Cannabis Infused Keef Cola - Would You Try One?
Cannabis.net had a chat with Erik Knutson, co-founder of Keef Cola as well as CEO and Chairman of CanCore Concepts. In 2010, Knutson and his brothers realized there was a niche in the edibles marketplace – cannabis-infused beverages. Today, Keef Cola has an impressive array of delicious flavored low-dose and high-dose infused beverages, including the world’s first zero-calorie infused drink, that recreational and medical users alike can enjoy.
- Keef has a very interesting line of beverages, particularly the microdose varieties. How is the market responding to the microdose beverages?
We have been very pleased with the market response to the 10mg ready to drink product lines. In 2016 the 10mg Keef’s were the highest volume single serve edible sold in Colorado according to BDS analytics.
- What are your most popular products/varieties?
The Keef “Bubba Kush Root beer” continues to be our number one seller. That said, much like the national trend towards healthier alternatives, we saw a sharp increase in 2017 of our zero-cal Keef Sparkling water line.
- How have constantly changing laws impacted the business?
Navigating the rule changes has definitely been a roller coaster and one of the more challenging aspects of our business over the past 8 years. The biggest impact has been on our supply chain and inability to properly forecast ordering. Unfortunately we have been forced to recycle and trash a ton of labels over the years.
- What advice can you offer other business owners when it comes to dealing with regulations?
Be careful over the first couple years not to purchase more than 3 months worth of labeling or packaging inputs wherever possible. Any savings you may see on volume, will be eaten up fast if/when the regulators have a change of heart.
- How do you feel about Sessions' announcement last January 4 that the Cole Memo would be repealed?
The Justice Department to reverse Obama era guidelines set in place by Deputy Attorney General James Cole in 2013 could potentially lead to increased violent crime in states that have legalized the plant for medicinal and adult use. Banking has been a major issue within the industry. This reversal will throw further doubt into the financial sector, potentially leading to an increase in violent crime as cash transactions will once again be the norm. Although the decision is not surprising, it should be viewed as a strong indicator of how this administration may deal with states’ rights on a number of issues. That said, the Attorney General has previously stated that he believes Congress needs to address the scheduling of cannabis in relation to the Controlled Substances Act. Hopefully, this decision will act as a wake-up call to our congressional leaders, as national polling continues to show strong bi-partisan support for legalization.
- What trends do you see in the adult beverage marketplace for 2018?
On the broader market I think you will continue to see an increase in specialized niche and craft products. Following Constellation Brands investment into Canopy Growth (“WEED”) with the expressed intent to develop cannabis beverage brands, I would expect other large adult beverage companies to follow suit in 2018.
- Can you tell us a little more about your demographic?
Our target demographic with the low THC products is the mass market and non-traditional Cannabis consumer. That said, we also produce higher THC products that work well for more traditional medicinal consumers that are used to higher doses.
- Please tell us more about the organization you founded, the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp.
In 2014 we were looking at the national Cannabis trade associations and felt that there was not enough focus on the East Coast, specifically the tri-state and South Eastern markets. In addition to advocacy and political work in those regions we focused on helping to bridge the gap between large non-Cannabis companies and those operating within legal markets. We are also very excited to be working with ASTM on their push to provide real standards for this burgeoning industry.
- Do you have any products in the pipeline that we can look forward to?
Yes. We are set to launch our newest beverage “Keef Life” this Spring in Colorado, Arizona and California. The Life product is a phoneme specific beverage formulated at 100mg THC per bottle utilizing our unique dosing cap and is available in three variations: Sativa, Indica and Hybrid. It is our first non-carbonated product and is similar to a healthier version of “Vitamin Water”.
- Have you engaged in interesting partnerships to promote your product such as with cannabis chefs/restaurants? If not, do you see this happening in the near future?
Yes, we began participating in Cannabis events several years ago in Aspen with Cultivated Spirits at the Native Roots Tree House event held annually during X-Games. Since then we have worked with several other event companies, most notably with ChefDance last Spring in Los Angeles. I see this trend continuing into the future as Cannabis continues its march into the mainstream culture.
For more information, visit https://keefbrands.com/