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Shea Coakley has been an entrepreneur for nearly 14 years and his focus has been on spaces and products that don’t necessarily solve gigantic world problems but do help to make people’s daily lives a bit happier. That’s included healthy foods and cold brew coffee, but now he’s honed in on cannabis beverages.
As co-founder and CEO of HighTide, Coakley and his partners have had to navigate the very early stages of the cannabis beverage market. HighTide is carving out its niche in the space by making thoughtful cannabis beverages that prioritize the social experience and help with the de-stigmatization of cannabis. On his company’s current path, Coakley said he believes cannabis beverages could be as ubiquitous as alcohol in the next 10 to 20 years.
Together with his co-founder, Josh Grab, who has more than 20 years of beverage experience with brands including Sam Adams, Zing Zang, Crook & Marker and Fiji, Coakley is determined to build HighTide into a long-term business opportunity and find cannabis industry partners who can help support that vision.
“For us, whenever we have a conversation, whether it’s a co-packer, a dispensary or even other beverages that are theoretically directly competitive to us, our first thought is can we collaborate with them? Is there something that we can do together where we all grow?” he said.
In this episode, Coakley discusses:
- Finding partners that can help your startup scale
- Tapping into a market with alcohol fatigue
- Turning cannabis consumption into a craft experience
- Making cannabis beverages a good entry point for the “canna-curious”
- Nano emulsification’s role in giving cannabis beverages a desired effect
- Balancing supply versus demand in an evolving market
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