The cannabis-infused food and beverage products sector is divided, as national legalization has failed to materialize. The Drinkable Company, a new venture from beverage industry veterans Mark Mahoney and Lee Brody, aims to serve consumers in the states where it’s legal, and secure more intrigue elsewhere through the power of social media.
The product portfolio of the Danvers, Massachusetts based company, which officially launched this month, includes three distinct ready-to-drink canned cannabis beverage lines.
All of the 12 ounce cans contain 5 milligrams of THC within its full spectrum cannabis oil. The company said the drinks were crafted using water-soluble emulsion technology.
Zenith Cold Brew Coffee is a zero calorie blend of roasted coffee beans and cannabis, containing 200 milligrams of caffeine for a boost of energy. Tiger Tea is a lightly sweet green tea that contains antioxidants, according to the company, arriving in two flavors: strawberry and wild berry and hibiscus blend. And Swivel Craft Soda, which the brand said contains natural flavors and low calories, comes in four varieties: cola, diet cola, orange and root beer, and was designed to be enjoyed in social settings without the impact of a hangover the next day.
The new brand is rolling out its products in select Massachusetts and Maine locations this month.
For CEO and co-founder Mark Mahoney, the launch signals the beginning of a new endeavor after years in the beverage space. Mahoney co-owns Atomic Coffee Roasters, founded beverage marketing company Thirsty Ventures, and from 1995 to 2010 was the founder and CEO of Creative Juices, Inc. Meanwhile, Brody previously served in executive roles at United Sodas of America and Nestlé-owned Sweet Leaf Tea Company.
The idea for The Drinkable Company came to Mahoney after a close friend and business partner, Alan Williams, was dealing with terminal cancer, and regularly consumed cannabis gummies to help with the pain. Mahoney said after his friend passed, he decided to trade out his alcohol consumption with cannabis, and noticed immediate benefits to his overall health, including his sleep.
“I started experimenting and keeping a log of how my body reacted to alcohol in terms of sleep, heart rate variability calls the whole thing, recovery,” Mahoney said. “I really started to see this monumental shift when I consumed cannabis.”
After the FDA failed to regulate cannabis in food and beverage earlier this year, many in the industry predicted a pause on new brands launching in the space, as state legislation remains fractured without federal guidance.
Mahoney said the smaller brands in the cannabis space he is seeing are benefiting by launching in roughly a dozen states, and taking advantage of Facebook and Instagram ads to reach a national audience.
“I've seen a bunch of legal opinions from big cannabis attorneys nationally that basically points toward, ‘Hey, you can basically make this product and you can ship it to about 30 states right now,’” Mahoney said. “Social media gives you a much broader reach on a national basis and people consume with their eyes, they see all these ads and say ‘I gotta try this.’”
The CEO said the company does not intend to stop with iced tea, coffee and soda, seeing promise in other product categories, including cannabis-infused simple syrup.