Long demonized and riddled with negative stereotypes, cannabis is now becoming recognized and respected for its therapeutic and industrial properties, and state-by-state, draconian laws against the plant are falling away. Wisconsin has recently enjoyed a boom of businesses offering cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive phytocannabinoid derived from cannabis species. A Wisconsin law signed in 2017 legalized the growing of industrial hemp. This month the Shepherd Express introduces âCannabis,â a new column dedicated to covering hemp-related topics, businesses and farmers.
Jessica Peterburs has been making LoveBootch Kombuchaâbottled tea obtained through fermentation of bacteria and yeast, known for its health benefitsâfor over two years. When she began infusing her product with cannabidiol (CBD), she realized she had something special. Her CBD kombucha became extremely popular at retail outlets, and sheâs outgrown her second commercial kitchen in Muskego. In April, Peterburs is set to open Dispensary on Division in East Troy, Wis. Her new store will have a kombucha processing workspace in the back, along with a dispensary with CBD retail products and CBD-infused kombucha available on tap or in bottles.
Peterburs first discovered Hemp Rescue, a full-spectrum (CBD) product that she uses in her kombucha, at House of Nutrition, in Kenosha. She brainstormed with House of Nutrition owner Mark Wistar about how to introduce CBD to more people and came up with the idea to add CBD to her small-batch kombucha.
She started with lighter kombucha flavors, so that customers could taste the CBDâs grassy flavor and wouldnât doubt that the product actually contains CBD. âFrom there, it evolved,â Peterburs said. âCustomers trust that the CBD is in there, so Iâve been able to branch out with more flavors, and any regular flavor can be made with the supplement of CBD oil.â
The CBD oil supplement is added just before capping. Peterburs uses local products such as Urbal Tea, and sheâs working with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to use the âSomething Special from Wisconsinâ logo. Her most popular flavors of CBD-infused kombucha are elderberry, blueberry and spearmint, brewed with herbal tea, so the only caffeine present is from the starter culture. Also popular is Sweet Greens, a newer flavor with dehydrated vegetables, fruit and ginger; mandarin ginger; and tangerine hibiscus.
Peterburs predicts that edibles and CBD-infused beverages will complement other retail CBD products like topical oils, while making CBD more convenient and approachable. âPeople like it in beverage form because they donât have to put it under the tongue (like a tincture),â she said. âItâs a different way of consumption.â LoveBootch Kombucha offers the beverage with or without CBD, currently available at several retail and farmers markets including Milaegerâs Great Lakes Farmers Market, which is open year-round. Some hemp-specific outlets carry just the CBD-infused kombucha. Peterburs notes that some stores where she never thought CBD kombucha would go over well is where itâs selling best. Since people usually grab kombucha at grocery stores and go to nutrition stores specifically for probiotics or supplements, she was surprised when Milaegerâs Garden Center and House of Nutrition became her two most supportive and successful stores.
Peterburs also holds fermentation workshops and sells symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, better known in fermentation circles as SCOBY. âI want to be a resource for everyone,â she said. âI will look at photos of peopleâs kombucha batches, answer questions and share recipes.â
The farmers market setting, along with store demonstrations and the upcoming opening of Dispensary on Division, allows Peterburs to dispel any myths about CBD and educate the public on whether CBD is right for them. Peterburs works in health care as an imaging services supervisor in ultrasound and breast imaging, and sheâs a doctoral student in health studies.
For more information, visit lovebootchkombucha.com.