wcbn-mr-23-1-dazed-and-infusedby Michael Wren
BOXBOROUGH, MA — After setting up for the Northeast Greenhouse Conference and Expo on Nov. 8, exhibitors and attendees were invited to an educational specialty cocktail hour — Dazed and Infused. Here Sue Adams, of Adams Farm and Greenhouses, complete with a mobile herb garden, offered attendees the opportunity to choose, pluck and flavor their favorite cocktails with a variety of basil, mint, and thyme. Also offered at the reception was a red and white rosemary sangria made with apples and cranberries. While sangria is often viewed as a summertime drink with fresh fruit, using apples, cranberries and rosemary makes it a good candidate for a Thanksgiving sipper.
Sue Adams, who has long been in the growing business, is showing a new method in which to broaden the growth and use of herbs. “I want everyone in the world to start growing plants,” says Adams. She began infusing water in 2013 and recently began looking for new uses for basil and rosemary. After asking several restaurants if they had any new basil or rosemary recipes, the first three responses she obtained were from bartenders and were about using vodka infused with herbs or simple syrup. While this isn’t a new idea in the beverage industry, it could be a good way for craft distilleries and breweries to bring in more consumers. Whether it be directly selling to a restaurant or bar, sending recipes to do-it-yourselfers who want to add a touch of green to their at home cocktail parties, or hosting an infusion class at your distillery, there is definitely a new market emerging in the herb industry.
For Sue Adams her reasoning for hosting this reception was simple. As she put it, “To get people to think outside the window box and attract new people to using and growing herbs.” For the craft beverage producer this could mean bringing in new customers. While herbs have always had a place on the spice rack for cooking, more and more consumers are beginning to use them in their drinks, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic. With the rising popularity and use of herbs, beverage makers can take advantage of the trend by pairing their products with different herbs. Millennials are quickly becoming the largest consumer market and enjoy DIY cocktails as well as craft beverages. While classic cocktails are a very large part of the beverage market, new infusions and “greener” drinks are trending up. Making up and distributing recipes that feature your product to consumers or to the places that sell your product is an easy way to pique consumers’ interest.
Another way to bring people into your market is to hold infusing classes where you teach and explain the different possibilities of herb use. This gives the opportunity to bring people into your distillery or brewery that might have never ventured in. No matter how you do it, if you can find a way to incorporate the growth of herbs into your business it could play a big role in spicing up your sales.