“CannaCurious,” “Cali-Sober,” “Sober Curious”… if “Dry January” 2023 has taught us anything it’s that alcohol alternatives are fast approaching the same level of cult following status as “Natty Wines.” Without a doubt, we can thank thirsty Millennials for putting this trend on the map. Great taste, high quality, and that hard to describe “X Factor” of fun married with convenience are what this rising tide of “Dry Curious” Millennials want, and it’s paving the way to a new time of mainstreaming. A new beverage is jumping into the deep end of the pool and making quite the splash by leading with a perfect combination of flavor and innovation to deliver cannabis’s first strain-specific, whole plant, single barrel mix of beverages.
Maison Bloom is a case study in meeting these desires and giving consumers what they never knew they always wanted. Delicious flavors? Yes. Craft cannabis? Oh yeah. A rapid onset “ensemble effect?” Definitely. A decadent, feast-for-the-eyes, eerily addictive approach to branding and marketing that feels like it was plucked from the world of high fashion? Well, let’s just say we’re not shocked that Maison Bloom got these thirsty consumers swiping right in droves.
What Is Maison Bloom? The “Elevated Seltzer” Infused With Craft Cannabis
Maison Bloom’s opening salvo is what they call an “Elevated Seltzer” infused with Sun and Earth grown and OCAL certified craft cannabis. OCAL, California’s certification program that ensures consistency with the National Organic Program, marks the cannabis as carefully curated by Sonoma Hills Farm’s own resident “agricultural nerd” and head of Cannabis Cultivation Aaron Keefer, formerly of Thomas Keller’s Michelin-famed The French Laundry. Focused on sessionability and with an approach more akin to how a mixologist builds craft cocktails, the Maison Bloom drinks deliver a highly enjoyable total mind and body euphoria that – thanks to their signature whole plant approach – has the added benefit of reducing pain and stress, lowering anxiety, and delivering a perfectly balanced level of “bliss” with every bottle.
The drink treats cannabis as an essential ingredient, more like how a Chef might treat herbs to add robust flavors to a dish, and in doing so these beverages manage to tap into a different way of appreciating the power of the flower, raising the bar for drinking cannabis to that of the wine world. Just as you can taste the difference between a Pinot grape or that of a Chardonnay, Maison Bloom is charting that course for the world of cannabis strains in beverages and it’s looking like it will be the next big thing in the category.
Headquartered in California with ingredients drawn from the Emerald Triangle (the nation’s largest cannabis-producing region) and major agricultural hotbeds of the Central Valley, Maison Bloom is formulated in-house by a team that jockeys between San Francisco and Los Angeles. They seem to take inspiration from both cities to deliver their own signature take on “California Cool.”
The world of cannabis-infused beverages is still figuring itself out. While so many players are racing toward high-dose offerings, Maison Bloom, with its maximalist retro-inspired immersive branding and flavor mix that immediately makes one think of Lip Smacker teaming up with MAC Cosmetics to make adult flavored glosses, has placed itself as a playful contrast. The brand argues that quality ingredients, with all the benefits of combined plant magic, deliver a better, higher state that has found its niche with the shifting tastes of middle and upwardly mobile Millennials.
How Is Maison Bloom Winning Over Cannabis Consumers And Alcohol Aficionados?
Industry analysts and data powerhouses like Headset continue to highlight that women are the big buyers of cannabis beverages. In every single age category, women outspent men when buying low and moderately dosed cannabis-infused beverages. Maison Bloom makes no secret that they borrow heavily from the AlcBev industry to deliver products that their target consumers can turn to as a reliable one-to-one replacement for a cocktail, a glass of robust wine, or a hearty craft beer.
“I’m a big believer that the world of cannabis cocktails made with infusions are the real crowd pleasers that will win over even the most discerning mainstream consumer,” says Ben Larson, CEO of leading nanoemulsion provider Vertosa who powers Maison Bloom’s beverages. “It’s been exciting to partner with Maison Bloom and to rise to the challenge of carefully crafting a simple, plant-derived, organic emulsion system. [This ensures] the beauty of the plant was on full display with no artificial ingredients, with the intent on delivering on their promise of a more mature cannabis-infused family of beverages that celebrate the rich flavors and aromas that are more common when discussing flower. [It’s also exciting] to see how an army of die-hard ‘Bloomers’ continue to grow.”
These carefully curated collaborations are already paying dividends and breaking down barriers outside the typical cannabis circles as Global Health & Pharma recently named Maison Bloom “Best Infused Plant-Based Beverage Company.” It’s the first time that a cannabis beverage has taken home the top prize, beating out other mainstream AlcBev and functional beverages more commonly found on the shelves of your local Whole Foods.
It's Not What They Say, But How They Say It
Jump over to the Maison Bloom website and you are quickly immersed in a world of luxury that feels like a bold contrast to so much of the world of cannabis. They like to say that they are “bloom to bottle,” and with a nod to radical transparency and dedication to demystifying what goes into their drinks with clear origin stories, they manage to channel humor, nonchalant class and sass, and an almost perfect level of self-aware confidence that Millennials like to define as “BDE.”
With a mantra that reads “Drink Different” in all that they do, these beverages are high on feeling, effect, and a dedication to self-care that feels remarkably en vogue as Millennials mature, refining their subjective tastes to become the “elder statesmen” of demographics as Generation Zoom is growing into their own consumer power. Maison Bloom’s signature product line is going to offer that time-honored tradition of “Happy Hour” that hits the spot with buds, not suds. From what we can tell, it’s working. Perhaps it’s the promise of lobster dripping in diamonds or maybe it’s just the beautifully balanced cannabis high with flavors that – in their words –you “truly crave,” but we can see why this break-out beverage is making people rethink their bar cart mix.
Style, Taste, and Attitude… Apparently Everything Really Is Better with Bubbles
With an eye on the zero-proof white space, Maison Bloom argues that the world of ready-to-drink alcohol-free, all-natural, lightly sweetened with agave, and low calorie beverages that are cannabis-infused and truly taste great are all valuable pieces to the puzzle. They’re coming in hot by blurring formerly distinct boundaries to deliver something new. The brand’s “Elevated Seltzers” draw in a subtle mineral bite – something more traditionally associated with sparkling mineral water – that manages to play nicely against the bold fruit notes that mix with the unique cannabis strain pairs to deliver a surprisingly refreshing rich world of botanicals. It could be argued that seltzers, elevated or not, are all just riding the coattails of a movement started by White Claw.
From what we can tell, Maison Bloom wouldn’t disagree. “The greater consumption trends are key to understanding Millennial thinking and desire as part of a holistic approach to how we live our lives,” says Maison Bloom CEO Nathan Johnson. “Hard seltzers are an amazing weathervane of consumption trends that have made their way into our lives by satisfying the consumer want for low-sugar and low-calorie alcoholic beverages that can be justified as a ‘healthy enough’ option. At Maison Bloom we challenge the consumer with an offering where one gets all of the buzz, none of the booze, and manages to actually be good for you while all the while being great tasting to boot.”
Whether it is this ease of direct-to-home access or the fact that sparkling water-based offerings may be a simpler, more appealing way into the oft intimidating world of weed for the uninitiated, these drinks are in high demand. Clocking in at $38 for a four-pack, the company is just catching their breath from a backlog of orders from their successful Presale campaign and jumping into February finally releasing product statewide.
Where To Get Maison Bloom? Convenience-Forward Partnerships With Sava, Solful and Green Qween
Maison Bloom is taking a divergent approach to the world of cannabis. With limited IRL availability targeted at key metros in California, they are leaning heavily on convenience-forward partnerships that make it easy for consumers to get their products in their hands with little more than a click.
"Sava brings only the best cannabis to our customers, which is why we are thrilled to offer Maison Bloom,” says Sava founder and CEO Andrea Brooks. The leading e-commerce platform for high-quality cannabis goods, Sava proudly provides Maison Bloom and other innovative brands to plant-focused consumers. “Our like-minded teams both prize craftsmanship and quality above all. Our customers already love the flower from Sonoma Hills Farm, and we're truly excited to enjoy that same craft cannabis in Maison Bloom's artful, strain-specific beverages."
E-commerce optimization and partnerships with key players like Sava seem to be one-half of Maison Bloom’s winning equation. The brand carefully selects omnichannel boutique partners who are also on a mission to mainstream with what appears to be a real epicurean approach to championing the unique quality that can only be found in sun grown craft cannabis.
Recently Maison Bloom partnered with northern California’s Solful dispensary – affectionately dubbed the “Bi-Rite of Weed” (and maybe the Zabar’s or the Fairway for East Coasters). They specifically chose Solful because the retailer’s commitment to creating community through craft cannabis married with their fully optimized in-store, online, and on-demand curbside options across three locations, including their newly opened San Francisco location adjacent to Golden Gate Park as well as 7 Stars Holistic Healing Center, the birthplace of the modern compassionate customer service model in cannabis. Perhaps the truest of true “California Cool” brands and never one to rest on their laurels in a single geolocation, Maison Bloom sees the entirety of California as it’s sandbox with a clear love for “The Great Gatsby” of American cities that is Los Angeles. The brand recently debuted in Southern California with LA’s preeminent queer-owned and operated Green Qween – a Los Angeles destination for cannabis culture and the cannacurious alike that focuses on quality products built around inclusivity.
They Came to Slay…
From our vantage point, Maison Bloom sees itself as more than just a beverage. It’s a whole way of life. Over-the-top visuals and rich storytelling are the hallmarks of their website, while their social channels – chief amongst them being Instagram – manages to balance itself perfectly between the overt sex positivity, sensuality, and classic takes on the glamour of a young Tom Ford with the playfulness of Alessandro Michele to deliver a drink that we won’t hesitate to call the Gucci of cannabis.
Heavy on nostalgia, Maison Bloom seems to hail from an era of 70s Glam when Halston was in his heyday, Studio54 was the scene, and cocaine was chic. It’s a vibe. It’s a mood. And, from everything we can tell, they’re banking on it being a movement.
“All I can say is the library is open, and we read the room,” says Executive Director of Brand and Marketing Tony Sananikone. “The last couple of years have been filled with the strange and the uncertain. Masks. Social distancing. Working from home. Lockdown burnt people out in so many ways and has left them thirsty for familiar options that bring back better memories from decades past. What we do and how we do it is rooted in the fact that we listened and figured out how to quench that thirst.”
Cannabis But Make It Fashion
Maison Bloom has three mainstay flavors they call out as timeless and tasty – “Strawberry Provençal + Lemongrass,” “Watermelon + Pink Peppercorn,” and “Pêche + Wild Honeysuckle” – plus a rotating seasonal flavor that changes out following the Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter fashion calendars. This schedule feels more like the rollout of the new Apple iPhones than the sometimes clunky and unrefined product drops we have become accustomed to in the world of legal cannabis. With color combinations that seem ripped from the runways of last month’s Paris Fashion Week, it’s surprising Pantone hasn’t included Maison Bloom in their regular recap of color trends. Every aspect of design seems to be carefully considered with colorways and artistic nods to a distinctly flower powered Los Angeles of days gone by – a period when time moved a bit slower but was no less sexy – and working to transport an ever-increasing number of their target Millennial consumers to a bold new state of chill.
Make no mistake. Despite all this talk about aesthetics, Maison Bloom is not all flash and no substance. The care they take in crafting their recipe is refreshing for such a young brand. Their commitment to quality ingredients, especially on the side of the cannabis flower itself, is more indicative of the deep passion and respect for the plant that is typical of our legacy market players. They carefully select each specific strain of cannabis to be blended through careful attention to plant genealogy, the impact of the terroir itself, and the power of each of the five senses in delivering a truly delicious experience.
“At Sonoma Hills Farms, we believe that the highest expression of cannabis comes from growing it directly in living soil, under the sun and moon, which allows each plant to reach its full genetic potential," says VP of Cultivation Aaron Keefer. “Working with the team at Maison Bloom – people who seem to have no fear of pushing what’s possible – has inspired all of us at Sonoma Hills Farms to broaden our thinking in curating our strains to usher in a wholly different experience in drinkable cannabis.”
Whether it’s their use of fan-favorite strains like Pink Jesus or their “proprietary blends of cannabis terpenes” crafted specifically for each of their flavors, they are pushing the boundaries of what is possible in this category. In the end, something that manages to create a clear and effective experience that celebrates the cannabis plant is invaluable.
In our post-pandemic world of “quiet quitting” and seemingly endless culture wars – don’t get us started on how avocado toast became a symbol of “woke America” – it is actually really hard to find a product that looks good, tastes good, and one can feel good buying it. Maison Bloom is the benchmark in a world where, if better exists, you really do always want to choose better. In an increasingly crowded landscape of carbonated drinks, they’ve managed to set themselves apart with unapologetic combinations of fruits and herbs that makes one realize that cannabis beverages are now in the equivalent of the One Direction years. With Maison Bloom on the scene, our version of Harry Styles is finally here and we are definitely ready for our very own “Watermelon Sugar High.”
For more about Maison Bloom, visit lovemaisonbloom.com.
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Featured image: (C) Kelly Puleio Photography @kellypuleio / Maison Bloom