Sweet Crude Offers Bold Alternative To Nonalcoholic Sector
A migraine sufferer turned her pain into a line of ready-to-drink, zero-proof, CBD-infused cocktails.
Talia Bennick suffered from terrible, terrible migraines, and eventually, she learned that one of her migraine triggers was consuming alcohol. Even the tiniest amount would cause severe pain.
“Even half a drink, and I would have to medicate,” she says. “That would stop the pain, but it would put me out for a day. It just wasn’t worth it to drink.”
But when she started looking at her non-alcoholic options, there weren’t a lot of crafted options available so she started mixing drinks for herself, and then she started sharing them at parties. By 2014, she was mixing CBD oil into her zero proof cocktails. “I realized I was on to something when everybody at the table wanted at least one round of the CBD cocktail,” she says.
Bennick, who is based out of Austin, TX, began working with a partner to help her crate a shelf-stable version of her cocktails, and Sweet Crude had its first production this past August.
Sweet Crude $23.99 per 4-pack, and each 250-ml can contains 20 mg of CBD and natural terpenes. Its slogan is “Cruder than a virgin, but still 0 % alcohol.” “Each of our cocktails are infused with broad spectrum hemp extract and terpenes, and because there’s no THC in it, our drinks will not get you high,” Bennick says.
Terpenes, she explains, are naturally occurring, aromatic compounds found in plants, and they are what gives essential oils their strong fragrance. “Terpenes are to CBD cocktails what bitters are to traditional cocktails,” Bennick says.
Sweet Crude’s first two flavors are Mellow Mule and OG Tonic, and Bennick has plans to release two additional flavors this summer. “What we’re trying to do is create an authentic brand,” Bennick says. “I wanted to crteate a brand that is not just a full-bodied and delicious cocktail, but one that represents inclusiveness, no matter whether you are drinking alcohol or not.”
Interest in the brand, she says, is growing, especially during Dry January, but more and more people are sober curious in general. “A lot of our customers are saying that Sweet Crude is replacing their glass of wine at the end of the day,” Bennick says.
Anecdotally, some customers have also told the brand that they feel very relaxed while drinking it, and still others say that it has helped them sleep better or relieved various aches and pains. “Others just say it tastes fantastic, and they just can’t wait to crack one open,” Bennick says. “I’m less interested in the health benefits, and more excited about how Sweet Crude can help make you feel your most confident, your most carefree self while drinking it.”
Besides online sales, Sweet Crude is distributed throughout Austin, and one of its biggest fans is Chris Marshall, owner of Sans Bar, a sober bar in Austin. “He calls these the perfect ‘wingman’ drinks,’” Bennick says. “He’s been a great supporter and a great friend, but he’s also one of the top voices of the sober community in Austin.”
Before starting Sweet Crude, Bennick herself worked in the finance and hospitality sector of technology, and one of the things she noticed in customer feedback was how bars and restaurants which lacked zero-roof programs let customers down. “We really let down the portion of our population who does not drink when we don’t have as built-out zero-proof programs as we do alcoholic beverage programs,” she says.