Cannabis isn’t just buds and brownies anymore. Amid the mints, gummies, chocolates, rubs, and other THC-dosed incarnations, beverages are a newly established category, from dealcoholized beers and wines to energy drinks and soda pop. The latter is where Keef Cola is taking the lead, offering both classic flavors such as cola and root beer as well as jazzier tastes such as Blue Razz, Orange Kush, and Purple Passion.
Compared to edibles, these sodas deliver their effects a little faster and shorter, making them a bit more sessionable. That’s what Keef Brands cofounder Erik Knutson told us in the following interview, where he also discusses the seemingly incongruous crossover of health-conscious herb lovers and sugary sodas.
What’s the target audience and setting for cannabis soda pop? The target audience for Keef Cola is incredibly inclusive. Our goal is to remix the expectations of what cannabis is and isn’t with an inclusive gathering of friends, family, newcomers, old-timers, “CannaSeurs,” and “CannaCurious.” What sets us apart is that Keef welcomes everyone to the party!
The target setting is social, from house parties to cannabis hospitality lounges to camping trips to tailgates and beyond. We believe that the best way to enjoy cannabis is also the easiest way to enjoy cannabis. Drinking is social, mainstream, and celebratory, so those consuming cannabis beverages can stay part of the party (rather than stepping outside to smoke), join in the toasts, keep the conversation going, and share in the moments that make for great times.
Cannabis users seem to be on the more health-conscious side of things, and yet soda is kind of a no-no these days. So where does cannabis soda fit? Cannabis beverages overall are a healthier alternative to alcohol, as they provide an opportunity for friends to hang out and drink together without risking debilitating hangovers or getting out of control. People are no longer just simply willing to accept the negative effects of alcohol and are instead seeking alternatives to social consumption and new ways to relax. Carefully dosed cannabis-infused beverages, which include soda, can be the solution.
However, for those looking for low- or no-calorie cannabis beverage options, I would actually recommend Keef Sparkling, the world’s first zero-calorie, zero-sugar cannabis-infused sparkling water; and Keef Life, which has less than 50 calories per bottle. We’ll be launching these beverages in California soon, so stay tuned!
How are cannabis beverages different than edibles? With our beverages, we do find that people tend to feel the effect much quicker, often within 15 minutes of consumption. This is primarily due to the method of infusion. In order to mix “oil and water,” we have to take the molecule to a near-nano-sized particle. These THC molecules can be absorbed in the mouth, throat, and stomach, as opposed to traditional edibles that are absorbed in the GI tract. We also typically find that infused beverages have a reduced duration of effect, making them ideal for social consumption where someone may not be looking for a standard three- to four-hour edible buzz.
What more can we expect from Keef Brands? We also offer flavored Keef Shots, such as Mojito and Keef-A-Rita. While those aren’t available in California yet, they will be soon. In addition, Keef Brands develops, produces, and distributes concentrates, oils, and more, and then there’s cannabis-infused beer. We worked with Ceria Brewing Company to help launch Colorado’s first THC-infused craft beer and have collaborated with CannaCraft and Lagunitas to bottle Hi-Fi Hops in Colorado.