- Cannabis investment firm Sol Global announced it has upped its initial stake in Jones Soda to 9.8%, making it the premium soda maker's largest stockholder. The investment firm initially purchased 8.19% of Jones Soda on March 26 and announced the additional investment two days later.
- Sol Global describes itself as an international investment firm focused on cannabis and cannabis-related companies in legal U.S. states as well as hemp and CBD marketplaces.
- Jones Soda was established in 1986 in Canada, but moved its headquarters to Seattle in 2000. It makes a variety of flavored craft sodas with cane sugar and also has sugar-free options. Most recently, it debuted Jones Ginger Beer, and it also makes Spiked Jones hard cider soda, Jones Carbonated Candy and Lemoncocco, a non-carbonated beverage combining lemon and coconut flavors.
Sol Global mostly invests in cannabis, so its initial stake and then subsequent increased investment in Jones Soda could signal an interest in developing and marketing cannabis soda. The company's release on the investment didn't go into details, but simply stated that the company "believes there are numerous operational and strategic opportunities to maximize shareholder value in Jones Soda."
Jones Soda has carved out a niche for itself with quirky and creative marketing approaches and interesting craft soda flavors such as blue bubblegum, fufu berry, pineapple cream and green apple. The company is known for switching up black-and-white photos on its labels and using photos and fortunes submitted by consumers on bottles and under bottle caps.
With this unconventional yet popular profile, it wouldn't be surprising if Sol Global wanted to use Jones Soda as a cannabis delivery method. Even if it doesn't decide to go that route, the built-in audience for the company's craft soda products is likely to lead to additional innovation and growth down the line. The stock market seemed to see potential in the future of the brand since Jones Soda's stock took a significant jump this past week following the news of Sol Global's investment.
Producing cannabis-infused sodas could be a major game changer for Jones Soda and might attract millennial and Generation Z consumers looking for interesting flavors and packaging — in addition to the benefits of cannabis. Other competitors in the space include sparkling citrus soda Sprig, natural soda brand The Fizz, bottled fruit-flavored soda line California Dreamin' and Colorado-based Keef Cola. And there are additional beverage products undoubtedly in the works.
The cannabis-infused beverage market seems wide open at this point, and large companies have been jumping in. Constellation Brands, Molson Coors Brewing and AB InBev have invested in developing CBD and THC-infused nonalcoholic beverages. Coca-Cola was in talks with Canadian cannabis producer Aurora Cannabis about making marijuana-infused beverages, but CEO James Quincey said last October that the company has no plans to get into the space.
More food and beverage companies have been interested in the cannabis market after the Farm Bill took hemp and its components — including CBD — off of the controlled substance list. But there are still many regulatory questions about CBD since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it is still technically illegal in food and drink.
Even with those regulatory uncertainties, consumers are increasingly receptive to such products and interested in exploring these beverages. A recent study found 40% of Americans would be willing to try out cannabis-infused foods. These factors all point to additional investment and innovative products as the cannabis beverage market expands.