Molson Coors enters US alcohol alternative market with CBD beverage for mood

27 Jan 2021 — Quicksilver Scientific’s patent-pending nanoemulsion delivery technology will ensure effective CBD delivery in Veryvell – a new US line of non-alcoholic, hemp-derived CBD beverages.

The drinks, positioned as a mood-boosting alternative to alcohol, are made by Truss CBD USA, a joint venture between Molson Coors and HEXO Cannabis.

“We tailored our technology to maximize the solubility of the cannabinoids in Veryvell,” Dr. Christopher Shade, founder and CEO of Quicksilver Scientific, tells NutritionInsight.

“We designed the cannabis products for Truss Canada to have a very fast absorption so the cannabinoid absorption, uptake and offset from the system mirrors the experience of consuming an alcoholic beverage.”

Therefore, people consuming Veryvell cannabis products can expect the same timing and duration of effects as those consuming alcohol.

Shade also notes that the CBD and alcohol beverage segments are both crowded spaces that make it hard for companies to differentiate themselves.

“For both, functionality is often your original differentiator, and you move from the functionality into more of a cultural space. Because our functionality is so far beyond everybody else, it gives us a very distinct point of differentiation to start from.”Click to EnlargeDr. Shade hopes to make the cannabis business more accessible to the people who don’t want to smoke.

Building on a history of collaboration
The relationship between Quicksilver and Vervell dates back two years to when the companies collaborated on a line of Canadian products.

Now, Veryvell is launching in the US for the first time. The roll-out has begun in Colorado, a state known for being an early cannabis adopter with a regulatory infrastructure for consumable CBD products already in place.

The brand says that this US launch represents an “ambitious leap” into a new, non-alcoholic market for Molson Coors.

According to Innova Market Insights data, F&B launches with low/no alcohol positionings have risen 21 percent (Global CAGR) between 2016 and 2020. This “sober curious” movement is especially gaining pace within younger generations, according to Treatt.

Harnessing nanoemulsion
Shade explains that CBD is not water-soluble, which creates challenges for manufacturers when attempting to mix it into beverages.

However, Quicksilver has been developing its nanoemulsion technology over the last decade.

It encapsulates nano-sized CBD particles in water-soluble spheres that can be directly added to beverages. The minuscule CBD particles can pass between cells and enter the bloodstream directly, which leads to a more rapid uptake and effect.

This technology can also be used for a host of other vitamins, nutraceuticals and herbal compounds that are not soluble in water.

“We can use this process in products for immunity, metabolic health and energy. It goes beyond just having fancier vitamin water. It’s about creating products that are deeply efficacious. From there, we can tailor the technology to maximize the different compounds we want to deliver within the product,” says Shade.

Overcoming sensory challenges
The microscopic size of Quicksilver’s CBD particles also provides greater transparency in appearance. Click to EnlargePeople are gravitating toward mood-boosters as they come under increasing stress.

“This is so important for beverage applications and stands in direct contrast to the hazy or cloudy appearance of other emulsions currently being used in the cannabis beverage market,” explains Shade.

Flavor is another major consideration, as CBD has an inherent bitterness.

“We wanted to make sure this wasn’t overwhelming the flavor profiles we had carefully created to enhance the natural, earthy flavors of CBD without the overwhelming bitterness. That was part of the challenge in creating the right emulsions.’

The Quicksilver team also had to create stability in the beverage matrix. “In almost all of the initial cannabis beverages, the emulsion would plate out onto the walls of the container. All of the active ingredients would be stuck on there. Then you’d be drinking water with significantly less CBD in there,” details Shade.

Targeting three benefits
Veryvell offers three formulations, each intended to deliver the following benefits:

  • Focus: Includes grapefruit and tarragon with ginseng and guarana.
  • Mind & Body: Includes strawberry and hibiscus with ashwagandha and elderberry.
  • Unwind: Includes blueberry and lavender flavors with ashwagandha and L-Theanine.

Shade notes that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many US consumers felt they were always under financial or work-related stress.

“There is also a feeling that there’s not a lot that you can control in your life anymore. Mood has emerged as something that we’re starting to have tools to further control. It’s an attractive notion to some people when there are so many things we can’t control.”

He notes that once the pandemic hit, the desire to control mood has become much more magnified, as so many more aspects of life felt stressful and out of control.

“Our mood is so fundamental to who we are as humans. This is something that people really gravitate toward.”

Notably, Innova Market Insights crowned “Mood: The Next Occasion” as one of its top trends for 2021. The market researcher reports that 44 percent of global consumers have taken action to improve their mental and emotional well-being.

By Katherine Durrell

This feature is provided by FoodIngredientsFirst’s sister website, NutritionInsight.

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