Into the Weeds with Zack Squier & his All-Natural Cannabis Elixirs [Interview]

Squier's Speciality Elixirs

Born from the culinary exploration and cannabis adoration of its chef-founder Zack Squier, Squier’s is a kitchen experiment turned respected brand through its all-natural THC-infused elixirs— sans artificial flavors, preservatives, and questionable emulsifying agents. The quality can be tasted as much as it is felt. Real fruit is blended with hash rosin into a shelf-stable, pocket-sized bottle reminiscent of a 5-hour energy, but nothing like it in the best way possible.

Zach Squier’s Path to Speciality Cannabis Elixirs

After a troubled past with cannabis, including a stint in jail for selling it, Zack thought he’d never touch the plant again beyond personal consumption. But as it became legal in his home state of Maine and being constantly surrounded by it in the restaurant industry, he saw an opportunity to bring his ethos of connecting people through food and quality ingredients into the cannabis world.

“Someone put a bug in my ear that I should come up with some sort of savory-infused product. One thing led to another, and I started renting a kitchen by the hour. I’d get out of work at around midnight in the restaurant industry and then head to the kitchen, just messing around and creating products.”

Zack Squier
Zack Squier - Chef & Founder of Squier's Specialty Elixirs
Zack Squier – Chef & Founder of Squier’s Specialty Elixirs

From Savory to Sweet

Not yet certain on the sweets route, Zack launched with a Sweet Chili Sriracha and Mango-Honey BBQ Sauce, followed by infused olive oil and butter. All fascinating items but he recognized that if he actually wanted to create a business out of it, “it needs to be a product people are consuming every day, not like a bottle of hot sauce, which would sit in your fridge for probably three to four months.”

Leading up to the elixirs, Zack put out an infused cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving with a coinciding grapefruit cranberry orange spritz recipe. This rang popular through the New Year with constant requests for more cranberry sauce well past the holidays.

“They wanted to make more of these drinks. That was when the light bulb went off. People want edibles made with real ingredients as well as beverage mixers. The journey to liquids just fell in our laps, but it really made sense.”

Zack Squier's cannabis infused elixirs
Squier’s Blackberry Lavender Sleepy Time Elixir

Creating a Healthier Alternative

Surrounded by alcohol in the restaurant industry, “It’s a normal thing to get off a shift and get drunk with your coworkers every night, which isn’t a healthy lifestyle. I thought this could be a cool alternative to mixology and cocktails,” Zack shares on the inspiration behind the elixirs, which contain only real fruit and ingredients like pink Himalayan salt and organic blue agave.

Within two months, he created a line of infused elixirs and put them out in the Maine medical market. A year later, it launched in the adult-use Maine market, and now, another year later, they’re launching in Massachusetts. There is also a hemp-derived line available online nationwide.

“We’ve found our niche. We and others love the elixirs because they’re pocket-sized. You can bring them anywhere. You can create cool mocktails, shoot them straight, or just mix them in water. It’s essentially a fruit puree that you can do anything with. You can mix it into a salad dressing; you can add it to a smoothie; you can pour it over ice cream; you can bake it into a treat; you can even make gummies from it. It’s really an inclusive product.”

Nurturing Conscious Cannabis Consumption

Alongside providing the market with a clean edible product, “We’re really trying to change people’s priorities when it comes to their cannabis consumption. Just because there’s cannabis in it, doesn’t mean that nothing else matters. Realistically, edibles are made up of 99% something else,” Zack shares on his vision of nurturing conscious consumption.

“Being a chef, I’ve always made things from scratch with no artificial ingredients or flavor, like the essence of blueberry is not a blueberry. We take that fruit and cook it down. You just can’t get better than that. We always start with fresh fruit, 100% organic agave, fresh squeezed citrus, some pink Himalayan salt to bring out the flavor, solventless hash rosin, and that’s it. It’s kind of as clean as you can possibly get.”

Squier's Cannabis Elixirs
Squier’s Speciality Infused Elixirs

If you look at the side of a Squier’s Elixir bottle, you’ll see the exact amount of fruit it contains with just a few other ingredients to tie it all together. The emulsion is just as clean, using the natural ingredients in the fruit with the combination of time, temperature, and RPMs. “We’re able to create a fast-acting stable emulsion without having to add all these distasteful components that most beverages have.” The preservation method is equally as clean, essentially utilizing a canning method using just time and temperature.

“It’s not the easiest way, and a lot of people don’t do it, but again, we’re not about the easy way out. We’re about the best way. We’re all about pureness in every sense of the product— taking what we have and perfecting it to put out the best product possible. I think we’ve done a good job doing that.”