From Engineer to Cannabis Beer CEO

March 20, 2022 |by Jim Baudino | Comments Off on From Engineer to Cannabis Beer CEO | Blog | , , ,

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 creditability back. That’s how it was with my now 28-year-old daughter, Catherine. It wasn’t until she taught me how to use a vape pen that I discovered she knew more than I did when it came to cannabis.

After I received my B.S. degree in Engineering from the University of Colorado (CU), I spent 30 plus years in the male-dominated engineering industry. There were many more men than women in my graduating class at CU and more men in the engineering world. I remember after one of my first professional meetings as an engineer, sometime in the late 1980’s, one male engineer came up to me, threw his business card in front of me, and asked if I could make copies of my notes for him. In addition, at one point during my tenure, I confronted my supervisor about getting paid the same as my male coworker, who held the same position as me. Yes, it was a man’s world.

So, after three decades as a Civil Engineer, I became the CEO of a cannabis beer company – Ceria Brewing Company. We sell alcohol-free beers infused with cannabis. This is a partnership with my husband, Keith Villa, who created Blue Moon beer, a billion-dollar craft beer brand launched in 1995 (when Catherine was just two years old).

Catherine graduated from the University of Colorado’s School of Engineering 30 years after I did with her Mechanical Engineering degree. After graduation, she decided that the cannabis industry might be interesting, so she came to work with her parents at Ceria. Now you may have heard of the father/son dynamic in beer: the father starts his brewery and builds a legacy, then passes the torch to his son. Or better yet, the father and son build their brewery together. Ceria’s legacy will be the father/mother/daughter dynamic.

The cannabis industry is male dominated, as is the brewing industry; but, truthfully, while CEO of Ceria I have not personally experienced the discrimination that I did as a woman engineer in the 1980’s. I have found the cannabis industry to be respectful and welcoming. This could be a result of the cannabis industry being a nascent category founded in a time where people are being made aware of their past discriminatory faults. Or, perhaps I’m fortunate and my experience and entry into the cannabis world are unique.

However, the recently released Women in Cannabis Study is an extensive report that details women in cannabis and their struggles, as well as some successes, as they break into and work within the industry. An interesting chart noted that women are not so concerned about being discriminated against nowadays as much as they are about finding “the right” position for themselves or fear of failure. While I personally have found the cannabis industry more accepting of women than the engineering world of the 1980’s, I do acknowledge that women, especially young women like Catherine, face various types of barriers to success working in cannabis. That is why support is so important.

I would not be where I am without the support of my family; and I’ve found that the broader cannabis community is available to lean on while navigating the ups and downs of these green waters. The good news is that there are plenty of ways for women to follow their passions, contribute their expertise and apply themselves to this exciting industry; and while it’s important to recognize the inequities in the cannabis (and brewing) industry, I’m optimistic. When I think about the future of this industry, I think about how the young, intelligent women of today, like Catherine, will be a force to be reckoned with as the industry grows and matures.

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5 Trends for Success in Social Media & Social Equity

February 16, 2022 |by Jim Baudino | 0 Comments | Blog, Business | , , , , , ,

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.

That’s all a great start. These campaigns and posts suggest that your organization is aware of the issues and has internal buy-in to be vocal about your values and roles facing injustice. 

Brands need to go beyond a one-time statement about diversity on social media. As social marketers, we should be integrating diversity, equity and inclusions into our social strategies for the long term. To do that successfully, we need to focus on both internal and external steps to ensure the efforts are authentic, sustainable, and helpful.

Here are five trends for success in social media and social equity 

1. Brands Finally Get Community Right

As the tide of social media shifts away from glossy mega-influencers towards smaller and more authentic communities, brands that partner wisely with creators are connecting with audiences, earning their trust and gaining cultural capital.

Digital communities have never been richer, more vibrant, and more impactful on our experience of daily life than they are now. And nowhere are these communities being created – and catered to – more than on social media. 

Over a billion Facebook users regularly engage within groups. On TikTok, plant fanatics, witches and rug aficionados are carving out their own spaces to share and develop their interests – no matter the obscure. Twitter has even started testing a feature called (wait for it…) Communities, “a dedicated place to connect, share and get closer to the discussion [people] care about most.”

Instead of trying to build a community from the ground up, the smartest brands in 2022 will tap into creator communities to learn more about customers, simplify content creation, and build brand awareness and affinity. 

2. The Buying Power of Women

By 2028, women will own 75% of the discretionary spend, making them the world’s great influencers. When it comes to cannabis, women are more likely to switch to cannabis rather than pharmaceuticals to treat pain and other issues. Despite getting less support from physicians to try medical cannabis. 

Of individuals in favor of recreational legalization, women are more likely than men to express interest in ingesting cannabis infused products if they’re in the form of baked goods, candies, cooking ingredients and non-alcoholic beverages. 

And when you take age into consideration, the desire to consume marijuana infused products are more prevalent among millennial women. 

The absolute best way to reach women is to create authentic content for women, by women, addressing their specific needs. 

3. Tap Into the Power of the Black Consumer 

As established and emerging cannabis brands look for new markets and consumer audiences to capture, one segment of the consumer population remains surprisingly untapped: Black Americans.

According to Nielsen’s 2019 Diverse Intelligence Series (DIS) Report, Black Americans account for $1.3 trillion in annual consumer spending, even though they make up 14 percent of the U.S. population. The report also found that Black Americans are 20 percent more likely to pay for a brand that aligns with the image they wish to convey, more like to shop at high-end stores, and are more influenced by in-store advertising (28 percent) and merchandising (27 percent).

Black women, in particular, wield enormous power as consumers. Women drive 70%-80% of all consumer purchasing decisions, and women account for roughly 52 percent of the black population. Nielsen’s 2017 DIS Report, which focused on Black female consumers, found that Black women are both early adopters, brand loyalists and are also among the fastest-growing groups of social media influencers. 

They are playing an increasingly vital role in how all women see themselves and influencing mainstream culture across a number of areas, including – fashion, beauty, television and music. 

4. You’re Dismissing Twitter As A Content Source

Sometimes it’s the simple things that are the most effective. For example, despite some marketers believing that Twitter is no longer relevant, Black Americans are still 30 percent more likely to use Twitter than white.

Don’t select content sources based on your own social media behaviors. Twitter has been an important driving source of culture in recent years, much in part due to ‘Black Twitter’. Being mentioned on Twitter should be considered a symbol of cultural relevance for most brands.

5. Prioritize Representation & Avoid Unseen Bias

Additionally, it’s vital to use social media to be sure that technology does reflect unseen biases. For example, automated sentiment crawlers will often misinterpret or struggle to analyze African American vernacular English. Likewise, algorithms and software programs can often exclude Black Americans because they unintentionally only consider white experiences and linguistic nuances.

Choose your models and images with intention. For example, according to the Census, The U.S. population is 18% Hispanic or LatinX, 13% Black or African American, 6% Asian and 3% multiracial. A U.S. brand can keep that in mind while putting together creative assets and gauging representation.

What your brand says and does on social media should be a direct reflection of your organization’s values and actions. When it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion, content developed in a communications or creative silo risks coming across as performative if your company’s commitments and activities don’t back it up.

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The Cannabis Beverage Association – Advocating for Change

November 9, 2021 |by Jim Baudino | 0 Comments | Blog, Industry News | , , ,

November 9, 2021 by Ginger Bryant & Macai Polansky

Who We Are and What We Do 

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.        

Let’s Go Deeper with One of our Key Initiatives: 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.        

So, what’s next for 2022?  

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: 

  • Developing alliances within the cannabis advocacy space, rising tides float all boats!  
  • Regulatory hurdles for product manufacturing and distribution. 
  • Advocating for the highest industry-wide testing standards to ensure consumers have trust in a consistent, replicable, and enjoyable experience.
  • Announcements due in early 2022 on strategic initiatives under development so to use the phrase – watch this space!  

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! 

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Trademark Issues Facing Cannabis Brands

October 14, 2021 |by Jim Baudino | 0 Comments | Blog, Industry News | , , ,

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.

Non-Cannabis vs Cannabis Trademark Process

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.

Limitation with CBD Trademark Applications

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.

How Can Cannabis Brands Protect Themselves

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.

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Tasting is Believing: how ingredients are the key to unlocking the potential of Canna Beverages

September 21, 2021 |by Jim Baudino | 0 Comments | Blog, Industry News | , , ,

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.

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To Drink or Not To Drink? Is Now the Time to Invest in Cannabis Beverages?

August 18, 2021 |by Jim Baudino | 0 Comments | Blog, Industry News | , , , , ,

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.

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The Rising Popularity of Nonalcoholic Beverages

July 13, 2021 |by Jim Baudino | 0 Comments | Blog | , , , , ,

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

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. 

 

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Alternative Beverage Opportunities

June 8, 2021 |by Jim Baudino | 0 Comments | Blog | , , ,

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. 

 

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More Parents Are Using Cannabis Than Ever Before

May 4, 2021 |by Jim Baudino | 0 Comments | Blog | , , , , , , , ,

K-Zen’s Mad Lilly created the Moms For Mary Community Blog to help destigmatize parents’ cannabis use

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.

Results from a recent Harris Poll Survey, show that since the start of the pandemic, 52% of parents who had previously used cannabis started or increased their cannabis use. 

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.

Moms For Mary

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!

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4/20 Holiday Beverage Buyers’ Guide

April 20, 2021 |by Jim Baudino | 0 Comments | Blog | , , , ,

As millions of cannabis consumers prepare to kick back and enjoy 4/20, many are turning to infused beverages to ring in the holiday. As one of the fastest-growing markets in the cannabis industry, infused beverages represent a holy grail for manufacturers: a cannabis product that is both easy to dose and produce consistently. Primed for the national stage, the cannabis beverage market has generated millions of dollars in sales, and billions more in investment

 We wanted to provide you with an overview of the beverage market and examples of the hottest brands in the industry.

2020: The Year of Cannabis Beverages

2020 in particular was a banner year for the cannabis beverage industry. Over the last year, cannabis beverage sales jumped by 40%, from $67.8 million in 2019 to $95.2 million in 2020. Boosting the sales of cannabis beverages is the decline of alcohol sales. 

Despite increased sales during the pandemic, alcohol use is declining. Even as bars and restaurants have begun to open back up, alcohol sales continue to dip. As fewer Americans are drinking, cannabis is rapidly becoming America’s new recreational substance. Almost half of all cannabis users have reduced or replaced their alcohol consumption with cannabis. In 2020, cannabis sales increased by 71% and overall purchase sizes increased by 33%.  

This consumer adoption has only been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to Marijuana Business Daily, although cannabis beverage sales generally are trending upward, sales only started to spike as soon as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were put into place. Prior to March 2020, infused beverages sales generated less than $6 million a month. In December, monthly sales started to close in on $10 million.

The Future of Cannabis Beverages is Female

Women are the biggest consumers of cannabis beverages. According to a report by Headset, women outspent men on cannabis beverages in every age category. The vast majority of cannabis beverage purchases (80%) included other cannabis products, compared to around 66% of edibles sales. Preference in dosage to vary state by state. For example, in Washington, consumers prefer 100mg bevers, while California consumers prefer products with less than 12mg.  Market-wide, consumers prefer beverages with over 100mg of THC (59.8%), followed by 10mg beverages (18%) and 5mg (19.5%).

Cannabis Beverages: A Market Poised for Growth

The infused cannabis beverage market is expected to continue to grow over the next four years. In addition to the gains made throughout the pandemic, increased legality should help propel growth in the market. According to Grandview Research, the infused cannabis beverage market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 17.8% and reach $2.8 billion by 2025. That’s enough to make anyone pop open a bottle in celebration.

Variety of Products Types

The following is a small fraction of the cannabis infused beverages available in the market today. From high dose shots to low dose cider, there is a beverage for any occasion.

Cann is the world’s first Low-Dose cannabis beverage in a Can(n). Made with 5 all-natural ingredients (Carbonated water, Agave, 100% Fresh Juice, 100% Natural Essential Oils, California Cannabis Extract), Cann provides a lighter, less impactful and more controlled approach to cannabis consumption .(2mg THC & 4mg CBD.) 200+ California Dispensaries (including Eaze.com / MedMen / Apothecarium / Sweet Flower…)

Product Description: Cann is the #1 selling THC-infused beverage in California according to BDS Analytics. Founded by Stanford and Harvard graduates, Cann is reshaping social drinking with their microdosed, non-alcoholic beverages that deliver a perfect, uplifting feeling every time. Vegan, gluten-free, and with only 30-35 calories, each Cann has five all-natural ingredients with a strength that is similar to a beer or glass of wine. There are no artificial sweeteners or flavors, sugar substitutes, or cannabis taste.

Retail Price:

  • $18 per 6 pack of Cann social tonics (core flavors)
  • $12 per 4 pack of Cann social tonics (seasonal flavors)
  • $20 per 4 pack of Cann Hi Boy social tonics 
  • $18 per 10 pack of Cann Roadies

Website: shop.drinkcann.com, Instagram: @drinkcann

4/20 Deal: Use code FOURTWENTY on shop.drinkcann.com – get 20% off 4 or more 6pks of Cann.

 

Nectr is a zero calorie, zero sugar, vegan, uber-refreshing sparkling water that’s perfect for any time of day or night. At 10mg of THC per bottle, it’s a perfect introduction for the canna-curious or regular cannabis user. It can be found in over a hundred dispensaries across California and at tastethehigh.com/find-us.

 

Matt’s High Soda created the hottest drink of the year with Cannabis-infused Uncle Arnies Iced Tea Lemonade. According to Headset’s sales data, Uncle Arnies is the fastest selling beverage in California. This cannabis version of an Arnold Palmer is every stoner and bud-tenders favorite. Packing a whopping 100mg of THC, it’s enough to make you take a whole afternoon away from reality. So sip back and relax, it sells out fast but you can check mattshighsoda.com/get-some for the list of available dispensaries.

 

Malus Hard Cider, from Harmony Craft Beverages, is California’s first cannabis-infused cider that uses live resin to maintain the aromatic profile of terpenes. Brewed from nature, Malus is a deliciously drinkable blend of apple and cannabis flavors. With dry cider and floral notes, Malus Granny Smith OG is fast-acting and sessionable with 3mg of THC and <2mg of CBD per can to make your best high better. Founded by a team of beverage and cannabis experience enthusiasts, Harmony Craft Beverages is inspired by a quintessentially Californian heritage and a new generation of social drinkers. For more information on Harmony Craft Beverages and Malus Hard Cider, including retail locations, visit: HarmonyCraftBeverages.com | Instagram: @harmonycraftbeverages, @drinkmalus.

 

House of Saka was established with a mission to bring the Saka’s cannabis infused wine tradition into the modern age. Saka WHITE is the color of muted sunlight with mouth-watering aromas of ripe peach, apricot and toasty oak Saka WHTE offers authentic flavors of rich, buttery vanilla and lush tropical fruit balanced with mild acidity and a long, pleasing finish. With 30mg of TCH and 6mg of CBD per bottle (6 mg of THC, and 1mg of CBD per 5oz serving), Saka WHITE delivers a sensual, relaxing high with rapid onset and offset effects for a truly safe, predictable and social cannabis experience. Five servings per bottle. Nonalcoholic. Fewer than 16 calories per glass. You can purchase Saka WHITE and PINK at houseofsaka.com to have it delivered to your front door in the state of California.

 

Tomato Jane™ by Van Doran Brands is Southern California’s newest way to enjoy brunch. It is a 10 mg ready to drink product.  We use the best combination of spices and flavoring to give you a tasty tangy drink. Enjoy the new way to imbibe with a new vibe™ for your next brunch! You can find these cannabis infused beverages in Southern California dispensaries. 

 

S*SHOTS is infused with 100MG of glorious THC and expertly blended with sweet ‘n tangy fruit juices. It builds the vibe with each tasty 10mg THC shot (10 servings per bottle) for a flavor-explosive, full-body-high. Explore both flavors –Watermelon Punch and Lemon Crush– as a shot on their own, or mix it as a delicious mocktail. Order on eaze.com and in select stores listed at s-shots.com/find-us.

 

Mad Lilly’s Spritzers Mango Passion won 2nd place for infused beverages at the 2021 Emerald Cup. Let your taste buds bloom with the bright and delicious flavors of Mad Lilly Spritzers: Ginger Pear, Passion Fruit Mango, and Raspberry Hibiscus. Each beautiful (and recyclable) bottle is filled with clean ingredients (all-natural fruit juices and sparkling water – no added sugars or preservatives) and infused with a 1:1 ratio of 5mg THC and 5mg CBD for a perfectly balanced, relaxing experience. Order on Eaze.com now and find us in California dispensaries soon.

 

Viv & Oak is an innovative wine alternative for women and men that love wine but wants to avoid alcohol. We extract the alcohol, and infuse the wine with premium cannabis. Our Shimmering Scarlett (grapes from Zinfandel) with dosing styles of THC 50mg, THC 30mg, THCv 25mg, CBD 25mg (2:1:1) & CBD 100mg THC 4mg per bottle and our Shimmering Blush (grapes from Rose) with dosing styles of THC 50mg& THC 25mg CBD 25mg (1:1) per bottle. With only 3 grams of sugar and 19 calories per glass.

Giving you an elevated social experience, without the hangovers. 

You can thank us in the morning!™ 

Visit us at www.vivandoak.com for retailers near you!

 

Pabst Labs: The same Blue Ribbon you know and love now comes with a different kind of buzz. This light and refreshing seltzer is made with California grown cannabis, has only 25 calories, 4 grams of sugar and zero ingredients that are hard to pronounce. Each 12oz can has 5mg of THC, or as we call it, the right amount to start having a good time. Thanks to our advanced emulsion technology, powered by Vertosa, our cannabis infused seltzer works quicker than an average edible, and allows for the most efficient absorption into your system, so you won’t be left waiting for hours to feel a buzz. Order now through our Pabst Labs Shop page or visit our Find It page for retailers near you!

 

Artet is a modern beverage, inspired by tradition. Unlike traditional aperitifs, Artet is non-alcoholic and cannabis infused. Each batch is a blend of cannabis and eight botanicals that work in harmony to make Artet delicious on the rocks, intriguing when mixed, and always enjoyed in good company. Born out of a backyard BBQ in Los Angeles, Rosemary Jane quickly became a favorite among Artet drinks. The warming notes of Artet working in harmony alongside a blend of italian grapefruit juice, young rosemary simple syrup, and sparkling water. Each can has 5 mg of THC and 5mg of CBD. You can find stores near you to purchase Artet at iheartjane.com.

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