Meet the Pathfinder: A Hemp-Infused, Non-Alcoholic Spirit

When Chris Abbott thinks about cannabis going mainstream, he envisions places like bars and grocery stores adding cannabis- and hemp-related drinks to their menus.

“I think there’s an incredible opportunity for drinks to really increase the awareness and mainstream acceptance of cannabis, because when people get together, they drink. That’s how people socialize,” Abbott tells Hemp Grower.

Abbott is the co-founder of The Pathfinder Hemp and Root (The Pathfinder or Hemp and Root), a fermented and distilled hemp-based, non-alcoholic spirit.

In September, Hemp and Root launched in Seattle, Wash., and has since made its way into some of the most popular bars in the city. 

Building the Brand

Abbott co-founded his first cannabis company in Seattle in 2014: Mr.Moxey’s Mints, a multistate edibles company that offers an array of cannabis- and hemp-infused mints. 

He describes Mr. Moxey’s as a “personal product” that individuals can carry in their golf bag or purse and take whenever they need it. It’s the brands and products like this that can fit into a consumer’s everyday life, which Abbott thinks brings us one step closer to mainstream cannabis adoption.

“The Pathfinder, for me, is the epitome of that type of product,” he says. “It’s natural to think that drinks could go a long way. I mean, 12% of the population smokes tobacco, 70% of the population drinks alcohol. … [I think this is] going to go mainstream. It’s going to be stuff like drinks. So, we started working on a drink.”

Abbott says he began working with Guy Escolme who previously worked at a Diageo, a multinational beverage alcohol company, for over 15 years.

“We got together, [and] when we started thinking about, ‘Hey, what can we do for a drink? And how would we do it?’ [Guy] said, ‘There’s only one guy we need to talk to. I worked with him at Diageo; his name is Steven Grasse. … He’s the creator of Hendrick’s Gin and Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum,'” Abbott says.

“So, the three of us got together. We were like, ‘OK, we need to do this, and we’re going to do it and do it right. So, if we’re going to have a cannabis drink, it can’t just be cannabis in like an orange soda or something; we should do something that’s based in cannabis,'” he adds.

Abbott’s background in cannabis, mixed with his co-founder’s expertise in global branding and the beverage market, led to the birth of Hemp and Root.

The Formula is Born

Abbott says when he and his team began experimenting with creating the liquid, they wanted to make a product that they could sell everywhere without any regulatory pushback.

“We had to go by the letter of the law with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” he says. “The says that hempseed is generally accepted as safe, so that’s what we start with is hempseed, and that’s what we’re fermenting and then distilling.”

To give Hemp and Root its “unique special flavor,” the formula includes 20 different botanicals, in addition to the hemp. Abbott says that the most prominent botanicals within the formula include wormwood, angelica

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