Here’s a little fun fact for you. Not only is today 4.20 (a day in which we celebrate the Cannabis plant) but it’s ALSO National Cold Brew Coffee Day. Trust me, this is no coincidence.
On Thursday afternoon, our team here at Station announced something we are extremely excited about - A partnership with the good people at Vancouver based Pasha Brands - Canada’s Largest Craft Cannabis Organization. The path to this milestone moment for our team has had its highs and lows as we’ve navigated the ever-changing landscape of Cannabis. There were endless slack conversations, several partnership opportunities, a full acquisition offer, team meetings, product development debates, and to top it off, I had to have a courageous conversation with my dad (who is an investor in Station) about our interest and intention with introducing cannabis to our line of products. At the end of the day, it all came down to product and partnerships that keep our integrity and values intact. That’s exactly what we are able to find in this new venture for our team and our customers. So how did we get here?
When we started Station Cold Brew in 2014, we knew that the future of beverage was moving away from artificial, sugar-heavy products with aggressive and tone-deaf marketing campaigns. We saw the future to be health-focused beverages that did not compromise on taste or quality. Over the past 5 years, we’ve seen this vision come to reality as the beverage landscape continues to evolve with added functional ingredients like probiotics, protein & collagen are more and more accessible. As our VP of Sales & Marketing Mitchell Stern says:
"We firmly believe that non-psychoactive cannabis compound cannabidiol ("CBD") will become a prominent wellness ingredient within the functional beverage space and that coffee is the perfect vehicle to introduce it to consumers," said Mitchell Stern, Co-Founder & VP Sales & Marketing for Station. "There is a common misconception that CBD will make you sleepy, which isn't true. The reality is that CBD delivers a calm, clear and focused feeling which can lead to increased productivity. We believe that when paired with the stimulating effects of caffeine, it creates a unique and beautiful balance that is perfect to start your day with."
We truly feel that CBD is no different. A functional ingredient with a laundry list of health benefits. This means an even bigger opportunity to have an impact on the beverage market but more importantly on people. That’s why we’ve decided to become part of this wave.
Interested in learning a bit more about CBD? Click HERE
A CRAFT APPROACH TO CANNABIS:
In early 2018 we went into the cannabis space looking for the right partners to work with us. Admittedly we didn’t have any idea what we were looking for. We simply wanted a partner with shared values and a burning desire to create great products that our customers would feel good putting in their bodies. What had a tough realization after having meetings with almost a dozen LP’s (Licensed Producers) from across the country. We realized approaches to the industry varied wildly from coast to coast. One thing became clear, there were several models that were not aligned with our needs. Most LP’s were taking a ‘big pharma’ approach to the industry and not focused on the craft side of the product--it was simply about kilos being moved. Even worse, we could tell a few LP’s lacked knowledge about their own product or the industry which didn’t give us much confidence. We knew we needed a knowledgeable partner, with values based in the craft movement, and an eye for growth & innovation. After a dozen meetings I was beginning to question whether this type of company existed, but finally, through contacts in the beverage industry, we were introduced to Pasha Brands. We saw some positive early signals, craft values, big vision, but we didn’t really ‘get it’ until a trip to Vancouver in early 2019 to attend Lift & Co. It was there that the opportunity and potential of the cannabis industry in Canada became clear to me. I realized that this isn’t just about Cannabis, it’s a way for Canadian entrepreneurs to become global leaders in an industry with the potential to change and heal millions of people.
A DISPOSITION FOR DISRUPTION:
Innovation is in our DNA. When we started Station, not many people in Toronto knew what cold brew coffee was. Folks in the beer and coffee industries were confused, but intrigued, by what we were doing. There was no roadmap we could follow, and as a result, we had numerous ‘firsts’ simply because we were trying to do things differently. We were Canada’s first ‘Coffee Brewery’, The first office coffee keg program, The first to introduce Nitro coffee in cans, and the first to put Cold Brew in the Gas & Convenience space. For us, the move into a cannabis-infused beverage is a natural continuation of our creative, bold and experimental approach to the beverage industry. Admittedly, this new beverage category brings up more questions than answers. One thing that personally, I think about a lot is in regards to our culture’s well-established rituals around liquor consumption. A beer at the beach, a shot in the club, or a glass of wine at dinner. I often wonder… What do cannabis-infused beverage occasions look like? Will Cannabis replace alcohol in some of those rituals? Perhaps, but it also opens up a whole new world of elevated experiences. I start to think about meditation session, acro-yoga classes or morning dance parties! Really the sky is the limit and it excites the hell out of me.
As craft beverage entrepreneurs in Canada, we not only see this as an opportunity, but a responsibility to create a better world and move this industry forward. We are excited about this partnership and the expansive opportunity the world of cannabis-infused products bring. Stay tuned as we continue to bring updates from the front lines of craft beverage innovation.
HERE is a link to the Press Release we sent out on Thursday morning
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out through Instagram or email. We’d love to chat about this exciting news!
Founder & CEO