Sep 22, 2022 - Food and Drink

Twin Cities restaurants add THC seltzers to the menu

thc seltzer at the howe
Photo: Torey Van Oot/Axios

Twin Cities restaurants are adding THC-infused drinks to their menus.

Driving the news: The Howe, Red Wagon Pizza and and World Street Kitchen are among more than a half dozen local spots now offering the mind-altering beverages for dine-in customers.

State of play: Breweries and other local drink producers began debuting seltzers and other non-alcoholic drinks containing up to 5mg of THC this summer, following a new state law legalizing hemp-derived edibles.

What they're saying: Craft & Crew Hospitality introduced THC seltzers from breweries Indeed and Modist at its six Twin Cities restaurants about two weeks ago, co-owner Luke Derheim tells Axios.

  • The restaurants, which include The Howe, The Block and Duke's on 7th, have already gone through the "vast majority" of what Derheim described as large case buys.
  • "It's really moving," he says. "People are just more curious about it."

Yes, and: Coffee shops are getting in on the trend, too. Milkweed's Mitchell O’Brion says the shop has already gone through several cases of "very, very popular" speciality THC drinks, which it sells for $10.

What they're seeing: Most customers ordering THC beverages so far are sticking with one or two of those drinks, instead of alternating with beer or hard liquor, Derheim says.

  • "We're seeing a large shift with people really gravitating toward [non-alcoholic] cocktails, and NA beverages," he says. "We see this as kind of an extension of the non-alcoholic category."

Between the lines: The new law passed the Legislature quietly last spring without many rules regulating the products, leaving local officials and businesses to navigate a "wild west" state of legalization.

  • While the Board of Pharmacy's guidelines suggest restaurants can't prepare THC-infused goods themselves for on-site consumption site, they can serve the pre-packaged cans, per state guidance.

Yes, but: Derheim says the uncertainty prompted Craft & Crew to do extra due diligence before debuting the drinks, such as checking with their insurance agent and adding extra training for staff.

  • The restaurant group's current policy is to sell no more than three THC drinks per patron.

Of note: Craft and Crew's restaurants are also able to sell the beverages to-go, since they don't contain alcohol, Derheim says.

What to watch: The Bar Draft House, a Craft & Crew-owned bar in Hastings, plans to start selling THC gummies soon. Derheim sees offerings expanding to include desserts and other pre-packaged items from there.

  • "I think it's going to be become pretty prevalent in the next quarter," he says.
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