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House Of Saka, A New Cannabis-Infused Wine Player, Looks To Pioneer A Burgeoning Category

July 23, 2019

The cannabis beverage category is still in its infancy. With some of the most visible brands emulating craft beer and appealing primarily to young men, the new House of Saka cannabis-infused wine label—launching in California in mid-August—will seek to draw in female consumers, particularly those attracted to a more sophisticated product.

House of Saka was co-founded by Tracey Mason, a veteran of Diageo, Foster’s Wine Estates (now Treasury Wine Estates), and Purple Wine + Spirits, among other drinks companies. The brand is now in the process of forming a joint venture with CannaCraft, and Mason has joined CannaCraft as chief strategy and innovation officer.

House of Saka ($40 a 750-ml.) offers a rosé in both still and sparkling varieties from a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier grapes. Each bottle is sourced from a single vineyard in the Napa Valley appellation, dealcoholized, and infused with 20-mg. of a predominately THC blend of THC and CBD. Intended to offer a “balanced head and body high,” a single glass of House of Saka contains around 5 mg of cannabinoids and delivers its effects in five to 15 minutes, similar to a glass of wine.

“When you dealcoholize wine, you remove some of the weight and the essence and aromas,” Mason explains. “But if the base wine is delicious, you’re in a much better position once it’s dealcoholized. One advantage I have over competitors is that because of my deep connections in Napa Valley, I have access to fruit and wine that other people don’t.”

From a brand perspective, House of Saka is “targeted toward a luxury female consumer for both sparkling and still. The whole brand is about beauty,” Mason says. To that end, CannaCraft also plans for the brand to eventually encompass cannabis beauty products like brightening serums and night creams as well as bath bombs in addition to the centerpiece wines.

Mason believes the “sociability factor” of the beverage format will be the vehicle that brings cannabis into the mainstream as a category. Therefore, she says, “CannaCraft intends to take an exceptionally strong position in beverage.” Santa Rosa, California-based CannaCraft is already active in the cannabis drinks category with HiFi Hops, the THC-infused hoppy sparkling water made in conjunction with Lagunitas, and it has more beverage offerings in the pipeline.—Danny Sullivan

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