Meet Malini Patel, CEO for Wherehouse Beverage Co, makers of Wynk & Countdown
I believe there is an opportunity in the recreational wellness space to create a line of truly functional products for a given lifestyle.
Your Place Of Work
Tell us a little about your background and journey into Cannabis
I have spent my career building consumer brands, mostly in the drinks space, operating successful businesses end to end, and navigating complexity & ambiguity to build ideas, experiences, and solutions that last. I guess it’s my desire to be a part of creating the new while also knowing the value of playing the long game that attracted me to the cannabis drinks space.
Explain your current role
I have the privilege of getting to build a company that focuses on creating beverage experiences for the future. As the CEO of Wherehouse Beverage Co. I get to play in the space of what is possible vs what is. I see it as my job to help guide our teams to WHERE things are going and to create new beverage experiences for emerging lifestyle choices.
What trends do you see in cannabis beverages?
Workarounds to the current systems that are stifling beverage category growth are driving an increased presence of brands working around current constructs i.e., DTC, emphasis on hemp-derived, and gravitation to higher dose offerings in dispensaries.
What tips do you have on growing the category when it comes to product development?
Quality matters, shortcuts show, and product stability will create the difference.
What are the 3 things that we can educate end consumers more on in growing end-consumer awareness?
Build awareness that this segment exists, Reinforce great taste, expected experience....anything that pushes them over the hump of trial.
Which states / markets do you think present good growth opportunities for cannabis beverages in 2023-2024
NJ, FL, and NY are obvious ones to watch/compete in however we also believe there is an incredible opportunity to grow in a flyover country that gets talked about a lot less but has proved to be a significant source of growth.
What do you think are the current challenges in the cannabis beverage category
1) Vault space limits the ability to grow the category and assortment.
2) Price points on low doses will have a hard time competing.
3) Product quality across the board is inconsistent and can impact the repeat of the products in the category of the initial experience is not optimal.
If you were to give advice to a first-time cannabis beverage consumer, what tips would you give?
Just Do it! LOL. If pressed I would tell them to start low and to have fun playing around with what works for them… everybody is different.
Your favourite cannabis beverage brands?
Wynk + Ice. Hands down
What do you look for when you purchase a cannabis beverage brand?
I look for indications for the way the product makes me feel is of the utmost importance along with taste. However, prior to trying the product, I would base decisions on the dose for the occasion. I am a 5 mg kind of girl so if I am at a party, on a boat, or at a BBQ, I will choose the 2.5mg that I can reasonably drink. If it’s for an evening or dinner, I will drink 5mg and enjoy.
Any out-of-the-box ideas you have for bud-tenders in promoting and educating the cannabis beverage category?
Ask your regulars to introduce Wynk to their friends who don’t usually consume cannabis and ask them to report back what they hear…it will be an education for them to hear their own friends and family talk about their experience. Better yet, if they bring a friend along to buy next time you can give them some extra weed for their troubles.
If you were to make a new cannabis beverage today? What sort of product would you make and why
I would probably look to lifestyle functional beverages. The current beverage segment has a lot of offerings for a social occasions. I believe there is an opportunity in the recreational wellness space to create a line of truly functional products for a given lifestyle.
If you were to market and distribute that cannabis beverage, what would be your top 3 areas you would focus on?
Authenticity, purposeful functionality i.e. it must work, Customer experience (in retail, delivery, product experience)