Interview: A CBD Beverage Rebrands Behind Current Trends

Rhythm Rebrand HeroShot

As the CBD beverage industry continues to grow and evolve, one line’s recent rebranding points to emerging consumer trends in this category. Rhythm launched several years ago with a line of CBD sparkling seltzers. This week, the company announced changes to the branding, and the amount of CBD extract present in the drinks.

Rather than 15 milligrams of nano-emulsified, broad-spectrum hemp extract per 12-oz. can, these beverages now contain 25 milligrams. And the new names of Rhythm’s flavors — Energy, Sport and Hydrate — now more clearly reflect the specific functions of each beverage. (The company also lowered its SRP by 17%, from $5.99 per can to $4.99.)

For a deeper dive into how these moves mirror consumer trends and the category’s demographics, we recently spoke with Ian Monat, Rhythm CEO and founder.

Cannabis Regulator: What’s behind the CBD dosage increase?

Ian Monat: The average serving size to have per beverage, industry-wide, has moved from 10-to-15 mg to 25 mg in the past year, year and a half. Consumers are demanding it, and the accounts want to have the value there.

By which I mean, if a consumer sees two CBD beverages on the shelf for the same price, and one is 15 mg and the other is 25, they’re going to buy the 25 mg. It’s all about presenting the better value for the consumers.

And then you have some states like New York that have caps on the CBD amounts permitted, so you don’t see a lot of these products going over 30 mg.

CR: What difference does the higher dosage mean for consumers?

Ian Monat, Rhythm CEO and founder.

IM: Everyone’s system is a little different, but hopefully the consumer feels the effects of the product better in their mind and body.

CR: Why is functionality so important in branding CBD beverages?

IM: It’s the means of differentiation between this and any other sparkling water or soda. The cannabis ingredients are why consumers pay a little bit more for these products.

Most people take CBD for anxiety, pain, sleep, focus or their mood. We’re trying to address those with our different products. Our best-selling Rhythm was called Rhythm Awake, which we have rebranded to Rhythm Energy. We didn’t want to pigeonhole the product to just the morning. We also doubled the amount of organic caffeine from green tea in Rhythm Energy. Consumers said that they wanted more of a caffeine punch, and we gave it to them. It now has 100 mg of caffeine, the equivalent of one large cup of coffee.

CR: What’s the demo for CBD beverages?

IM: We think of it as a psychic-graphic rather than a demographic. The Rhythm consumer is into wellness, is into vegan, is into gluten-free and sugar-free diets. They’re into finding ways to get better sleep, to improve their morning the next day. They’re into using super foods like ginger, turmeric and cannabis. This is someone who incorporates food and beverages into their overall wellness routine.

This interview was edited and condensed for publication.

Kyle Swartz is editor of Cannabis Regulator. Reach him at or on Twitter @kswartzz. Read his recent piece, What’s Next for Cannabis Beverages?