Cannabis Cocktails Expert Warren Bobrow On The Cannabis Drinks Opportunity
Cannabis Cocktails Expert Warren Bobrow On The Cannabis Drinks Opportunity.
From working as a TV engineer to author of about half a dozen books, Warren Bobrow is a chef, writer, and mixologist. Well known as the master mixologist for Klaus, a THC-infused craft cocktail brand with zero ABV. The former rum judge works full-time in the cannabis industry as a writer and CEO of Klaus! Warren has written many articles for various publishers and served as a master mixologist for various brands, also developing his own bar programs.
Warren served as master mixologist for several brands of liquor, including the Busted Barrel rum produced by New Jersey's first licensed distillery since Prohibition. Walter Bobrow is the author of five books, including Apothecary Cocktails: Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today; Whiskey Cocktails: Rediscovered Classics and Contemporary Craft Drinks; Bitters and Shrub Syrup Cocktails: Restorative Vintage Cocktails, Mocktails & Elixirs; Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks & Buzz-Worthy Libations; and The Craft Cocktail Compendium: Contemporary Interpretations and Inspired Twists on Time-Honored Classics.
Tell us a little about your background and journey into Cannabis
I’ve been a cook, a banker, a six-time published author, a mixologist, and a cannabis alchemist
Explain your current role
I’m the CEO and Co-Founder of Klaus the Gnome, Inc.
What trends do you see in cannabis beverages?
Getting away from glorified seltzers and into carefully crafted cocktails with terpene-forward THC.
What tips do you have on growing the category when it comes to product development?
Think outside the sparkling water box. Educate yourself with real mixology, not pop top cocktail making
What are the 3 things that we can educate end consumers more on in growing end-consumer awareness?
Less sweet. Better quality non-industrial ingredients. Don’t have to be 100mg to be effective. Think terpenes!
Walk us over your experience with Klaus.
The weed business is not like the beverage business. It’s regulated by the local, state, and even the town you are in. There are labels of ingredients that dig into where the soil comes from. When was the last time that you saw an ingredient label on a bottle of alcohol? They don’t exist. What are they hiding from consumers? You cannot look at cannabis beverages and think of alcohol. Cannabis is truly the anti-alcohol beverage, the low/no folks are still harping on mimicking alcohol and the flavor of alcohol in their marketing. I don’t use it at all. That’s not our path. Klaus is all about fresh, healthy, clean, crisp, and fun. Always without a hangover. I don’t want it to taste even remotely like alcohol or imitate intoxicating beverages. This is meant to wean you from ethanol, except for in your gas tank! All that sugar is not a good idea. Klaus is 0.6 grams of cane sugar and just sixteen calories. What doesn’t work in business happens daily. The way you turn that around is to make it work and go forward. I find in corporate work; silos are not to be tolerated. That comes from working at the corporate C-level for twenty years as an executive assistant. I saw it all in Private Banking although I cannot tell you anything about it.
What tips do you have for cannabis brand owners to create pre-launch buzz?
Cannabis is authentic. It’s those of us who use weed medically and emotionally that is the reason why there is cannabis after five thousand years. It’s all those who came before us. It’s those who still sit in prison today, while corporate interests are traded on the stock market making billionaires on the backs of the incarcerated. Our plant is a force for good, so authenticity is my mantra. I have glaucoma, so my pitch will always include what cannabis did for my eyes. How smoking cannabis allows the stigmas to flourish, everyone knows your business. Drinking a Klaus Craft Libation is a luxury experience that goes beautifully with food and conversation. I suggest that the Klaus variety known as the Mezzrole goes with Pacific Rim style cooking or Mexican, fresh lime is my backbone, along with spicy ginger and a splash of rice vinegar. Of course, Klaus is Terpene-Forward. So, it smells just like the craft strain- Hippie Crasher” cannabis, not candy, like so many other beverages on the market today. My beverage is not sweet. It’s piquant and mesmerizingly notable. “You’ll always remember your first Klaus” is more than a metaphor. It’s the way I do what makes me happy. And the Mezzrole? Named for Mezz Mezzrow, Louis Armstrong’s friend from the Jazz Era in New York and Chicago. Mezz was a cannabis dealer and Jazz Head. A Mezzrole was a particularly well-rolled cannabis joint. I pay homage to Mezz and Louis- and Louis’ daughter Sharon in this unique libation. Not another seltzer, or tincture!
Which states / markets do you think present good growth opportunities for cannabis beverages in 2023-2024
Any legal markets such as NJ or NY. Beverages aren’t available yet but hopefully soon.
What do you think are the current challenges in the cannabis beverage category
They’re so sweet and candy-like. I prefer tannic and terroir driven.
If you were to give advice to a first-time cannabis beverage consumer, what tips would you give?
Start slowly on a full stomach. You don’t have to drink the whole can or bottle. Drink a tiny bit and see how you feel.
Your favourite cannabis beverage brands?
What do you look for when you purchase a cannabis beverage brand?
Real ingredients are simply prepared with love.
Any out-of-the-box ideas you have for bud-tenders in promoting and educating the cannabis beverage category?
Have a gnome on your side to make the important decisions. Actually, sip and take notes.
If you were to make a new cannabis beverage today? What sort of product would you make and why
Just like what I’m doing now because they are the finest in the world.
If you were to market and distribute that cannabis beverage, what would be your top 3 areas you would focus on?
Ginger- direct to consumer. Word of mouth. Well-chosen dispensaries.