Day One Wants To You To Have Your CBD And Sip It, Too

Food & Drink

Cannabidiol—better known as CBD—is certainly having a moment these days. The supplement has taken on the aura of a panacea, purported to help with everything from insomnia to anxiety. And sales are surging as a result. In 2020, it accounted for $4.6 billion USD in revenue. That figure is expected to triple over the next five years. We’ve seen it work its way into gummies, salves, tinctures, and now, thanks to Day One, it’s popping off in its newest form: sparkling water.

Recognizable by its cobalt cans, the brand offers a line of zero-calorie, unsweetened beverages, flavored with real fruit juice. They are undeniably refreshing, and have the potential to connect with a broad audience of on-the-go Millennials and Gen Z drinkers who have flocked to the CBD space.

That’s what Chris Clifford is banking on, anyway. The Day One CEO recently relaunched the brand after a brief hiatus away from shelves. In an exclusive interview with Forbes he describes the—sometimes roundabout—journey from concept to execution.

Day One initially launched in 2019 and is only now coming back. Where did you go? And what’s different about the relaunch?

We took the brand offline to regroup, restructure, and improve our formula. The timing and strategy wasn’t quite right, and we weren’t afraid to be honest with ourselves and restart. So basically, we lived what the brand is about! This time around, our focus is clear. We know we want to be people’s entryway into CBD beverages, so we adjusted our price point to reflect that and make the product more accessible. We know we want this brand to spread a positive message we think people could use, so we refined our strategy. If we were afraid to reset and make sure we were giving our best, it wouldn’t be right to encourage other people to do the same.

How’d you get your start in the industry?

I was originally given the opportunity to build and launch Day One under the brand’s old parent company. That company had some internal issues which forced Day One out of the market right as the brand was taking off. After the dust settled, I ended up purchasing the Day One brand myself from it’s former owners. In the end, I was grateful to have a chance to reevaluate our approach. We have totally re-invigorated the brand—from formulation, to the team and new capital partners.

Where’d the idea for Day One come from? What does the name mean?

The name really came from our intentions with the product, which we see as being an innovatively simple and holistically refreshing drink. Sparkling CBD Water that gets you balanced and revitalized: the question was, when would this be most useful? For moments when you need a reset, like a “day one,” whether it’s day one at your new startup, day one of the work week, or day one of vacation. Getting in the right mindset at the beginning is vital, and we see Day One as both a refresher and reminder that your attitude at the start sets the tone. Day One is a fresh start. A lot of people see “starting” as the hardest part, so we want to make it easier for them.

What are the goals for Day One as a brand, where do you want to be in 5-10 years?

We see the CBD and overall cannabis space accelerating rapidly, and specifically CBD beverages becoming a “new classic” category. So we want to be that new classic. This drink is perfect for so many consumption occasions and really can support the overall wellness goals of consumers. We have line extensions on the way that extend past CBD as a functional ingredient but believe that our staple SKUs give us a strong foundation to continue innovating and working to develop the best beverage products that we can—all with the overarching goal of supporting the health, wellness and mindset of our consumers. The next year is about letting people know we’ve arrived and getting this product back out there. Five or ten years from now we want Day One to be out in front, helping to steward the cannabis-based wellness realm by making accessible, mass-market beverage products with real benefits.

Where will the product be available for sale?

The product is available now for U.S. consumers at In terms of stores, we have distribution and availability incoming in Southern California, Texas, Ohio, Kansas, Illinois and Tennessee.

How’d you land on the current flavors? Any others planned?

We tried what felt like hundreds of options, and found that citrus and sparkling water are a pretty unbeatable match. If the brand stands for refreshing your life, then the drink has to be equally refreshing. And that is exactly what you get with the sparkling citrus combination. On top of that, these flavors are our team’s favorites and our research found that lemon, lime and grapefruit are the most popular sparkling flavors over the last 52 weeks. We’re always looking for ways to innovate, and we’ll absolutely be adding other flavors that meet the high bar we feel we’ve set with these staple three.

In your opinion, what is the ideal way to enjoy CBD?

Personally, I think Day One is a great drink to start the day with. It helps me get balanced in the mornings before I get into emails and meetings. But it’s really for refreshing yourself, so it’s perfect after a workout or long day at work. It’s really made for all kinds of moments where you’re looking to recover, reset, and start on whatever’s next. As a bonus, it also makes for a wonderful cocktail mixer.

The CBD scene certainly is crowded these days. What are your biggest points of separation?

I think what differentiates Day One in the CBD space is product value and the brand offering. We’ve made a high quality product that delivers CBD quantities comparable to the rest of the market, but sell it at a much more accessible price. We priced Day One’s CBD offering so that it’s accessible to all types of consumers at $2.99. We want as many people to have access to CBD and the wellness properties it can provide, and see any beverage over $2.99 as out of reach for many consumers.

What is ‘broad spectrum’ CBD?

Broad spectrum CBD gives you the wellness properties of cannabis without the psychoactive high. Basically, “broad spectrum” CBD means we offer CBD that has been verified to not include any THCBroad spectrum CBD contains all phytochemicals that naturally occur in the Cannabis plant, including CBD and other cannabinoids and terpenes, except for THC. Research suggests that taking everything together CBD — along with smaller organic compounds in the cannabis plant, known as terpenes or terpenoids—is more effective than taking CBD alone. Broad spectrum CBD gives you the wellness properties of cannabis without the psychoactive THC high.

Everyone seems to react differently to CBD, what is the ideal amount of Day One to drink?

There is no legal definition or prescription for CBD, and everyone gauge for themselves what feels best for their routine. We went with 20mg of CBD per can because we see it as being the perfect amount to help you get clarity any time of day. Personally, I have one to two Day One’s on any given day and feel great.

There seems to be a lot of misinformation in the space. What are you doing to promote transparency?

Basically, we want you to know exactly what you’re getting with Day One, so we test each batch rigorously. We want to be transparent and work with our partners on potency and stability because there can be inconsistency in the CBD space due to lack of oversight. We want to be leaders in the CBD space, and that means putting in extra work to make sure we deliver on our promises. We plan to heavily support retailers and distributors by prioritizing education and setting the tone with our brand messaging. This is a young, exciting, and malleable space and we want to play a big role in it.

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