Baltimore’s Wild Kombucha rolling out a new CBD-infused blood orange flavor

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Photo courtesy of Wild Kombucha

Fast-growing local fermented-beverage maker Wild Kombucha is getting in on the CBD craze.

The company announced over the weekend that it’s rolling out a CBD-infused Blood Orange flavor starting Oct. 1. Each 12-ounce bottle will have 25 mg of cannabidiol, the hemp-derived, non-psychoactive ingredient in cannabis that research suggests can help with pain and inflammation, sleep and, most famously, child epilepsy syndromes.

Wild Kombucha co-founder Sid Sharma told Baltimore Fishbowl the company regularly seeks to offer new ingredients and flavors that customers haven’t had, “and I think CBD fits perfectly within our line of kombuchas as something for people to try.”

The CBD the company is using comes from organically grown hemp, and is also flavorless, meaning you shouldn’t expect your kombucha to taste like weed.

The company has taken an extra step to distinguish the CBD-infused variety from eight others it offers, putting it in clear glass bottles instead of amber ones.

As The Sun noted in a story earlier this month, CBD is making its way onto restaurant menus and into manufactured products without the state’s go-ahead. Maryland Department of Health spokeswoman Maureen Regan told the paper the state’s Environmental Health Bureau considers any food or beverage with CBD “adulterated,” and that it’s asked local health departments “to report these products to us so that we can forward them to the FDA for further investigation.”

The federal agency, for its part, said in July that it “recognizes the significant public interest in cannabis and cannabis-derived compounds,” but pointed to “misleading and false claims” around CBD-infused products (like that they’re a cure-all for cancer), and the fact that they remain federally unapproved. The FDA is reviewing regulations for such products, it said.

But companies in Maryland and other states aren’t letting that stop them as cannabis, both psychoactive and not, is gradually liberalized–and as officials focus on punishing larger offenders, not small businesses that put it on the menu.

Sharma said there are at least two or three other kombucha makers that have already infused their beverages with CBD, “so we’re definitely not the first.”

And if federal regulators do decide to ban CBD outright in food products? “Since we do make everything in-house and we bottle every week… we would just stop making it. It would be as simple as, we’re not making that next week. So it’s not a huge risk for us.”

Wild Kombucha is having a big year, having moved back into the city after several years in Lutherville, and broken into the grocery store market with a new distribution deal allowing the firm to sell its products in 60 Whole Foods stores in the Mid-Atlantic as of Sept. 1.

Starting Oct. 1, Wild Kombucha will also be sold in 160 Giant grocery stores, bringing the company’s goods to more than 1,000 retailers in eight states.

This story has been updated.

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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in CityLab, Slate, Baltimore City Paper, DCist and elsewhere.
Ethan McLeod
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