Benefits of SōRSE From a Cannabinoid Product Development Standpoint

aluminum cans lined up

Bringing any new product to the consumer marketplaces is an exciting process. First, there’s the great idea you come up with; then, there’s the research that goes into vetting that idea. Once you’ve identified your target audience and confirmed there is a need for your product in the marketplace, it’s time to look for suppliers, manufacturers and the packaging that will make your idea come to life.

Here at SōRSE, we talk a lot about the qualities of products like safety, stability, homogeneity, and sensory and what they mean for the consumer experience. However, many of our technology’s best attributes show up well before a product gets to the end user. These are the ways that SōRSE can help you through the classic stages of product development. 


A fast, easy-to-use water-based solution allows for creative product ideation, and even new product categories. Ten years ago, who would have thought that consumers would be able to walk into a dispensary and be able to choose from a variety of infused beverages like they can today – from low dose tonics to high dose fruit drinks. As consumer behavior around cannabis use changes, brands need to continue thinking outside of the box for the next product to meet consumer needs.


After you have brainstormed product possibilities with your team, it’s time to sift out the winners from the ones to shelf. To know what is most likely to succeed in market — or to create a new market — you need data about consumer behavior, current trends, and market performance of your potential suppliers. As an emulsion provider, SōRSE is proven in market; you can look to our customers’ successes to help refine the viability of your ideas. We also have an experienced R & D team to help you identify complex problems in advance of production. We can help you figure out and understand your unknowns. 

The cannabis market is a dynamic, innovative, evolving place. Customer profiles and categories don’t fall along traditional lines; the appeal of CBD and THC cut across demographic lines like little else. Rather than predicting preferences based on age, gender, etc., we should look to the customer’s reasons for choosing cannabis. Potency, for example, is one of the key market decisions you will need to make. For the medical user, cost per milligram (mg) is the primary value, whereas recreational consumers are more likely to prioritize taste. Fortunately, SōRSE works with both low and high potencies. You can optimize for the market you are trying to reach.


Building an emulsion technology is not as simple as applying existing food science techniques to cannabis oils. Emulsion tech can be much more complicated when working with the 30 or more compounds that make up broad spectrum cannabis concentrates. Even distillates typically have impurity percentages in the low double digits, all with different weights and attributes. The amount of work perfecting a cannabis oil emulsion is staggering. Fortunately, it’s all we focus on at SōRSE. 

For a product developer, another hurdle can be the supply chain. Vetting reliable sources for materials can be time-consuming, and there’s still no guarantee that they will remain reliable. With the regulatory landscape constantly evolving, it’s also important to stay on top of the requirements from state to state. Knowing these challenges our customers can face, SōRSE has developed a network of manufacturing locations and multiple well-established, high-quality suppliers. If something changes in terms of regulatory, we can respond quickly, and there will be no interruption in supply. 


The nuts & bolts of formulation are where SōRSE shines brightest. Rather than having to spend thousands of dollars on equipment and months of employee time creating an emulsion only to have it fail stability testing, your team can hit the ground running and put your focus where it belongs: sensory, efficacy, and scalability. SōRSE blends effortlessly into most water-based preparations, so it’s a good choice if you have already done some development work.


Once you know you have got a winning formulation on your hands, it’s time to put it into action. In the run-up to launch, you’ll be able to generate excitement as a product #PoweredbySōRSE. You’ll benefit from the institutional knowledge of our team, who have decades of experience in food and beverage science, emulsion, and cannabis as you strategize for your product’s launch into the marketplace.

With the edible and beverage categories of cannabis products continue to gain a foothold in the marketplace, water-based emulsions appeal to the values of product developers. They are safe, innovative, convenient, palatable, versatile, and adaptable – and they are changing the way users consume cannabis. When you choose SōRSE as your emulsion supplier, you have a strong team behind you every step of the way.  To begin the journey getting an infused product to market this year, book a call with SōRSE today.  

5 Common Mistakes Made When Entering Into the Cannabis Market

Professional struggling at work in office.

The appeal of the cannabis industry is powerful: Financial success while doing fundamental good in the world. Entrepreneurial opportunity for those traditionally excluded from the business world. Fame and prestige for industry leaders. The opportunity — and indeed the demand — to innovate.

It’s not a surprise that many people want to be a part of it. Cannabis is an industry growing in both scope and legitimacy, and new members jump on board each year. Veteran members have a responsibility to help them avoid the pitfalls. Here are some common mistakes companies make when entering into the cannabis market:


Over the years, many entrepreneurs have been eager to jump into the cannabis space, and they all have made the reasonable assumption that the fundamental rules of other industries will be at play here. Unfortunately, the regulatory landscape, particularly as it pertains to THC, is like nothing else in the American economy. No other ingredient is federally labelled Schedule 1 — reserved for highly addictive drugs with no medical value — yet is legal medicinally, recreationally, or both on a state level. Not only is cannabis regulated differently from state to state, regulations are constantly changing and are inconsistently enforced. There’s a reason the cannabis industry has been called the Wild West.

For executives coming to cannabis from other industries, it is critical to know your audience and the complexities of the marketplace. Most people who work in cannabis have a deep knowledge of the plant – its history, its anatomy, its chemistry, and its benefits – and are passionate about making it more accessible across the United States. Company leaders who have done their homework and aren’t afraid to ask questions will garner the trust of their employees; those who don’t will have a hard time earning the respect of their coworkers and other industry leaders.

Cannabis companies are prohibited from making any medical claims, which can be frustrating since most customers interested in both CBD and THC are looking for therapeutic effects. Because of this, euphemisms come heavily into play in branding. Some companies employ a compliance officer to review all customer-facing verbiage.

If you are working with THC, you will not be able to write off any of your standard business expenses on your federal tax return. This leads companies to fractionate their businesses, with separate companies handling payroll, marketing, and retail, which adds complexity and more paperwork. Similarly, because interstate commerce is federally governed, THC products can never be shipped across state lines, even from one legal state to another. That means that every state in which you operate must have its own THC license, processing facility, and distribution network, even if the product being sold is identical. As a result, trying to expand your product’s reach to another legal state can be expensive. Depending on where you’re setting up shop, you will have different packaging limitations for text size, package size, even the colors you can use.

The other thing that differentiates the cannabis market from other markets is its demographic diversity. People from all walks of life, all ages, races, genders and income levels enjoy cannabis. Previous categorizations can be a guide, but often customer profiles don’t match the real world. You may be surprised by who buys your product, and who doesn’t.


Because of the limited regulation of the cannabis industry, it’s tempting to seal deals on a handshake. That’s a mistake in any business, but the ramifications are amplified in this tumultuous landscape. When — not if — one of your partners fails to deliver on their commitments, it’s hard enough to enforce a contract to begin with, let alone in this transitional market. There’s not usually a lot of money to spare for legal battles, either. Take the time to write out the terms of your agreements and spend the money to have them reviewed by a contract lawyer.


Sourcing is one of the biggest hurdles facing cannabis companies. Choosing a supplier to provide consistent, clean cannabinoids is critical for your business, but the process finding that company can be time-consuming. Even partners that start out looking great may end up failing you though logistical insufficiency or a change in leadership integrity. Redundancy is your insurance policy. Cannabis companies should seek out several reliable suppliers, not just one. At the outset, don’t accept an exclusive relationship; work up to it through years of consistent performance.


In a bid for legitimacy, many startups are hiring from industries outside the legacy cannabis market. That can be very useful for expanding the scope of cannabis applications and form factors, but without a holistic understanding of the plant, innovation can be dangerous. Accrued generational knowledge from growers and pre-legalization formulators can help you avoid costly formulation mistakes and contraindications. As a successful cannabis industry friend of mine puts it, “Always make sure you’ve got at least a couple of seasoned veterans on staff.”


There is no doubt that CBD will be around for a long time and likely become a health and wellness staple. That said, the buzz can’t sustain this volume; products cannot be successful long-term on the basis of the inclusion of CBD alone. Currently, thoughtful formulations that focus on ingredient synergy between cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and herbal blends have piqued consumer interest. Of course, this could all be nullified depending on the speed of the rescheduling of THC. Companies need to be ready for everything and anything — and be able to pivot on a dime.


Cannabis is an exciting and promising industry to be in, particularly as the federal government reassesses its Schedule 1 designation and the positive shift in public opinion on cannabis use. If you are thinking about entering the industry with an infused product in 2023, the team at SōRSE would love to talk to you about your product and how we can support your brand as you move forward with production. Book a call with us today!

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

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!  

SōRSE Producers Series: Altitude Beverages

altitude cbd coffee

For the third post of our Producers Series, we asked our Powered by SōRSE partners at Altitude Functional Beverages, Laura Melgarejo Silva and Thomas Angel, to share their company’s story.  

altitude cbd coffee

Their first beverage on the market, the Everything Latte, is chock full of high quality, beneficial ingredients – and just launched! The latte’s base is cold brew coffee sourced from Fair Trade beans, and it’s blended with oat milk, Turmeric, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, Reishi, Chaga, Cocoa, Cinnamon, Blue agave, a pinch of sea salt, and CBD to make a truly delicious, good-for-you beverage to start your morning or give you that pick-me-up you need in the afternoon. Here, they share what inspired them to create an infused functional beverage, how they came to work with SōRSE, and what excites them about the industry and where their company is headed.  

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

Prior to 2020, we had been living in Beijing for a few years for work. When the pandemic hit, Laura was able to get back to Colombia to see her family, and I joined her a few weeks later. We were there for three months – and during that time, China’s borders closed, so we were unable to return. We ended up moving back to the US in July, and as we were adjusting to life here, we were thinking a lot about our lives and what we wanted to do next.  

We had been exploring CBD and other functional ingredients and found that when we were taking them consistently, we were feeling the benefits. The hard part was being disciplined about taking them – and we really felt the difference when we stopped taking them. We knew that this was clearly a budding market, and we were thinking about what we could create that would replace the powders and tinctures we had been using. There were already a lot of infused sparkling waters on the market, so we decided to create a coffee beverage that we could incorporate to our morning routine –a beverage that tasted great and featured a lot of beneficial ingredients that are good for you and played well together. We want our beverages to be good for you and enjoyable.   

What are your company’s mission and core values? 

Our mission is to make functional beverages that are delicious and accessible. We want to dispel the myth that functional ingredients make a product taste “earthy” – that it is possible to create something tasty with the right combination of ingredients and flavors.  In terms of accessibility, a lot of functional ingredients are quite expensive – and that initial entry cost can prevent consumers from giving a product a try. We want to offer a product that is accessible to everyone – and knowing that not everyone drinks coffee, we will be expanding our line to include a Coconut Chai latte, a Matcha Pandan latte, and sparkling teas featuring adaptogens to take the place of cocktails in the evening.    

altitude cbd coffee bike shoes

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

We feel lucky that we have entered the marketplace in a time when consumers are pretty aware of CBD and have had some exposure to it. What we hear the most from people are comments like this: “I’ve heard CBD is good for me; I took it once, but I didn’t feel anything.” That’s when we realized that we need to educate our consumers on the idea that CBD needs to be routine-based to make it efficacious and effective. Right now, we are going to a lot of farmers markets and doing samplings at stores to have that face-to-face customer interaction we have missed for a year and a half. These moments have been impactful because it’s given us the opportunity to share our product and talk about why we created the formula the way we did.  

In terms of social media, we use our website and Instagram as our main platforms for consumer education, but we are looking at TikTok as a place to create video vignettes that would answer questions like, “What is CBD? Why is it important to use it regularly?” and “What are adaptogens? What are the benefits of taking functional mushrooms?” We feel like TikTok could be a good place for us to reach new consumers.  

What have been the most challenging parts about getting your product ready to hit the market? 

We are fortunate and lucky to have great partners like SōRSE in this adventure, and we’ve also garnered a lot of support and resources from the community here in Bend, Oregon. What’s been challenging is getting distribution with larger distributors and larger chains – it’s a very competitive marketplace. We are also funding this operation ourselves, so we are mindful about all the decisions we make and the partners we choose. We recognize that we have to work twice as hard to gain the level of access to the market that others have. We welcome those kinds of challenges, because we believe in the product we’ve created and we know the value of what we are bringing to the table.  

On a product design level, getting the balance of flavors in our beverage right has certainly been challenging. I can’t add up all the hours that we spent working on the formula while staining our kitchen counters with turmeric and cocoa powder. It definitely took a couple of months of experimenting to get the ratios right.   

How did you find SōRSE, and why did you choose SōRSE’s emulsion solutions over other providers? Why did you choose to put “Powered by SōRSE” on your product? 

Because our mission was to make functional beverages delicious and accessible, we spent a lot of time at the beginning evaluating and testing different CBD products for their flavor profile. The other thing we were evaluating was consumer confidence in our potential CBD supplier. Because we wanted to be transparent about the ingredients we were putting into our beverage, we wanted to be sure that we were using a high quality, safe product, and that the COA would verify the quality of the product. I wanted to work with a company based in the Northwest, and I found SōRSE online. I reached out and started working with the sales team, and it just clicked from the onset.  

We feel very at ease with the SōRSE team and appreciate their transparency and their willingness to collaborate. We got a sample of SōRSE and another company’s emulsion, put them in clear vials and let them sit for a week. The SōRSE emulsion was still emulsified – there was no settling, nor any off taste or smells. The other sample separated and had an odd chemical smell to it. That made the decision easy!  

That was October of 2020 – and since then, the whole SōRSE team has been invested in seeing us succeed. Now, we have close to 100 accounts, we’re in three states, we have direct to consumer business – it’s a dream that has become a reality, and the latte continues to gain traction with consumers.  

SōRSE has a team of experts who we can turn to when we have questions about regulatory, flavor – just about anything. The moniker to us represents consumer confidence, and that is incredibly important to us as we build our brand. At this juncture, to be connected to a company like SōRSE with a reputation for creating a safe, consistent product is critical. We want our consumers and retailers to trust that we have chosen the best CBD product out there that is created and constantly evaluated by a team of trained scientists.  

altitude adaptogenic coffee

Is there a lesson you’ve learned throughout the process of getting your product off the ground that you’d be willing to share? 

As a founder and a business owner, you definitely need to believe in your idea and promote it. That said, our biggest lesson learned is listening to what the consumer is saying and make changes based on their feedback. We have incorporated feedback from production run to production run because we value the comments our customers who are part of our loyal fan base have made. Their opinions are very important to us, and that is one of the reasons why we are expanding our offerings to chai and matcha. 

What excites you most about being in this industry?  

Right now, it’s great that we are operating in an industry that is not dominated by big players. That provides a unique opportunity to grow our brand and win customers utilizing the platforms that have a wide reach. It’s also exciting to be in a space where you are improving people’s lives. My favorite emails are the ones from people who have been drinking our beverage and rave about how much better they are feeling and how good it tastes.  

Making a positive impact on people’s lives is really satisfying. Our tagline is “Live like you give a damn” – instead of living day to day, we hope that our consumers are making conscientious decisions about how they can improve their lives, including eating and drinking products that are good for us and that taste good! 

altitude cbd coffee paddleboard

Why Do Most Cannabis Products Taste So Bad?

fruity drinks in mason jars

Let’s be honest. Many cannabis-infused products, both CBD and THC, taste awful. The reason why is simple: cannabinoid extracts are intensely bitter, earthy, and difficult to work with, owing respectively to the cannabinoids themselves, terpenes, flavonoids, and the complex interactions between them and other ingredients.  

When the plant material impacts the flavor profile so intensely, formulating infused foods and beverages is a huge challenge. In the past, consumers bought products for their effects, not for their taste – but now consumers are looking for great-tasting, effective products. Companies that can offer both efficacy and great taste will have an enduring market advantage. 

In most emulsified cannabinoid products, carrier oils, preservatives, and surfactants intensify the bitterness. When cannabinoids are broken down into small particles for an emulsion, that creates more surface area for the bitter compounds to interact with the taste receptors. Fortunately, SōRSE emulsion allows for masking any bitter flavors with minimal sugars and additives. 

Increasing the concentration of cannabinoids increases the bitterness, a particularly challengingissue for product formulators trying to create tasty CBD-infused products. 


Options for dealing with bitterness fall into two main categories: incorporation or masking, which can be thought of as either going with the flow, or fighting it. 

Incorporating the Flavors of Cannabinoids

Incorporation means accepting the naturally bitter, complex flavor of cannabis and working with it rather than trying to hide it. It means thinking of the flavor of the extract as an ingredient in the overall sensory formulation. Generally, we experience sweet, sour, salty, and umami tastes positively; however, bitterness is a component in many pleasant tastes.  

Flavors that are naturally bitter, such as peppermint, chocolate, coffee, citrus, or beer, trick the brain into incorporating the bitterness into the familiar flavor, such that it doesn’t register as bitter, but acknowledges it as “peppermint, which is a little bitter.” 

Many cannabinoids are bitter, and customers can accept that bitterness is the cost they pay for the effect, or even celebrate and cultivate it, much as we do with caffeine or alcohol. 

The trouble with this approach is it limits flavor options. The market is laden with chocolates, sour candies, and peppermint mouth sprays. The industry needs to evolve and match the sophistication of today’s consumers with flavors that appeal to them. 

Masking the Flavors of Cannabinoids

Masking is a more traditional, low-tech option that works similarly to incorporation but has the goal of completely erasing the taste of the cannabinoids rather than complementing them. The modern version involves bitter blockers as a process aid, which interfere with the taste buds’ ability to perceive bitterness. 

Even though we can eliminate the herbaceous, bitter taste of cannabis, should we?  Some people argue that cannabis shouldn’t taste good because its bitterness will make people think of it as medicine, or that without the distinctive taste, accidental ingestion will happen. The fact is, most consumers know their limits, and are looking for other means of recreational or medicinal consumption beyond inhalation. In turn, companies have responded to the growing demand for high-quality infused food and beverages, and are creating products that taste great and deliver cannabinoids efficaciously.  

If you are a product developer who has an idea for a great infused product and would like some advice working with the flavor of cannabinoids and terpenes, our R&D team is here to help. They are well-versed in all aspects of product development, from ideation to scale, and are experts when it comes to working with the flavors that cannabinoids offer. Book a call today! 

Trends in Flavors: Consumers Seek Comfort, Novelty, & Functionality

Trends in Flavors: Consumers Seek Comfort, Novelty & Functional Health

Who drives flavor trends — chefs? Food writers? Product designers? Flavorists? The answer is the consumer. If the past two years have taught us anything, it is that the consumer is ultimately the arbiter of what flavors will be successful, what trends will become mainstays, and what trends will be short-lived. The impact of consumer preference and behavior is evident in the flavor trends we saw emerge in 2020, the trends we’ve seen in 2021, and the predictions for 2022.  

Nostalgia with a Twist

When looking at flavor trends, it’s important to consider how consumer habits have changed in the past two years due to the pandemic. There’s been a major shift in how much time we’ve spent cooking in our own kitchens versus dining out. It’s natural for people to gravitate towards flavors that are familiar to them – flavors from their childhood or from their favorite travel destination – and create an eating experience that evokes a sense of nostalgic comfort. That said, younger consumers have shown they’re not afraid to balance their comfort food with flavors that are new, exotic, or something they might experience in a foreign country.  

Food with a Function

In the wake of COVID 19, many consumers have sought out natural, holistic ways to improve their health through nutraceutical benefits, particularly in terms of boosting immunity, finding relief from stress and anxiety, and improving quality of sleep and gut health. Consumers are researching CBD and other cannabinoids, adaptogens, probiotics, prebiotics, and botanicals and are looking for products that not only provide benefits but also taste good. Most consumers would prefer to get their daily dose of functional ingredients in as few items as possible, as opposed to taking multiple pills a day. 

Consumer demand for functional ingredients impacts a product’s flavor profile. Take, for example, products built to boost immunity – they will likely feature Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Ginger, Turmeric, or Ashwagandha. Because Vitamin C occurs naturally in citrus, it is relatively easy to pair with other flavors, whereas an ingredient like Ashwagandha has a very unique flavor profile in that it is earthy and bitter, which pairs well with the flavors of nuts, chocolate, and honey.

Enthusiasm for Fermented Foods

Today’s consumers are gravitating towards natural, healthy products that are processed without little to no additives and preservatives. A food category that emerged in 2020 and gained traction in 2021 for its floral, tart, slightly sweet, and robust flavors were naturally fermented products such as drinking vinegars, kombucha, and kimchi. Today, you can purchase products such as apple cider vinegar gummies, kombucha tea, and kimchi-flavored potato chips, and even kimchi-flavored sodas. Fermented products particularly resonate with younger consumers who have been exposed to international flavors and are not afraid of new tastes and textures.

Tested, Tried, and True Flavors

There are some flavors that consumers can’t get enough of and that never seem to go out of style, like berry, citrus, apple, and mint. Most people have been consuming fruit products since they were young; hence, these flavors are familiar to us and we know what to expect from a product featuring that flavor. In the confectionary world, strawberry remains very popular with consumers worldwide. Today, we are also seeing more of these flavors combined with botanicals to give products an added level of complexity – for example, basil paired with strawberry, mint paired with cucumber, or lavender paired with lemon. In line with consumers seeking functionality, botanicals offer their own health benefits. Basil is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as Magnesium; mint offers antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and lavender has been used to treat insomnia and nausea.

Up and Coming Fruit Flavors

There is no shortage of products on store shelves featuring citrus and berry, but there are some varieties to pay attention to, including Marionberry, Huckleberry, Yuzu, Blood Orange, and Makrut Lime.   


Marionberries are a variety of blackberry grown mostly in Oregon; they are both sweet and tart with a rich, earthy flavor – similar to eating a raspberry and blackberry in the same bite. In terms of product development, products featuring marionberries are mostly found on the west coast, because the berry itself is too delicate to ship.  


Huckleberries are smaller than blueberries and have dark purple skin when ripe. They are tarter and juicier than blueberries, which means their flavor packs a punch in food products or beverages. Huckleberries are not a domesticated fruit; they are mostly picked by foragers in the northwest, which makes them somewhat harder for a product designer to access. 


Hailing from China and used widely in Japan, Yuzus are about the size as a tangerine. The rind is highly aromatic and sweet with floral notes, while the juice of the fruit is extremely sour and tart. Products on the market featuring yuzu are varied, from marinades to marmalades, beers to flavored sparkling water. 

Blood Orange

A blood orange is slightly smaller than a navel orange with slightly thicker skin. What makes the blood orange unique (and subsequently products that feature its juice) is the deep red, maroon color of the interior flesh. Flavor-wise, blood orange juice is a bit sweeter and less tangy than classic orange juice.   

Makrut Lime

Makrut (aka kaffir) are in the lime family and derive from Southeast Asia; they are a staple of Thai cooking. The texture of the rind is bumpy, and when ripe, it’s yellow as opposed to green. The zest of the rind is often used in curry paste, and its leaves are added to dishes for fragrance. Makrut lime juice is quite bitter and sour, so it needs to be paired with other flavors that can stand up to it and balance it out. 

Beyond Pumpkin Spice — Fall Flavors to Savor

As summer comes to a close, as the days get shorter, and the weather starts to cool, the flavors of the season begin to shift as well. Fall flavors not only reflect what types of products are available but the season’s holidays as well.  

One fall fruit flavor that never goes out of style is apple, which is incredibly versatile in terms of what it can be paired with. It’s a terrific match for another fall favorite, cranberry. An apple’s sweetness and crispness provide a nice contrast and balance to the cranberry’s tartness and tang. Apple and another fall fruit, pear, match well with a variety of spices, such as cinnamon, clove, cardamom, and ginger, all of which offer health benefits. 

Caramel is a flavor consumers associate with childhood and Halloween – think caramel apples, caramel in candy bars, and caramel swirled into ice cream. A popular flavor today is salted caramel, where the savory and texture quality of the salt play against the sweet, sticky, chewy qualities of the caramel. 

While Chai is popular year-round, it is the perfect flavor for fall because of the warmth the aromatic spices in it evoke. Chai is comprised of cinnamon, cardamom, and clove; these spices are added to black tea and then typically blended into milk. Beyond tea-based beverages, Chai pairs well in dishes featuring winter squash-like pumpkin.  

2022 Flavor Trend Predictions

Today’s consumers continue to feel the impact of COVID, are seeking a balance between familiarity and novelty, and learning more about ingredients that improve one’s health. Product producers can anticipate that functional ingredients including CBD will be top of mind when people look for new products to add into their daily routines that not only deliver nutrition and health benefits but also taste great.  

Flavor researchers predict that in 2022, consumers will seek out spice and heat in their food and beverages (from peppers to chili to mustard), as well as notes of smoke and wood. They will also gravitate towards tropical, fruity flavors, that are paired with other functional ingredients, particularly in beverages, and seek out spirit flavors in their confections, such as a chocolate bar infused with whiskey or bourbon. 

If you have an idea for a product to bring to market in 2022 featuring functional ingredients, the team at SōRSE can help you create a flavor profile that will resonate with consumers. Book a call with our team today to get the conversation started and your product to market! 

SōRSE Producers Series: Heirloom Pet Products

heirloom pet cbd product

SōRSE Producers Series: Heirloom Pet Products

For the second post of our Producers Series, we asked our Powered by SōRSE partners at Heirloom Pet Products, CEO Jason Lysak and CMO Brandi DeLancy, to share their company’s story.   

SōRSE has been working with Heirloom Pets for two years now, and in that time, Heirloom has prioritized educating the consumers on the benefits of choosing water-soluble CBD for their animals while expanding their line of products. Their Road Trip Sticks, Food Toppers, and Bone Broth are a big hit with many pets in the SōRSE family.  

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

Having been involved in the pet food industry for a period of time, we noticed an opportunity in the market to create CBD pet products that work better. We were prompted to research the efficacy of products that were currently on the market. Pretty quickly we realized that the category was lacking a fast-acting, highly effective product line that was also affordable. Hence, Heirloom Pet Products was born!  

What are your company’s mission and core values?

The mission of Heirloom Pet Products is to deliver the most effective, healthy products based on science and efficacy. 

How do you educate pet owners on CBD and how to use your products in their pet’s daily routine?

Consumer education is one of our main focuses. Evolution in the CBD space has been slow, and because of that, people tend to stick to what they know. We have positioned ourselves not only as a source of high-quality, effective CBD products for pets, but also as an educational hub. Our social responsibility is to provide pet parents with up-to-date information and the scientific research to back it up. 

What was the most difficult part about getting your products to market?

The hurdle of marketing and education in the hemp space. CBD is very difficult to market! You can’t use food language. You can’t use medicine language. Selling someone a new product without being able to say what it is or how to use it is nearly impossible. 

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

From a SōRSE competitor! We were actually pointed to an article about SōRSE by the company we were considering. When I read about the efforts SōRSE had made, met the team of food scientists, and ultimately tried the product, there was no other choice! 

With SōRSE, we were not only getting the best of the best in innovative emulsion solutions, but we also entered into a partnership with a powerful team of amazing people. The emulsions we use in our pet products need to seamlessly blend and be consistent every time. We are confident that we get that with SōRSE. 

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

We see this as a true partnership. We believe in what SōRSE is doing and stand behind the solutions they provide. 

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

Educate yourself! Network, read, research, learn. The more you know about what you are doing, the easier it is to educate others. Partner with other people in the space. You never know where you will find a gem.  

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

A year from now, we will still be educating pet parents on the amazing benefits of CBD and breaking down barriers that create the stigma around the category. We hope to continue adding completely unique products to our line offering diverse solutions.   

What is your prediction for the cannabis-infused pet products space, and what excites you most about being in this industry?

Being at the forefront of the next stage in the evolution of cannabis-infused pet products is really exciting in and of itself. Pet parents want these types of products for their pets, and they want to be sure they are giving them the best. We predict that this category will continue to grow and evolve and that we will be there as it does!  

Where to Purchase Heirloom Pet Products

Heirloom Pet Products can be purchased on their website 


Beverage Producers Series: Aprch CBD

aprch cbd sparkling water

Beverage Producer Series: Aprch CBD

To kick ofour Producers Series, we asked our Powered by SōRSE partners at Aprch, a CBD-infused sparkling water company based in Portland, Oregon, to share their story. We were curious about why they decided to enter the industry, what their mission and values are, and why they chose SōRSE as their emulsion supplier. SōRSE has been working with Aprch for two years now; we can’t wait to try their new summer flavor, Coconut+Papaya, and see what their newest product offering will be this Fall, as well as Volume 2 of their Artist Series. 

Can you start by sharing a bit of Aprch’s background with us, and what inspired your team to create a hemp-infused product line?

Aprch is a collaborative effort. Our team comes from professional backgrounds in the outdoor, beverage and cannabis industries, and we all enjoy spending time outside adventuring. When we set out to create Aprch, we wanted to create a better-for-you beverage, a beverage that would help us before, during, and after our activities outside. Our CBD Sparkling Water is the first brand in the wellness beverage category we set out to create, and we have continued to innovate and grow our portfolio.  

What excites you most about being in this industry?

It’s rare that new categories come along, and the CBD beverage market is still in its infancy. Since some of the bigger beverage manufacturers are not involved yet, we are seeing a wave of small new brands. It is exciting to see the different directions the brands within the CBD beverage space are taking their product and brand marketing.   

Tell us more about Aprch. What are your company’s mission and core values, and have they evolved since the company’s inception?

Aprch is inspired by adventure, integrity, health, and the environment. We approach our lives thoughtfully, and we implement the same thoughtful process to create better-for-you beverages. We aim to nourish with every sip by creating drinks that are good for us. Since the brand’s inception, we have not strayed from our original mission and values, which are to create refreshing and delicious wellness beverages, while finding fulfillment in life.  

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

Since the CBD market is new to many consumers, we have taken an up-front approach and added our ABC’s of CBD to all of our 4-packs and website. This helps our customers know that when they are buying an Aprch product, they are buying the highest quality product available. A lot of people are still learning the difference between isolate, broad spectrum and full spectrum, and that is a key thing we can help educate people on. We were very intentional about making a product that is high quality and accurately dosed, but not super expensive so that people could incorporate it into their daily routines, as opposed to every now and then.  

What was the most difficult part about getting your product to market?

The hardest part for us was finding a reliable CBD partner, a partner that actually knew what they were doing, had product that tested correctly, and had a background in beverages. We went through many before landing on SōRSE. 

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

We found SōRSE through an online search, and SōRSE’s emulsions worked. Period. We worked with SōRSE to create a proprietary and custom broad spectrum blend for Aprch; we love it because our blend tests correctly every time, it is bioavailable, works with our production, and it tastes exactly how we want it to.  

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

We chose to add “Powered by SōRSE” to our product to let our customers know that when they are buying an Aprch product, they are buying the highest quality product possible. The “Powered by SōRSE” badge is much like “Gore-Tex” within the outdoor industry. When you buy a product that says “Gore-Tex,” you know you are getting the best product for the elements.; When you buy a “Powered by SōRSE,” you know that the product has been vetted by SōRSE, and you are buying a premium product.  

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

The market is still relatively small, and there is a lot of room for growth. You have to have an entrepreneurial mindset if you want to make it in this new-to-market category and be prepared for a long-term growth strategy. Also, if you’re launching a hemp-infused product, make sure it tastes great. You want to be able to have repeat customers, not just trial customers.  

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

We will continue to grow our customer base through expanded distribution and will release new innovations. We recently launched Volume 1 of the Aprch Artist Series, featuring artwork by Ty Williams, and our new summer flavor, Coconut+Papaya, and will grow the series for years to come. Our first product for Aprch was our CBD Sparkling Water, and we’re looking forward to launching another new product in September of 2021. 

What is your prediction for the cannabis-infused space?  

Growth, acceptance, adoption, and continued education. It’s exciting to see where this new category will go.  

Where to Purchase Aprch

Aprch can be purchased on their website