Fizz buzz – Will kratom drinks ever hit the spot?
It’s been a year since kratom became legal in Thailand, giving rise to a wide range of new narcotic products, including drinks and candies.
Preparing kratom at home usually gives rise to a bitter, murky potion that is quite hard to enjoy, even loaded up with lemon and honey. To describe its taste as “medicinal” would be generous. Beverage entrepreneurs, skilled in manipulating flavours, are now brewing up all kinds of concoctions that stimulate the brain without overstimulating reluctant taste buds. Marketing campaigns await.
One budding entrepreneur, Jake Coyner, makes a fizzy drink he calls OG Kratom. Coyner has gone from home brewing a few litres for himself and friends to producing 2,400 bottles a month at an OEM facility.
“This is great. This means I can get it FDA approved, and I can sell it on retail shelves.”
Chawanaporn Prasert, who sells kratom powder, thinks more products will be better for consumers.
“It’s better to process the leaf into other products because who’s going to be spending time chewing on the kratom leaves? If you don’t process it, you won’t be able to sell it.”
Health drink company MeJuice is developing a mix of products from drinks to painkiller sprays. Founder Patcharaporn Kongniwatsiri said she had been developing products before it became legal to sell them.
“It seems like now we can work on trying to get FDA approval and do everything right.”
Patcharaporn hopes to have her first “adaptogen drink,” a kind of sparkling tea, ready by the end of the year.
“The Earl Grey one still isn’t perfect yet, but I like it.”
Thailand is the world’s fourth market for energy drinks. That’s over 20 billion baht (US$525.5 million) each year, so it’s quite a buzz, but mainstream producers are still sceptical that Kratom will ever go mass market.
Thanakorn Kuptajit, a former president of the Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association, said…
“For growth, I think there’s a chance, but the market is small.
Thanakorn doubts it will ever be as popular as conventional energy drinks.
“If you ask me about the future of kratom: It’s an alternative choice. Ever since it was legalized, I’ve been observing whether it takes off, but it hasn’t much.”
John Bailey of Bloom, a marketplace for wellness and alternative healthcare products, said Kratom opens social alternatives that are generally closed to those who don’t like alcohol.
“It’s great to hang out with people and laugh. With Kratom, I feel happy, and engaged and I feel much better in the morning. It is a great alternative to alcohol.
Bailey plans to work with OG Kratom to produce a light, lemony Kratom spritz.
“Kratom has a bit of a reputation of being a lo-so drink, we’re going to try branding it a little higher.”
Kratom grows naturally across Southeast Asia. It’s not psychoactive, but is a stimulant and can relieve pain, creating a mild feeling of euphoria similar to opiates. It is unequivocally an addictive substance. Despite its claimed therapeutic benefits, its alkaloids affect the same dopamine and serotonin receptors as opiates. Regular use can lead to dependence or withdrawal symptoms.
While the new regulations have opened new possibilities, licenses must be obtained from the Office of Narcotics Control Board. Kratom cannot be sold to minors or pregnant women, nor at schools or national parks, subject to fines of up to 50,000 baht.
SOURCE coco bangkok
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