Inspired by cannabis: the next generation of wellness drinks

Co-founders Arjun Bhargava and Arjun Narayanan started their drink business Good Herb Soda after being inspired by the health benefits of cannabis. Crafted in New Zealand, the sodas are carefully blended with a selection of natural botanical terpenes, a diverse class of organic compounds produced by many plants, and are designed to leave a calming or focused effect to enhance the experience of everyday activities.

Ticking every box there is, the drinks are full of natural, low-calorie goodness. They are vegan, paleo, keto, gluten-free, preservative-free and have no added sugar. As well as being super healthy, the terpene profiles give the soda’s functional benefits. ‘In Zone’ bursts with flavours of ginger, berry lemonade and kush terpene, which leaves a woody aroma and a focused mindset. ‘Unwind’ features a refreshing mango clove lemonade and a blue dream terpene profile, leaving a relaxed effect.

“Plants, such as Cannabis, Psilocybin Mushrooms, Ayahuasca or Salvia divinorum, if understood and consumed with positive intent, can allow an individual to experience altered states of mind,” says both founders.

“We, at Good Herb Soda, want to imbibe this positive intent and create healthy products that complement the use of such plants. We hope to generate more awareness around this topic and help people curate their experience.”

Co-founders, Arjun Bhargava (left), Arjun Narayanan (right).

Creating the business, the pair extensively researched the cannabis industry to understand the science behind the plant, as well as the marketing opportunities. They spent the majority of 2019 attending medical cannabis conferences, with many taste tests, and a lot of trial and error. After initially raising some funding, they were then given a start-up grant from Callaghan Innovation. This lead to specialist help, multiple iterations of the recipe, flavour testing and branding, before the first release of Good Herb Soda in December 2019.

“We started selling our drinks in January 2020. Even under the circumstances related to the Covid outbreak we are seeing steady growth in online sales and more interest in knowing the product through our online presence on Instagram & other Social Media platforms.”

In terms of branding, the team initially received extremely critical feedback for their labeling efforts, which they knew they had to fix. Through a mutual friend, they then came across their current designer who really liked the aim behind the brand and had the spare time to design a new label. Good Herb Soda now has labelling that incorporates the culture of the 1960s with a modern design of wellness products and psychedelic artwork.

Good Herb Soda is also solving the shortage problem of functional healthy drinks in New Zealand, as many of the existing brands are not suitable for all diets. Another of the brand’s point of difference, is its support towards the cannabis community, complimenting their cannabis experience via the ‘entourage effect.’

“When drinking the soda’s, one can enjoy all the functional natural benefits of the terpenes, whether one just wants to “unwind” or stay “in zone”. When consuming our drinks one just needs to enjoy without the concern about chemicals, calories, or unnatural ingredients. Good Herb Soda equals no guilty pleasure.

“In fact, this is a big part of the vision of Good Herb Soda. Our long term plans are to enable people to take control of their state by being able to customise their cannabis experience. This starts with Terpenes, and we hope to expand into other cannabis constituents if the referendum passes later this year.”

Visit Good Herb Soda’s website here.

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