June 27, 2022 by Diana Eberlein, VP of Marketing at SōRSE Technology
We’ve been saying “this is going to be the year for beverage” for years – and it’s yet to reach its full potential. In fact, it’s barely scratched the surface. BDSA reported at BevNET Live that the US cannabis industry is approximately a $28B industry…KEEP READING
March 20, 2022 by Jodi Villa, CEO of Ceria Brewing Company
It’s funny. When your kids are small they think you know everything. Then they become teenagers and they think you know nothing. Finally, as adults, you get a little bit of credibility back. That’s how it was with my now 28-year-old daughter, Catherine.KEEP READING
February 15, 2022 by Taira Daniel from bu’kei agency
As a social media manager, perhaps you have created campaigns in the past for Black History Month, Women’s History Month or Pride, or posted about holidays recognizing marginalized groups of people.KEEP READING
November 9, 2021 by Ginger Bryant & Macai Polansky
If you’re reading this newsletter, chances are you already know the CBA is a California based industry trade association exclusively focused on cannabis beverage. Now if we drill down a bit you may, or may not, know we work on several fronts including marketing, industry standards, education, and government affairs.
Ok, you’re still with me here, so what did this look like for the CBA in 2021?
We introduced ourselves! Through the medium of Zoom sessions, we met with members of the legislature, professional staff, and the Administration. The CBA participated in over 50 calls, educating elected and appointed officials about cannabis beverage and why it’s a unique, sweet spot within the cannabis industry.
We had our first piece of legislation signed by the Governor and AB 1222 will go into effect in January 2022. What is AB 1222 you ask – in simple terms it allows cannabis beverage to be packaged in clear glass containers. A big beverage industry thank you to Assemblymember Phil Chen for sponsoring the bill and to our lobbyist, David Quintana, for working his magic as the legislation moved through the sausage-making process.
We also advocated for a specific definition of cannabis beverage under the edibles category in the Code of Regulations. There are so many things unique to beverage we started here and will continue to work to define and advocate for beverage so it’s recognized and stands on its own.
We keep building. Our Directors, Associate members and working committees have tremendous depth and knowledge on all aspects of this industry, and from this perspective, we plan to work on:
To learn more about our Government Affairs work, you can do two things; join the CBA and look for us at the November 11, 2021 Cannabis Drinks Expo in San Francisco. The CBA’s President Aaron Silverstein, past-President Macai Polansky, Lobbyist David Quintana, and CA Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua will be discussing the cannabis beverage industry and working with the California legislature in 2022. See you there!KEEP READING
October 14, 2021 by Jonathan Purow of Zuber Lawler
Like all other companies, cannabis beverage companies build their brands through blood, sweat and tears. Unfortunately, one of the many inequities that arises from the federal legal issues tied to cannabis is that cannabis brands cannot obtain the same types of trademark protection that non-cannabis brands have.
A non-cannabis company can choose a new trademark, search to ensure that it is clear for use and/or registration, and if the coast is clear, they can commence use and apply for and obtain a federal trademark registration. Amongst other benefits, a federal trademark registration gives the owner “nationwide constructive use” of that trademark for those goods, which is a valuable right when the time comes to enforce against interlopers using a similar trademark for similar products.
Yet things are not so simple for cannabis beverage companies, and so these companies need to be as clever with their trademark strategies as they are with their product development. If a beverage contains cannabinoids that are not derived from hemp deemed legal by the 2018 Farm Bill, then the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) will reject a federal trademark application for the trademark in that brand. The USPTO will certainly reject any application for a trademark used in association with beverages that contain THC in any quantities greater than those found in hemp.
Unfortunately, the situation for trademark applications for brand names of beverages containing CBD derived from hemp is not any more favorable. As CBD is the active ingredient in the FDA-approved drug Epidiolex, and the FDA has not issued regulations governing the use of CBD in beverages and edible products, the USPTO rejects all trademark applications for marks used with beverages containing CBD in amounts not standard to hemp. The industry has been waiting for the FDA to issue these CBD regulations for years, and there is no guarantee that they will resolve this trademark obstacle when they do.
While certain applicants try to withhold information about their product containing CBD or THC in their descriptions of their products in their trademark applications, or in the photos of their products they submit with their application, Examining Attorneys at the USPTO conduct online research to sniff out (pun intended) cannabis products. Even if the Examining Attorneys did not find the product’s connection to cannabis and the application proceeded to registration, any such registrations could potentially be canceled on the basis that they were obtained through fraud.
So what is a cannabis beverage company supposed to do to gain some type of trademark protection for their brand name? First off, in states where marijuana is legal it is typically possible to obtain a state trademark registration for that mark. But the protection of that registration extends only so far as the boundaries of that state. Cannabis beverage companies will therefore try to adopt different strategies to obtain the best possible federal trademark coverage that they can. Some parties take advantage of the fact that the USPTO permits federal trademark applications on the basis of “intent to use” to file rolling series of applications in their mark, as a bet that progress will be made on CBD regulations or federal legalization before the date that the application would ultimately be abandoned. Other parties file trademark applications using very specific terms to describe the cannabinoids they contain to avoid trigger words that would earn a rejection from the USPTO, and they can potentially obtain registrations.
The strategy in filing these applications has to continually shift based on developments with the governmental agencies like the FDA that the USPTO turns to for guidance. For example, the USPTO now rejects applications for ingestible products that contain Delta-8 THC.
Ultimately, the unfair circumstances that enable non-cannabis beverage companies to protect their trademarks nationwide via a federal trademark registration while a cannabis beverage company cannot do the same, is just another of the MANY reasons why the federal government needs to rehaul its approach to cannabis. We can only hope for that day in the future when Cannabis Beverage Association members will find it as easy to protect their valuable trademarks as Pepsi does.KEEP READING
September 20, 2021 by Sebastian Richard & Dan Marmor of Cann
Stick your arm out fully extended and sweep it back and forth in front of you. Now if you followed that instruction, you are probably cursing my name and questioning why you didn’t ask any questions up front, for there is a high chance you knocked over a beverage. For it is this wet puddle and what it once was that I want us to understand. Beverages, what are they, and why not just water?
When water is all you need, it is hard to be the only thing you want. And so humankind has put its creativity to it and over the centuries has brought to life a plethora of tastes concocted from both near and far ingredients.
We drink for a myriad of reasons; fun, stress, wake up, go to sleep, socialize, commiserate, celebrate. Though rarely, if ever, do we accept something we do not enjoy. Taste is the live and die metric for beverages.
Whether it’s the roasting temperature or brewing method of coffee, the distillation of botanicals for gin, the aging in oak for wine, the carbonation and sugars for soda, pulp or no pulp, there is a fundamental goal being aimed for – taste great.
Few will pick up a beverage and give it a second chance after a distasteful first outing. Food, sure, but a liquid, first impressions count and boy don’t we know it.
So when the world’s newest industry Cannabis begins to mature, it is of no surprise that beverages are the fastest growing segment within it. Resembling an action and form factor that we know intimately, the door is already open for Cannabis Beverages to take advantage. Though head the warning, tasting is believing and ingredients matter. With the modern consumer being driven by an increasingly strong urge to be familiar with what they are consuming, there is little room to hide. Before the cap is even popped, the ingredients are the first battle ground and are the greatest indicator to taste.
As an ever increasingly CPG driven consumer enters the cannabis space, beverages represent the lowest barrier to trial and the simplest introduction to the plant in general. Though if we want to ensure our new-to-cannabis consumers don’t leave beverage behind as their horizons expand, the ingredient lists must be at the standard of traditional beverages forward thinking brands. Peak at the meteoric rise of Kombucha (hard and soft), and you will see a boundary pushing idea that bacteria can be a tasty option.
Quality ingredients, however they come, that can be counted on one hand, pronounced, and widely regarded as not totally terrible for you, are the gold standard. In the immortal words of Eminem “we have one shot, one opportunity” to make that first step into cannabis beverage, not be the last. Our taste, our ingredients are the backbone of that ongoing journey.
With a set of taste buds more unique than your fingerprint, it is no wonder that beverages are among the most diverse offerings a grocery store can carry. People want more, they want clean and they want deliciousness. I truly believe that Cannabis Beverages can deliver on those and shake a mighty stick at Big Alcohol’s stranglehold on the social consumption landscape.
Ingredients will be the key to unlocking the consumer and how that taste profile is delivered will be the key to securing the future of Cannabis Beverages.
Taste is believing and ingredients are the roadmap to that outcome.KEEP READING
August 18, 2021 by Evan Eneman and Jim Baudino from Sands Lane
Cannabis beverage is one of the fastest growing verticals in cannabis. Beverages currently represent just over 1% of overall cannabis sales and are poised to grow at a healthy rate over the next several years as the format becomes more ubiquitous and desirable.
The category has had some help recently, backed by the tailwinds of recent success for CANN, a cannabis infused social tonic. This smart startup has already thought about ways to expand reach beyond just wide reaching PR and celebrity backers like Gwyneth Paltrow, they also have an UN*SPIKED line, to touch on traditional DTC beverage access and success. Upon her entry into the category, Paltrow called cannabis the ‘hero ingredient of the future’, and many agree with her.
One of the first big names in the space began their cannabis beverage journey through CBD. Interscope Records recording artist Ryan Tedder, lead singer of the group OneRepublic, launched MAD TASTY, his brand of infused sparkling waters in 2019.
And it’s not just big named personalities. Pabst Brewing Company recently launched a licensed brand under Pabst Labs, offering a line of cannabis infused seltzers. And before them, former craft brew darling Lagunitas (now owned by Heineken) entered the cannabis space with its Hi-Fi Hops in partnership with CannaCraft. The Boston Beer Company also announced in May that it would set up a subsidiary to begin researching cannabis beverages in Canada. And lets not forget non-alc brands, like Jones Soda, revealing it’s plans to produce cannabis-infused beverages.
And it’s not just the little guys….
Many major BevAlc brands have made investment into the category directly and indirectly, in the US and Canada. Constellation Brands was one of the first and biggest, with their CA$5.8B investment in Canopy Growth. Molson Coors and Anheuser-Busch have both made their foray into the space over the past few years as well. With beer sales declining by 2.9% last year, alcohol brands are looking for additional revenue streams including nonalcoholic and cannabis infused alternatives, while looking much further ahead to a full legal framework and the share of buzz that cannabis infused beverages will hold.
The amount of interest and activity clearly indicates that the segment not only has “legs”, but may very well be the dominant consumption format in the future.
So how do you get involved? You can follow the path of Ayr Wellness who just acquired a Massachusetts only cannabis beverage brand for $20M in stock and cash, or you can look for earlier stage opportunities like what Harmony Craft Beverages provides, allowing investors and operating partners alike to find a diversified portfolio approach as well as a bespoke brand incubation model. If public markets are your preference, many large operators will have some exposure to cannabis beverages, like Canopy Growth as well as GTI.
If you’re a brand, what do the prospects of raising capital for your business look like today? We asked several cannabis beverage brands to share their experience. Most brands have raised one or more rounds of outside funding, mostly from friends and family, angel investors and family offices. Deal structures have followed normal early stage formats using a combination of straight equity, and SAFE or Convertible Notes.
As you start this process, remember that fundraising can be a long process, between six to eighteen months, sometimes longer; for the operators that start building relationships well before they start to fundraise, that timeline can be much shorter. Overall investor sentiment for the category ranged from nervous to excited about the space, and all seeing the long term potential. So when you go out to market, be patient, have your operations in order, and be ready to answer the hard questions about the cannabis beverage sector. In the early stages of fundraising, investors generally invest in people and the “opportunity”, not your net earnings.
So, to answer the question posed in the title of this article…yes.KEEP READING
July 12, 2021 by BevZero
With recent trends of holistic wellness and fitness, many young people today are cutting back on their alcohol consumption. This isn’t to say that millennials aren’t consuming alcohol at all, but many people ages 25 to 40 are opting for non-alcoholic alternatives to wine, beer and cocktails. The nonalcoholic category is growing fast: according to Dieline, “millennials and Gen Zers are drinking less, while the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that, worldwide, the rate of alcohol drinkers fell by nearly 5%. Nonalcoholic beer sales have also grown an average of 3.9% for the past five years.”
BevZero provides innovative solutions for non-alcoholic and cannabis-infused beverages through a process called de-alcoholization. De-alcoholization simply reduces or eliminates alcohol content in traditionally alcoholic beverages. Many brands today are using this process to lower the alcohol content and add in a different type of buzz. Malus, a THC infused cider, uses de-alcoholization before infusing cannabis in their product.
“The food and beverage industry is all about bringing people together. We provide services that allow for an inclusive environment for everyone–whether you’re drinking or not,” said Debbie Novograd, CEO of BevZero.
With the demand for alternatives to alcohol, the nonalcoholic beverage industry has made major strides in providing quality products in recent years. Over the last few years, nonalcoholic beer has become an increasingly popular alternative to traditional beer, with increased options and more robust flavors.
THC infused beverages are currently a small segment of the cannabis industry, but are the fastest growing category, growing 40% year over year, according to recent Headset data. It’s no secret why–they are precisely dosed and are often low in sugar and calories. For those opting out of alcohol for health reasons, THC infused beverages may be an optimal alternative. These drinkables are also typically absorbed faster than edibles because they are consumed sublingually and digested faster in the stomach lining as opposed to the liver.
Ready to try a new nonalcoholic beverage? Check out some of our favorite non-alcoholic and THC infused beverages below.
Malus, the first brand from Harmony Craft Beverages, is a cannabis-infused cider that is perfect for summer. It’s a great option for craft beer and cider lovers–not too sweet, hoppy and full of flavor. The cider is sativa dominant, so its effects are happy, energetic and uplifting. Malus is low dose–one drink contains only 3mg of THC, which makes it perfect to bring along summer adventures. The resin, sour diesel, will leave you feeling energized and in a positive mood.
Barrel Brothers Brewing
Barrel Brothers brews some really great non-alcoholic beer in addition to their traditional brews. They offer six nonalcoholic brews but a favorite is their Morello Barrel Aged Sour–a great option for sour-lovers. It’s a deep red-brown ale, and it’s base beer is aged for three years before being conditioned further on one pound of cherries per gallon. They then used BevZero’s de-alcoholization technology to pull the alcohol out. The sour is complex and rich with barrel characteristics–a true sour, minus the alcohol.
House of Saka
If you’re looking to elevate your cannabis beverage experience, look no further than House of Saka. House of Saka is handcrafted from grapes grown in select Napa Valley vineyards, and uses the most advanced nano-emulsion technology available today. It breaks cannabis oil down to microscopic, water soluble and self-homogenizing particles, and is immediately absorbed for rapid onset. House of Saka is most comparable to wine and they have three products: pink, white and mimosa.
Whatever your reason for cutting back on alcohol, there’s no reason to opt for a less than quality beverage to replace your 5 o’clock cocktail.
June 8, 2021 by House of Saka
More Americans are turning away from alcohol in favor of healthier alternatives. Though COVID-related lockdown restrictions led to brief a surge in sales, alcohol use in the United State is on the decline.
Alcohol sales fizzle out
In the first quarter of 2020, as lockdown restrictions were first put into place, alcohol sales increased by 54%. Yet one year later sales have fallen flat, declining by 1.9%. One report found that alcohol manufacturers were “disproportionately affected by the coronavirus,” and estimates that global alcohol sales won’t rebound until 2024, and that “recovery” in the U.S. might take even longer.
During the same time, the non-alcoholic beverage market grew by leaps and bounds. According to a report by IWSR, a London-based data and intelligence company which tracks worldwide alcohol trends, the no/low alcohol market in the US grew by more than 30% in 2020. By 2025, Global Market Insights projects the global non-alcoholic wine and beer market alone will account for $30 billion in annual sales, growing at a CAGR of seven percent.
No such thing as moderation
While it is generally accepted that alcohol is generally unhealthy, particularly when used heavily, we are just coming to understand how bad for the human body alcohol actually is. An observational conducted by the University of Oxford found a relationship between alcohol use and shrinking brain mass.
Speaking with CNN, the study’s lead author Anya Topiwala, a senior clinical researcher at Oxford, noted that brain volume “reduces with age and more severely with dementia. Smaller brain volume also predicts worse performance on memory testing.”
As the true health effects of alcohol become known, more Americans are seeking out healthier options; but non-alcoholic beverages are not the only alternative. Cannabis has increasingly become a popular alternative to alcohol.
Market Opportunities: cannabis beverages as a healthier alternative
While alcohol sales have floundered during the pandemic, the cannabis industry has flourished. In 2020, global cannabis sales rose 48% to $21.3 billion. Over the five years, the market will swell to more than $90 billion in annual sales. Unlike alcohol, cannabis is far less toxic and carries far fewer health effects.
Also, unlike alcohol, cannabis can be enjoyed in a variety of forms to avoid the negative effects of smoking. With declining alcohol sales, a rise in non-alcoholic beverages and the desire for a healthier alternative, cannabis beverages represent one of the most viable alcohol alternatives. There are far fewer health effects, it is impossible to overdose on, and it closely recreates the “drinking experience.”
Cannabis brands have become increasingly savvy as to how they market their products, aiming their efforts towards alcohol users looking for a healthier alternative. Thanks to advances in emulsion technology, cannabis brands can now create alcohol-free cannabis beverages that taste just like their original alcoholic counterpart.
For example, the luxury-infused cannabis brand House of Saka has redefined the drinking with their award-winning Saka Pink and White alcohol-removed cannabis wines. Their latest foray into beverages aims at redefining the classic cocktail with Saka Spark “Mimosa,” a sparkling cannabis wine boasting Mimosa-strain-specific live resin.
Brands like House of Saka are why cannabis beverages make up one of the fastest segments in the industry. According to MJBizDaily, cannabis beverage sales grew by 40% in 2020. By 2025, sales are expected to reach $2.8 billion. Between the cannabis market, and the dwindling alcohol market, there is a significant opportunity for enterprising brands savvy enough to close the gap.
May 4, 2021 by Judy Yee
Being a parent without the stress of the pandemic is challenging, and the pandemic has created a significant amount of other challenges that parents and caregivers have needed to work through over the past year. To help cope with some of the stress and anxiety of getting through the day, many parents have either increased their cannabis use, or found a new love of the plant.
There has been an increase in cannabis retailers catering to this audience and many companies focusing on discreet products such as edibles and cannabis-infused drinks that are more easily, and safely, enjoyed at home.
Almost overnight, moms like me found ourselves juggling crazy, virtual school schedules, working from home, taking on the role of caregiver, teacher and earner all at the same time. This experience allowed me to see why parents are turning to cannabis in the pandemic.
The pursuit of being a “good mom” during the pandemic seemed laughable and completely unrealistic. For me, being a parent in the pandemic has been about survival.
If I can end the day getting my daughter through distance learning, cooking something for the family, attending my Zoom meetings and squeezing in some time for myself – like going on a run or even 10 minutes of meditation – I consider the day a huge success.
I try to carve out time in the evenings to enjoy a cannabis beverage as I prepare dinner, which helped me compartmentalize my day – it was like a marker that the work day was winding down and my personal time was ramping up. That structure not only gave me something to look forward to, but also helped me unwind and de-stress while staying alert and functional.
As the CEO of a cannabis beverage company, and someone who started incorporating cannabis into my daily routine before the pandemic, I’m not surprised that parents are turning to it during these tough times. It’s a great way to de-stress, relax, connect with my spouse, get some sleep, feel lighter… the list goes on.
This is the reason why we / Mad Lilly launched Moms for Mary to help destigmatize parents’ responsible cannabis use. It was important for me and my team to support and celebrate fellow moms and dads who are using cannabis, which is why we launched Moms for Mary, a community of moms for moms who are sharing their stories and positive experiences with cannabis.
In the same way that airlines tell you to secure your oxygen mask before helping children and those around you, I believe that responsible cannabis use is a form of self-care which leads to being a better partner and parent. It’s our aim to inspire those who are curious to discover how the plant can improve their overall well-being and contribute to ending the unfair stigma surrounding parents and responsible cannabis usage.
It’s our aim to inspire those who are curious to discover how the plant can improve their overall well-being and contribute to ending the unfair stigma surrounding parents’ and responsible cannabis usage. We invite every mom and dad to share their story!KEEP READING