my paycheck, I’m on my way/It’s finally Friday, my kind of day/I punch the clock, I hit the road flying/It’s beer thirty, a honky tonk time.”   

In 2020, the popular country band Florida Georgia Line also released a song titled “Beer:30.” The song starts like this – “It’s beer thirty, and I’m thirsty/And I been workin’ like a dog all week long/So maybe somethin’ cold won’t hurt me.” That something cold is probably not a glass of water! 

You can see from the songs that “Beer Thirty” is a call to action of sorts. “What time is it?” “It’s Beer Thirty!”  There is no doubt people around the globe love their beer, and in the US, craft brews are particularly popular. To give a sense of perspective on how much the industry has grown, in 1990, there were less than 70 breweries in operation in California; 10 years later, in 2000, there were over 200. In 2021, there are more than 1,100 breweries operating in California. That’s tremendous growth over 30 years.   

There are a ton of great beers on the market today made by small and large craft brewers alike, which give the consumer no shortage of options when choosing their beverage to celebrate BeerThirty with their friends and coworkers.  

Beer Thirty: Powered by SōRSE

BREWING INDUSTRY GUIDE: BEER TREND PREDICTIONS FROM A FLAVOR SCIENTIST

A lot of consumers who have Beer Thirty on their minds are focused on a beer’s flavor – and that flavor is often influenced by hops, the flowering  bine that contributes to a beer’s smell, taste, mouthfeel, and haze.  Like cannabis,  hops’ botanical cousin, hops’ essential oils can be extracted from the plant to be infused in products. That said, the extractions are tricky to work with because they are viscous and sticky, but the  SōRSE R & D team solved that problem by creating hops-derived water-soluble emulsions. 

At the beginning of September 2021, SōRSE debuted the hop-derived brewery product line at the Craft Brewers Conference in Denver, the largest craft brewing industry gathering in the United States. Using our patent-pending water-soluble technology,  SōRSE emulsifies hop oil and other functional ingredients to solve for common challenges among brewers. These products can be used as a beer recipe building blocks or as corrective agents in the brewing process. The three newly released brewery line products are Haze Addition, Mouthfeel, and Hop Topper. 

Haze Addition allows brewers to customize a beer’s visual appearance, resulting in a deep, stable haze. This product solves for a long-standing issue by creating a haze that maintains its stability over the shelf life of the beverage.   

Mouthfeel gives brewers the ability to create the feeling a full-bodied brew offers, providing an instant correction for watery, thin beers. Mouthfeel is also particularly useful for creating low and non-alcoholic beers that mimic the experience of drinking higher gravity styles. 

Lastly, Hop Topper gives brewers the opportunity to create a boost in flavor and aroma in their beverages. It is a full spectrum hop oil emulsion that provides and enhances hop aroma in beers, hop seltzers, or other non-beer products.   

When it comes to infusing flavor and aromatic hop qualities that consumers look for in their craft beer at Beer Thirty,  SōRSE’s brewery products are the most efficient,  stable delivery system for consistent, great-tasting beer.  SōRSE is currently working with lighthouse customer Hi-Wire Brewing, an innovative brewery based in Asheville, NC which won a GABF gold medal in the Experimental Beer category announced at CBC.  Hi-Wire is using Haze Addition for their Lemon Meringue Blond Ale.  

Great beers for Beer Thirty begin with great ingredients. If you are a brewer or product developer who would like more information on our hop-derived brewery product line, book a call with our team today to explore our products. Come to the SōRSE for your hops needs in 2022! 

SōRSE Producers Series: W*nder

wonder cbd can breakfast club

For the fifth post in our Producers Series, we spoke with beverage industry veteran, serial entrepreneur, and force of nature, Tanisha Robinson, Founder and CEO of W*nder, pronounced Wonder. W*nder is a hemp-infused, naturally flavored sparkling beverage that comes in four flavors and meant to be consumed at specific times of day. wonder cbd can breakfast club

To start your day off on the right foot with a beverage full of energizing flavors, try “Born to Run.” Need a pick-me-up in the afternoon to regain your focus? Love cucumber-flavored waters boosted with lime and mint? Reach for a “Fast Times.” 

In this piece, Robinson shares what inspired her to create a CBD-infused beverage, how the company educates consumers on CBD through the W*nder Meter, how the company supports their community through the 420 Rule, and why she chose SōRSE as W*nder’s emulsion supplier. 

 

Can you start by sharing a bit of your background with us, and what inspired you to create a cannabis-infused beverage? 

I have been a tech entrepreneur for most of my career, and then was hired to be the first CEO of BrewDog USA. I really love how much beverage brings people together and can be a part of so many key moments in a person’s life.  

I ultimately became the Chief Disruption Officer, and a big part of my role was to think about “What’s next?” in beverage. It was from that work that I arrived at the conclusion that plant-based functional beverages are a huge opportunity, with cannabis being a component of our larger strategy.  

What are your company’s mission and core values, and have they evolved since the company’s inception? 

We believe in plant-based performance, which includes cannabis, and many other great plants that can improve someone’s day. We also have the 420 Rule – we plan to reinvest 4.2% of our profits to support BIPOC entrepreneurs who have been disproportionately harmed by the war on drugs. 

How do you educate your consumers on CBD and how (and when) to use your beverages in their daily routine? 

The W*nder Meter and using known vitamins and adaptogens helps people understand what functional benefits they can expect. We have been very intentional from a packaging standpoint to ensure that our products are intuitive and accessible. 

We also spend a lot of time training and working with our distributors and retailers to ensure they understand what CBD is and isn’t. 

What were the most challenging parts about getting your product to market? 

The lack of clarity from the FDA allows for bad products and bad actors in the space. Clear regulation on CBD as a dietary supplement will be extremely helpful for the legitimate businesses and products to access mainstream retail channels. 

How did you find SōRSE, and why did you choose SōRSE’s emulsion solutions over other providers?

We want to have the highest quality product out there, which is why we work with best-in-class suppliers. We chose SōRSE because of their focus on consistency, science, and evolving the technology, which improves the overall function and experience of W*nder. 

wnder can fruit

Why did you choose to put “Powered by SōRSE” on your product?

It tells our consumers our product is legitimate, safe, high quality, and they’ll have a consistent experience. 

Are there any new W*nder products on the horizon you can tell us about? 

We always have projects in the works!  We’re looking forward to launching an all-day formulation next year called “Nine to Five,” and we have non-infused products which will be available in the market before the end of the year. 

What excites you most about being in this industry? What is your prediction for the cannabis-infused product space in 2022? 

It’s an exciting space, and we love hearing from our customers how much W*nder helps them get through the day. I think plant-based and cannabis beverages will continue to see massive growth in 2022. It will be interesting to see which brands really dominate in each market – we certainly think we have a good chance to be one of them.

wonder cbd beverage born to run box

SōRSE Producers Series: Lei Back

lei back cbd drinks

For the fourth post in our Producers Series, we spoke with Kirk Pearson, beverage industry veteran and co-founder of Lei Back, a tropical hemp-infused sparkling water. The company is based in Northern California, and there are two flavors on the market — Guava and Pomelo – with a third, Pineapple, coming soon! If you need a little “Aloha” and island vibe in your life, look no further than Lei Back. The tropical flavors will make you feel like you’re sitting on a warm sandy beach under a palm tree, even in the middle of winter. Here, Pearson shares what inspired him and his partner to create a CBD-infused beverage, the qualities it takes to start a company and get a beverage to market, why they chose SōRSE as their emulsion supplier, and a hint about what’s to come in 2022.  

lei back cbd drinks

Can you start by sharing a bit of your background with us, and what inspired you to create a cannabis-infused product line?  

My background is in beverage alcohol. When I was 21, I got my start in the industry when I went to the American Brewers Guild and about the science of beer production, then worked as a commercial brewer for a few years. That gave me a solid background in recipe development and packaging. Eventually I got out of production and into sales. About 7 or 8 years ago, I started my first beverage company – cocktail mixers – and then got the itch to do something else. I wanted to create something impactful, something meaningful. Being part of the cannabis/CBD industry in this early stage of infused products was exciting – because we could be on the ground floor of this, elevate the infused beverages, and bring them to mainstream society. We want to be part of an up and coming industry that helps people. 

What are your company’s mission and core values? 

 Our mission is to produce high quality natural products that the consumer can trust. We also believe in being transparent with our customers. We know that if the consumer can’t trust the companies making products in this marketplace, the category runs the risk of failing.  

How do you educate your consumers on CBD and how to use your product in their daily routine? 

It’s a little tricky right now, because until the FDA weighs in on CBD as an ingredient, we can’t talk a lot about its benefits. That said, we try to put as much information and educational points on our website as we can. It’s also important for us in a retail setting to verbalize what we believe the benefits are to a buyer – but it’s hard to say whether or not that information will be communicated to a consumer. Hopefully sooner than later, we will be able to pass our message to consumers more freely.  

lei back cbd drinks

What’s been challenging about getting your product to market? 

Before Governor Newsome signed AB 45, the bill legalizing the sale of beverages, foods, and supplements containing hemp-derived CBD in California, the greatest challenge has been distribution. Because large distributors have been wary to work with companies making CBD products, we’ve been working with smaller distributors, which means we’re not reaching as many retailers as we’d like. We’re just started getting into restaurants and bars as they are getting back on their feet and opening up. We launched in September of 2020 – right in the heart of COVID – and it was difficult to get in front of buyers and talk about why they should be carrying our drinks.  

How did you find SōRSE, and why did you choose SōRSE’s emulsion solutions over other providers?  

I was introduced to SōRSE by a competitive brand. We have been in communication with other founders and executives of CBD beverage brands since our inception. We had launched our first batch using another emulsion provider and were not satisfied with the results. I reached out to a couple of contacts who recommended a few other options, including SōRSE. I was drawn to the quality of the product and the SōRSE team. It’s been very easy working with you. I look at this relationship as a partnership – and I believe SōRSE cares about how we work together as well. From Day 1, I have felt comfortable with whomever I have talked to at the company.  

Why did you choose to put “Powered by SōRSE” on your product? 

This goes back to being transparent about our product, and being as open and honest with the consumer as we can be. The moniker “Powered by SōRSE” signals to the consumer that they are buying a high quality, safe product. And a curious consumer will potentially go to the SōRSE website and find all the valuable information that is there.

Is there a lesson you’ve learned while launching a cannabis-infused product that you’d be willing to share?  

 You have to be nimble, open-minded, and willing to change. All of this needs to be done for the betterment of your product and the betterment of the category. I’ve learned a lot from the successes and failures of the businesses I’ve been a part of, and I take those lessons with me as I move forward with this Lei Back.  

lei back drink pouring

Where do you see your company and brand a year from now? Any plans for new products/flavors in the coming months? 

We have plans for expanding the Lei Back line, in beverage and beyond.  We’re really excited about our growth, but you’ll have to wait to hear the specific details!