Mary Jones products will include signature elements of Jones’ popular soft drink, such as user-submitted images reproduced on the labels and subtle quotes under the caps. Jones’s four popular flavors – raspberry juice, orange, cream, green apple and root beer – will be applied to four product formats comprising a “versatile” portfolio that opens up plenty of occasions and opportunities for people to use them more often, said BobBlair, chief marketing officer of Jones and brand manager for Mary. Jones Cannibis Inc.
The company announced its intention to enter the cannabis field last summer.
According to market research provider Reportlinker, the cost of cannabis drinks in the United States is $649 million and could grow to $2 billion by 2026 as more countries relax product restrictions and consumers embrace recreational use of the stimulant. Jones reported annual sales in fiscal year 2021 of $14.8 million, an increase of 24% year over year.
Mary Jones’ soda includes a soda filled with 10 milligrams of cannabis sold in 12-ounce bottles or four-packs; Hemp soda can be meant to 100 milligrams in 16 ounces to allow drinkers to control their intake; 1,000 mg cannabis tincture (extract) marketed as a syrup for use as additives to other foods, in drink mixers, or for small oral doses; And 5 milligrams of cannabis in Jones’ mini bottles. These bundles are sold in packs of 20 which include a stand of four paper packets.
Blair said the items will go on sale at select dispensaries in California and through authorized delivery partners on April 1. The company plans to expand into additional states where cannabis products are allowed to be sold in the coming months. Recreational cannabis is now legal in 18 states.
Designed to give users a “high”, Mary Jones aims for what Blair calls plenty of room for tasty but not very effective options.
“Mess is happening in the low-dose, light-flavored carbonated water space right now. They seem to have the most brands, the most vigor, but they have the most mess,” he said. “The other end of the category is not driven by drinks but by other products, and they tend to be very strong. Those products left a space in the middle.
“There aren’t a lot of brands that play with full flavor and regular doses and provide consumers with formats that make the product so versatile,” he continued. “When we looked at the competitive group at that, we saw very little room.”
Mary Jones will draw on Jones’ simple but creative book of Marketing, which is heavy on influencer marketing, and innovative synergies and concoctions that grab attention, like the turkey-flavored soft drink and broth that’s become a holiday tradition. The brand has also sought celebrity endorsements. Boxer Mike Tyson’s photo and endorsement accompany a new liquid supplement called Nootropics, a soda derived from mushrooms, now available for pre-order on Jones’ website. And earlier this year, Brand UFC Champion Juliana Peña signed an endorsement deal.
For Mary Jones, Jones will drive paid media via Fyllo, Cannabis-focused audience data company. Blair refused to disclose specific conditions.
“Our plan is almost 100% influencers, most of whom work for us because they love the brand and not through a traditional paid relationship,” Blair said. “We also do a lot of things with paid promotion with high profile partners, but they come to the brand in organic and natural ways. At any given moment, our marketing plan is, at best, a little money to give impetus to our social posts. Most of our news comes from The news we make ourselves.”
Jones isn’t the only big brand eyeing the cannabis opportunity.
For example, Hi-Fi Hops, which is cannabis-infused carbonated water, It was released in 2018 by craft beer brand Lagunitas, a division of Heineken.
A lot of beverage brands have also made use of CBD, a compound found in hemp that doesn’t produce a high percentage.
Alcoholic beverage giant Constellation Brands – the parent company of Corona beer – has partnered with Canopy Growth Corp. Kona Gold Beverage said earlier this month that Ooh La Lemin, a sparkling lemonade, will launch a sparkling water brand infused with CBD called Quatreau in the US (it sells cannabis versions in Canada.) Infused with CBD, it will be available in 4-packs at select Walmart stores this summer.
PepsiCo’s new RockStar Unplugged is infused with hemp oil, which, while related to the marijuana plant, contains little or no THC, the chemical that keeps people energized. Coco-Cola executives denied rumors in 2019 that the company was looking to launch its own CBD product, according to reports.
Blair of Mary Jones said he thinks it will be difficult for larger beverage competitors to enter the cannabis field. “We are one of the largest national CPG brands that could fall into this category due to the limitations that big players place on their brand positioning, and [lack of] Fit.”