FAST COMPANY: The LaCroix of cannabis? The marijuana market bets on beverages

Screen Shot 2018-11-05 at 3.57.43 AM.png

Via: Fast Company

“This past summer, Eric Schnell of Beyond Brands cofounded Mood33, a sparkling spiked tonic that retails for $8. A little more luxe than its competitors, the “better-for-you” line combines sophisticated flavors like green tea, dried lemon peel, and rose hibiscus flowers. There are three distinct flavors centered around moods (Joy, Passion, and Calm), each with varying degrees of both THC and CBD.

The low-sugar concoctions are only 33 calories, with taste mostly derived from herbal and fruit extracts. Via the terpenes found in cannabis, they promise “your own personal aromatherapy session” in each bottle. Schnell previously founded Steaz, the first USDA organic-certified sparkling tea brand that was sold in 2016. (More recently, he cofounded Good Catch, the vegan seafood company dubbed the “Impossible Burger of tuna.”)

The entrepreneur sees the dispensary market adopting trends surging in the general beverage market—most notably, a shift away from sugary drinks and high-calorie brands. Tea, for example, grew faster than soda in the last year.

As cannabis gains legality in more states, Schnell believes more Americans will favor smoke-free alternatives. It will become a mainstream product, and seeing that consumers now prefer healthier ingredients (and are willing to pay for them), why not combine the two together for a functional beverage?

“We’re [targeting] that natural, organic, foodie, fun-loving consumer,” says Schnell, noting cannabis’s reputation for natural stress relief and pain management. “We inspired by a lot of the natural beverage movement.”

With Americans more stressed than ever before, Schnell envisions a not-too-distant future in which social occasions seek alternative refreshments. Switching from caffeine products to alcohol isn’t always the most seamless of handoffs, and in many ways, indicative of the modern work lifestyle. Mood 33 is betting on Americans opting for a cannabis can in lieu of a Coors, or maybe even shaking up the family barbecue.

“Not everyone wants to dedicate themselves to a hangover, or maybe they’re driving,” says Schnell. And while edibles might take an hour or two to kick in, beverages take considerably less time. “So that’s the other benefit.”

Read the full article here: