Keeping It Local with Humboldt Beverage Company

Medicinal influences also play a part in the beverage recipes. Some of the drinks will include cannabis, and new recipes with cannabis are constantly in the works.”

Local is the name of the game for Humboldt Beverage Company. The Arcata, California, based drink merchant ran by Jess Nelson, Keil Cronin and Jeri Vigil provides an array of local brews and elixirs that showcase the native flavors of Northern California.

With the reputation of being within the top fertile locations for crop cultivation in the country, Humboldt and the Emerald Triangle serve as ever-evolving inspiration for new and revolutionary beverages while keeping the integrity of the ingredients.

Just as the farm to table concept is currently trending, Humboldt Beverage Company is at the forefront of what they like to call “farm to bar.” Local gardens and farmers markets serve as inspiration for the trio of beverage connoisseurs. “What is local and fresh is a contributing factor to the drinks we make,” Nelson explains when going into detail about beverage experimenting. “I’d call it a modern farm influence with a twist of alchemy.”

Humboldt Beverage Company focuses on simple recipes and taking the full flavor from each ingredient. They have mastered the art of simplicity by letting the fresh, local flavors speak for themselves. Beverages are all-homemade and include: elixirs, tonics, brews, infused waters and kombucha with many other recipes in the works.  

As a vendor at the Emerald Magazine Pot Pairing, Humboldt Beverage Company highlighted a few of their classics and introduced new drinks as well at their elixir bar. The trio are big fans of the flexibility the elixir bar allows them with their beverages.

Creativity and innovation are key to the company, and a locally sourced driftwood bar allows them the flexibility to try new recipes for customers. Fresh rosewaters and a prototype of kombucha were mixed up at the event in Ferndale, California. Nelson wanted to complement the local theme of the Pot Pairing with the drinks served at the Humboldt Beverage Company station. “The event was meant to be a mixture of everything Humboldt,” she says. “It was a combination of positive vibes and Humboldt’s bounty.”

Medicinal influences also play a part in the beverage recipes. Some of the drinks will include cannabis, and new recipes with cannabis are constantly in the works.

Humboldt Beverage Company has a multitude of approaches to using cannabis in the beverages they create. From ancient cannabis recipes to modern proprietary methods, nothing is off limits. The beverage makers work by the motto “if it can be bottled we’re going to try to make it.”

The collaborative aesthetic comes from the meshing of minds between the three entrepreneurs. Each brings unique personality and strengths to the business.

Nelson describes herself as handling more of the business side of Humboldt Beverage Company. She works tirelessly behind the scenes on the design, marketing and merchandising of beverages.

Vigil has been dubbed the alchemist, and prides herself as designer of beverages. She is constantly challenging herself to come up with new products using the best ingredients the Emerald Triangle has to offer.

Cronin considers himself head of operations, equipment and mechanics. Logistics of production is within his expertise.  

The beauty of this team is the passion they exude for their beverages. They work seamlessly and have found their own niche within the company.

As far as beverage distribution, one of Humboldt Beverage Company’s favorite methods is private parties. Their elixir bar is for hire, and no event is too large or too small for the trio to take on.

Humboldt Beverage Company has three new products in the works with initial plans to distribute up and down the Northern Coast of California. While keeping products local, the trio have aspirations to expand to larger markets like San Francisco and Los Angeles.

As a community started business, Humboldt Beverage Company has every intention to remain that way. Nelson’s dedicated to Northern Humboldt, and desire to distribute products made here shines through in her words and work. “At Humboldt Beverage Company we are devoted to giving back to the community,” she adds, “We’re very interested in employing in the community, providing high quality products for the community and giving back in any way we can.”

When many people think Humboldt County, one specific crop usually comes to mind. Nelson and the team are trying to highlight all that Humboldt has to offer. “We want to bring every aspect of Humboldt County, and present it to the rest of the state while staying true to us.”

Written by Mackenzie Brotzman

You can check out all Humboldt Beverage Company has to offer at their website or to inquire about private events at
Emerald contributor since March 2012


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