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—Culinary Cannabis brand taps prominent mixologist as Executive Product Director—

NEW YORK (October 19, 2018) — Azuca—the line of all-natural cannabis edibles and ingredients founded by Chef Ron Silver—welcomes Eben Freeman as its Executive Product Director. As inventor of the first-ever solid cocktail, collaborator on the groundbreaking restaurant wd~50 and a pioneer in the field of molecular mixology, Freeman brings to the table a palate primed for innovation and next-level creativity in cannabis.

Having graduated from New York University with a degree in Drama, Freeman harnessed his appetite for theatrics to establish himself as a household name in the cocktail industry. His out-of-the-box approach to cocktails paved the way for avant-garde techniques like ‘Fat Washing’ and draught cocktails, and his creation of the solid cocktail—a gin and tonic gelatin cube atop a lime wheel crisp—inspired a wave of elaborations on the concept, such as the absinthe gummi bear and White Russian breakfast cereal.

“Eben’s culinary know-how, keen attention to detail and unending supply of creativity make him the ideal addition to the Azuca team,” said Kim Rael, Azuca CEO. “At Azuca, we pride ourselves on developing cutting-edge products that leverage industry-first technology to continuously push the boundaries of innovation while maintaining consistent, predictable effects—and Eben understands that. Eben’s imaginative and inventive spirit will undoubtedly solidify Azuca as a leader in the cannabis industry and propel the brand to the forefront of the culinary community and cocktail scene.”

As Executive Product Director, Freeman’s duties will include production oversight, development of market strategies, industry trend research and formulating new recipes and products in the Azuca Lab. He will work closely with both the product development team and Silver, Founder and Chief Creative Officer.

“What makes cannabis so exciting is that it’s not just an ingredient—it’s medicine, it’s a tool and, for some, it’s a cure,” said Freeman. “After years of working in the bartending scene and helping develop cocktail programs around the world, I’m well-attuned to when something is a passing trend, and when it is here to stay. Cannabis is here to stay. I look forward to joining Azuca and expanding on their ingenious formulation methods and broadening its product line, which is already setting the bar for quality and reliability in the edibles market.”

A native New Yorker, Freeman’s experience in the city’s food and beverage scene spans over two decades. His behind-the-bar identity was shaped by his time at Palladin and Eleven Madison Park, where his techniques caught the attention of chefs Wylie Dufresne and Sam Mason. In 2002, Freeman collaborated with Dufresne on the opening of wd~50, and later went on to open Tailor with Mason, garnering numerous accolades and recognition within the industry.

“A product like Azuca is really a bartender’s dream when it comes to creating a CBD-infused drink,” Freeman said. “Currently, most bartenders make CBD-infused beverages with CBD oil, which doesn’t blend properly into the liquid because oils and water don’t mix. Yet another problem with CBD oil and tinctures is the strong, vegetal flavor and smell. Azuca solves these problems with its simple syrup—there are no terpenes and therefore no overwhelming smell, and bartenders are already using simple syrup in their cocktails, so this is an easy way to incorporate CBD onto the menu while maintaining the intended favor and sweetness of the drink.”

Following his time at Tailor, Freeman traveled the world working alongside hotel and hospitality groups, training staff at bars and designing cocktail programs using ingredients and preparation methods unavailable in the U.S. Upon returning stateside, Freeman joined the Altamarea Group, opening 13 restaurants as part of the development team.

During his latest tenure with AvroKo, the architecture, design and hospitality group based in New York, Freeman helped develop Genuine Liquorette where he pioneered a unique way of serving cocktails in a can with 50ml bottles of spirits tipped into the mix of juices and sodas. Freeman also opened Ghost Donkey with AvroKo, both of which have earned high praise for their ambiance, service and bar programs. In 2018, Genuine Liquorette expanded to London and Ghost Donkey was replicated at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

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About Azuca

Azuca is a privately-held, investor-backed cannabis company which commercializes a line of edible products using patent-pending technology. This technology envelops cannabis molecules in order to make them more water soluble, increasing bioavailability and effectiveness and minimizing latency for more controlled, reliable edibles.

The Azuca product line consists of sweeteners and syrups which can be added to food and beverages as the building blocks of a sophisticated culinary cannabis experience. CBD products are anticipated to be available nationwide in 2019, while THC products will be launching through licensed dispensaries in legal cannabis markets.

The Cannabis Market

Azuca is tapping into the burgeoning cannabis market with its edible line. According to industry estimates, the legal cannabis market is expected to grow to $50 billion by 2026. Currently recreational use is legal in nine states plus Washington D.C., while medical marijuana is legal in 31 states, with edibles representing a fast-growing segment.  New adopters are often health conscious and averse to smoking and vaping, making cannabis edibles the ideal solution.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Gabrielle Wesseldyk at gabrielle@rosengrouppr.com or 212.255.0945.

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