Having worked in the beer industry for much of my career, and now in the cannabis business, I find it deeply satisfying to see the two lifestyle industries come together. With the launch of renowned brewmaster Keith Villa’s CERIA™ Brewing Company, Keith is realizing his vision to utilize beer – the world’s most socially acceptable and democratic beverage – to move beyond the stigma of cannabis and unlock its magic for the mainstream.
Keith is a great example of the growing trend of seasoned leaders lured away from their jobs in consumer-packaged goods by the extraordinary promise of the cannabis industry. It’s similar to the Silicon Valley a decade or so ago, when leaders from P&G, Clorox and others transitioned to roles in technology companies, helping them to understand that everyday people don’t speak engineering.
Today, it is crucial to realize that the counter-culture roots of marijuana can be a potential roadblock to consumers who might otherwise be interested in learning more about, and even participating in, the exciting new world of cannabis. While staying relevant to your installed base is important, it can’t be at the expense of growing your audience. This shift in understanding, and focus, is critical for the industry to truly grow up and fulfill its promise. Today, more than ever, cannabis brands must be focused on meeting the needs of their potential consumers to drive sustainable growth.
My agency started working with Keith when he was the mastermind behind the beloved and ever-popular Blue Moon. When he retired from one of the big breweries in late 2017 and started CERIA™ with his wife Jodi, we were thrilled to be tapped to develop the brand strategy and identity for CERIA, Inc. As part of our work together, we helped develop the entire brand system, including strategy, identity, packaging, website and product naming for CERIA Brewing, their cannabis beer portfolio.