Education is an Important Part of our Marketing Plan- Says Casey
Casey Parzych, Co-founder of Wynk, talks about the Cannabis-Infused Beverage Market, Sales, Marketing, and E-commerce in the Cannabis Space.
Wynk is the brainchild of Casey Parzych, Shawn Sheehan, and Angus Rittenburg. They've worked as engineers and entrepreneurs and are now creating a name in the cannabis space with Wynk. They always wanted to make a delightful drink that genuinely helps people relax without making them feel awful the next day. So they combined that dream with plenty of solitary thinking time and created Wynk!
Wynk, the THC seltzer, offers a microdose of relaxation without the hangover in each 8.4oz can. You may drink up, relax, and expect a light high in around 20 minutes because each can contain 2.5mg of THC and CBD. Wynk is produced on-site in states where it is legal, with equipment that lives on the back of their Wynk Wagon, an 18-wheeler. Instead of manufacturing their beverage in a single location like others and shipping it to market, the founders chose a different approach and brought the factory to market. Interesting, Isn’t it?
Tell us a little about yourself and your background. How did you decide to move into the cannabis beverage space?
I worked in the spirits business at a company I founded for ten years. That business served bars and restaurants in Pennsylvania and grew to the largest direct to establishment shipper in Pennsylvania. When Covid hit, it gave me an opportunity to reflect, and I realized alongside my co-founders that there was an untapped opportunity to introduce the mainstream to cannabis and its benefits through beverages.
Being the Founder of Wynk, what does your day look like?
I get to interact with all parts of the business. I am an engineer at heart, so solving problems whether it be sales, marketing, or production, is where I spend my day!
What stood out to you about the cannabis industry? What distinguishes it from the industry in which you previously worked?
The spirits industry is notorious for being hard to penetrate and being somewhat stagnant. Many of the most popular and best brands have been around for one hundred plus years. Cannabis is exciting because it is rapidly developing and quite frankly saying, anything is possible. Legal cannabis is so new that less than 20% of Americans consume it on a regular basis, ~60 million people. Alcohol on the other hand is consumed by almost 200 million Americans.
What challenges did you experience when you first started in this field?
The most challenging part of this process has been the regulatory hurdles. We now have Wynk available for purchase in 9 markets. Each market requires some variation of product submission before approval from regulators. Another challenge has been getting folks that aren't privy to cannabis to change their behavior and try something so new.
We’re committed to helping grow the cannabis category and are excited by the challenges that come with the opportunity.
I am curious to know about The Wynk Wagon, Can you tell us a little about it. What was the idea behind it?
The idea of the Wynk Wagon was to bring the familiar form of beverage to the cannabis market on a national scale. With cannabis being federally illegal, you can’t produce it in a traditional beverage production facility and distribute it over state lines. The Wynk Wagon allows us to partner with license holders in each legal market to produce the Wynk brand, which was created to offer a friendly first-time experience for canna-curious consumers. For that reason, the Wynk Wagon is helping expand the cannabis industry and is bringing newer consumers into the space.
Do you think shipping cannabis products over state lines — and not having access to banks, also hinders the opportunity?
The inability to ship cannabis products over state lines makes for some serious operational hurdles, but I find them fun and exciting to navigate.
We’re not directly impacted by banking restrictions, but I do see it creating extra steps for others in the industry. I don’t see either of these nuances as hindering the opportunity.
These special circumstances just push those that are passionate about participating in this space to be creative and overcome them.
What is the best way to educate the new consumer? What is the marketing procedure? How do you plan on expanding?
The cannabis industry is still new, and cannabis-infused beverages are even newer. Education is an important part of our Marketing plan – both for budtenders and for consumers. Budtenders are the key purchase influencers within a dispensary, so they need to understand the WYNK brand and the benefits of low-dose cannabis beverages more generally. WYNK is a great entry point to cannabis for “Canna-Curious” consumers who want to take the edge off while staying in control and feeling 100% the next day. But we know these consumers need education and reassurance to give WYNK a try.
Ultimately our Marketing efforts aim to drive awareness and relevance for the WYNK brand and trial of our products. We attempt to do this through impactful brand marketing & creativity, a strong digital presence, and boots-on-the-ground Experiential and Retail Marketing. These elements work together as part of a holistic marketing plan to connect with consumers, which is replicable from market to market as WYNK expands.
Where do most of your sales come from? What age groups consume your beverages the most?
WYNK is available in 9 states currently, more than any other cannabis beverage: New Mexico, Michigan, Arkansas, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Ohio. We will be bringing new states online in the coming weeks and months.
Nearly all of our sales currently come from consumers buying at physical retail locations. We will be building out our Direct-to-Consumer / e-commerce capabilities for consumers wishing to shop directly through our website.
All WYNK beverages contain zero sugar, calories, or alcohol, which is especially appealing to a health-conscious consumer. Most purchases come from people ages 21-44 who are looking for a new way to unwind.
What e-commerce platforms do you use for marketing your beverages?
Consumers can currently shop online through the WYNK website via the IHeartJane menu integration on our site. They can have WYNK delivered to their door in markets where delivery is available, or pick it up at a local dispensary. We drive people to our website via SEO, advertising, influencers, PR, events, and other tactics.
WYNK has not yet entered California, where a more robust DTC & e-commerce infrastructure exists. Stay tuned!
Which SKU sells the most? What kind of data do you work on when deciding which SKU to launch? If you could tell us?
Our 3 flavors - Juicy Mango, Lime Twist, and Black Cherry Fizz – all drive roughly the same volume of Sales. They are all delicious!
We do rigorous product testing and focus groups before launching any new product or flavor. We need to ensure the product tastes great and delivers on the promised benefits before bringing any new product to market. We also often test a product in a certain market to gauge consumer response before rolling it out more broadly.
All WYNK products have a balanced 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD and deliver a light, relaxing buzz. We currently have a 2.5mg THC & CBD beverage that comes in an 8.4 ounce can, as well as a higher-dose formulation of 5mg each of THC and CBD that comes in a 12 ounce can.
What is the demographic of your target market? How do you explore new markets for your beverages and focus on business development?
Our primary consumer target is the “Canna-Curious” consumer – people 21-44 years old who are in search of new ways to relax, which is also better for them. They are newer to cannabis and looking for something to drink while they mellow out. WYNK can also appeal to more experienced cannabis users, to complement the products they already enjoy. Because WYNK is a microdose beverage with 2.5 mg of THC and 2.5mg of CBD, consumers can stay in control of their experience by starting slow with one can and letting the buzz set in before deciding to reach for another.
WYNK is very appealing to newer cannabis consumers, especially those who are health-conscious. There is a huge potential market to serve in that space, but we are also considering new opportunities to serve the needs of consumers wanting a higher dose option.
Do you have any forthcoming releases at Wynk?
Yes, we plan to release new products later this year. More details to come!
Which is your favorite Wynk THC-infused Seltzer, and what is the perfect setting you enjoy it in?
Wynk’s Lime Twist Seltzer accompanied by a sit-down family-style dinner cooked at home.
Interviewed By Aakriti Rawat, Beverage Trade Network
Header Image Source: Casey Parzych, Co-Founder of Wynk