‘Like chocolate, it is good for the masses’: Using cacao fruit in beer and wine

Along with cocoa beans, the cocoa tree also produces cacao fruit. Cacao fruit comes from the cacao pod, where cocoa beans, and thus chocolate products, originate.

While traditionally, 70% of the cacao pod is thrown away, Cabosse Naturals​, a brand from global chocolate producer Barry Callebaut, is now developing products from the cacao fruit using the pulp, peel and juice from the pod.

There is significant potential for the cacao fruit. A number of 2024 trends suggest that it could be popular. For example, the ‘whole cacao’ has been identified as a 2024 trend by Amazon-owned Whole Foods, which points out that while the whole cacao fruit has been utilised ‘for centuries’ in some parts of the world, it is now becoming a trend. It can be used in products ranging from sorbets and ice creams to dairy products and confectionery.

The cacaofruit originates from the cacao pod, along with cocoa beans, a key ingredient of chocolate. Image Source: Cabosse Natural

In particular, cacao fruit has seen success in the beverage industry, being used as an ingredient in a range of beers and wines. There were, for example, a number of launches of beers and wines containing cacao fruit in 2023, including the Cacoboa Wine and Pulpoca (seltzer), a wine from Pulpa Mulpa in Switzerland; It’s All Good Imperial Latin Gose, a beer from Kehrwieder Brewery in Germany; and the Acan’s Mallow Tree, a sour ale from North Antwerp Brewery in Belgium.

Bringing something new to beer and wine

If a producer decides to put cacao fruit in its beer or wine, the main thing it need to think about is the taste. Adding a product derived from the same source as chocolate to a drink usually made mainly from hops or grapes is unconventional, but according to William Angleys, sales director at Cabosse Naturals, it provides a flavour that works well with these products.