Pure Kind Botanicals is private labeling products with Alfalfa’s Market in Boulder, CO. The partnership marks the beginning of a significant market trend by independent, natural and speciality retailers to embrace Hemp CBD products.

Ed Lehrburger, CEO of Pure Hemp Technology, told Hemp Business Journal their consumer brand, Pure Kind Botanicals, has become a top-selling Hemp CBD product within months of hitting the shelves at Alfalfa’s. “I’m a little biased, but I think it’s because we have a product here for people who really care. The brand, the product and customers—they all fit so nicely,” Lehrburger said.

Sarah Shebanek, the Corporate Wellness Buyer for Alfalfa’s, said in an interview with Hemp Business Journal she visited the Pure Kind facility and was impressed. “They are making an exceptional product and we’re excited to be in partnership with them. The brand is very successful with us and has become integral in growing the category.  There’s a lot we can accomplish together.”

The partnership is a big step in the right direction for the industry with concerns and questions over the FDA’s stance on CBD products. CBD product labeling has been a regulatory grey area the last two years with terms like Hemp Extract, Hemp Oils, Phyto-Cannabinoids, and CBD all being used on labels. Each comes with potential scrutiny and a very small chance of intervention from the FDA with products being labeled as dietary supplements.

Alfalfa’s is calling their private label product Full Spectrum Hemp Extract. “Cannabinoids are contained within it, but hemp extract is what the oil actually is,” said Shebanek.

The Blessing from Boulder’s Natural Product Community

Boulder is called the Silicon Valley of Food for its progressive food culture and entrepreneurial spirit in natural products. The town is home to New Hope Media, the operator of ExpoWest, and numerous natural product companies, brands and ancillary businesses. When it comes to natural products, Boulder sits squarely at the crossroads of innovation and leadership. A blessing from the Boulder organic elite and its cutting edge herbal hippies can send a brand into rapid national expansion.

Alfalfa’s is at the center of the Boulder’s progressive natural products community. And at the center of Alfalfa’s is the Wooden Cabinet. “We have all of our CBD products locked in the display so customers who are buying them can speak to a wellness specialist and be educated about the ingredients and what the products are used for. We believe this is the safest approach for now.”

The Wooden Cabinet. Pure Kind Botanicals tincture (top right) and Alfalfa’s private label Hemp Extract (bottom right)

Alfalfa’s currently has 11 Hemp CBD products – including their Hemp Extract label – in the Wooden Cabinet and several others in a locked glass case across the aisle. The brands represent a who’s who of local Hemp CBD companies and include EnerHealth, Tilvee, Functional Remedies, CW Hemp, Quicksilver, Hempower Nutrition, Colorado Hemp Honey, Bluebird Botanicals and Restorative Botanicals.  “We’re working with only local companies making the most authentic and highest quality products. Alfalfa’s has a reputation for supporting local and that’s what we’ve done. Expanding the category just made sense from both a business and holistic perspective,” said Shebanek.

Large natural product retailers like Whole Foods, Natural Grocers and Sprouts remain on the sidelines for Hemp CBD products while Alfalfa’s has earned the mantle of innovation and leadership for the category. As a small independent two store chain, Alfalfa’s is unencumbered with the risk vs reward scenario the largest natural product retailers have expressed to Hemp Business Journal.

Shebanek continued, “We are only at the tip of the iceberg learning the benefits of cannabinoids. Offering products that promote wellness and are in demand is one of the ways we grow sales and the more people we can serve in the community —it’s a powerful thing and fun all at the same time. It’s a truly sustainable approach!”

Where the CBD Innovation Winds are Blowing

Lehrburger explained that his team of scientists and engineers – many from the marijuana industry – developed a tincture using MCT oil and ethanol based extraction. “We use ethanol because it’s the right way to do it, not CO2 or butane. Using ethanol helps us go from 2,4000 psi to 0 psi. That’s huge. Our entire process is kind to the trichomes.”

Shebanek told Hemp Business Journal that she sees the category moving towards full spectrum hemp extracts where products are functional based and combine a synergy of herbs. “For example, you’re going to see people getting inflammation benefits with hemp extract combined with other herbs, like turmeric. You’ll see hemp extract synergies with reishi and ashawaganda. We’re excited to promote these synergies and see them branching out into the skin care arena.”

And Lehrburger says Pure Kind’s innovation isn’t slowing any time soon. Their customers should keep an eye out for the day Pure Kind is able to make its own organic ethanol derived from hemp, and be the first to unite the organic hemp supply chain. Most tinctures made with ethanol come from corn and most corn is genetically modified.  “Making ethanol from certified organic hemp, and then processing it to an organic standard, has never been done before. Not even close. It’s insane. But we’re going for it!”