CBD now has ‘a life of its own’ and a former Coca-Cola exec wants to lead the category

By Beth Newhart

- Last updated on GMT

Docklight sad women’s interest in CBD grew 92% last year, and are 17% more likely than men to use CBD for restoration and wellness.
Docklight sad women’s interest in CBD grew 92% last year, and are 17% more likely than men to use CBD for restoration and wellness.

Related tags Cbd cbd beverages Tea Sparkling water NACS wellness shots

Docklight Brands is on its way to having a complete portfolio of CBD brands, including several beverages, edibles and skincare topicals. CEO Damian Marano is trying to cross categories and be the first total consumer products company in CBD.

Docklight Brands was founded by a private equity firm looking to get into cannabis early, because it theorized CBD would become an input like any other consumer product. Today the company umbrellas over 12 CBD and THC brands.

Marano, who joined Docklight this year from The Coca-Cola Company, told BeverageDaily that in his work with CBD, he’s found that most brands have very low trial. But once people do try it, there is a very high repeat purchase rate. Docklight considers consumer education to be a key part of stimulating the trial in an effort to reduce uncertainty.

The most well known Docklight brand is Marley, a maker of CBD and THC products. Docklight purchased a 30 year global license from the Marley family for this venture, and now sells CBD edibles, as well as psychoactive items in dispensaries.

Relax the mind, sharpen the senses

NACS cbd 1

At this year’s National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) show, Docklight exhibited several new additions to its house of brands, including the launch of Marley’s tea and chocolate lines.

Each 16oz can of decaffeinated tea contains 25mg of CBD, available in Herbal Honey, Peach Raspberry and Lemon Raspberry. Two varieties of 2oz wellness shots contain the same amount of CBD, and are available in Berry Prickly Pear and Pineapple Coconut.

Marley also sells four varieties of 72% dark chocolate--Sea Salt, Blue Mountain Coffee, Jamaican Spice and Candied Ginger--that contain 10mg of CBD. The Marley products are designed to “relax your mind and sharpen your senses without any psychotropic effect.”

Also debuting at NACS was Irisa, with CBD sparkling waters. The products blend botanicals to “support four unique states of being: sun for energy, moon for relaxation, earth for balance and stars for passion.”

The flavors are Peach Ginger (Earth), Berry Lavender (Moon), Mango Citrus (Sun) and Acai Basil (Stars). Each 12oz slim can contains 25mg of CBD. Irisa is described as a female-focused wellness brand with plans to move to other product categories.

NACS cbd 2

Docklight said the brand’s demographic is mainly women who are looking for self-care options. It noted that women’s interest in CBD grew 92% last year, and are 17% more likely than men to use CBD for restoration and wellness.

Regulating for consumer needs

Marano said that from a regulatory standpoint, products for consumption like drinks and chocolate are much more difficult to get through to market than topicals like skincare. Docklight deals with its distribution on a state-by-state level, tracking regulation changes weekly.

“We’re looking at CBD as a category, so when we talk to a retailer or distributor, they start with the regulatory discussions. Then, why is it a great consumer opportunity, and what are the consumer needs that it’s addressing?”​ Marano said.

Because sales of CBD infused products are expected to reach $22bn by 2022, Marano wants to create a robust portfolio of brands now that have the ability to cut across different verticals.

Docklight is in the process of expanding in Colorado and building an ecommerce presence. The company also recently signed a deal with Hudson Distribution to grow across their 15,000-count retail network in the northeastern US.

Other Docklight brands include makers of CBD chocolates and confections (Goodship), a non-alcoholic bloody mary mix infused with CBD (Bloody Mary Jane), varieties of CBD ginger beer (Hearsay) and a sparkling yerba mate tea (Almost Cheating).

“CBD’s kind of becoming bigger than THC, it’s got a life of its own,”​ Marano said.

NACS 2019 CBD Pavillion

At NACS this year, Docklight exhibited in the show’s CBD Pavilion. All attendees had their show badges scanned before entering the area, and had to agree to several legal terms that stated:

“The FDA has not approved any retail products containing hemp-derived CBD that are ingestible or make claims of therapeutic benefit/disease treatment. The FDA maintains that the sale of such products is illegal under the Federal Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act.”

“Any such products for which marketing materials are displayed in the CBD Exhibit Pavilion are not yet legally on the market but may be sold in the marketplace following FDA approval or regulatory action.”

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