Since the 2018 legalization of hemp-derived CBD at the federal level, CBD products have exploded across the market. But if you go further back to a little state that legalized recreational cannabis in 2014, you’ll find a company that’s been perfecting their CBD products for the past six years.
Ablis CBD has all of the essentials: muscle rub for aches and pains, MCT oil for coffee or smoothies, oil concentrate for a bigger punch, and isolate crystals for the no-frills option. They also have a product you may not have experienced before: CBD beverages.
Made with sparkling water, natural flavors, and infused with hemp CBD, Ablis’ (pronounced “A Bliss”) CBD beverages are a tasty complement to a healthy, adventurous life. We spoke with Ablis’ Director of Marketing Parker Moessner to learn about how Ablis came about, how their CBD beverages have evolved, and how PakTech handles help their products succeed.
Ablis-ful Origin, beverage canning and packaging the new business with CBD products
The idea for Ablis Beverage canning and packaging started at a different beverage company. Parker explained: “So we’re part of the Bendistillery, which exists in Bend, Oregon. And Jim Bendis is founder of Bendistillery, in Bend, Oregon, if you can believe it. And his son, Max Bendis, back in 2014, those two… They started this new business venture with CBD products, which is Ablis.”
It was this origin in beverages that made the leap to CBD beverages so natural. It also gave Ablis a head start. “We, especially on CBD, had a big jump compared to the rest of the country, where it wasn’t legalized until 2018.” Parker went on to talk about Ablis’ early products. “So our original products, two of them had THC. It was an indica, a sativa, and then another which had no THC in it, it was just CBD. Fast forward to CBD as a substance getting legalized across the country and we decided to take the THC out of our drinks and go down the complete CBD route.”
It’s a decision that made a lot of sense for the culture at Ablis. Bend is famous for its outdoor activities, such as hiking, mountain biking, white water rafting, kayaking, and in the winter, skiing and snowboarding. Parker described how CBD fits into this lifestyle. “We’re active people, and the way we use CBD is to supplement along with our activities.” It’s this mixture of health and adventure that Ablis seeks to embody with its products.
Canning Adventure: beverage canning and packaging
It’s also why Ablis decided to can its beverages, and to package them with PakTech handles. Not only are both cans and PakTech handles environmentally friendly—which is important to everyone at Ablis—they’re also rugged and sturdy. Parker told us the story of a recent trip, and how PakTech handles stood up to everything he and his crew threw at them:
“We have an adventure-based model, and we’re always out doing stuff. In fact, this week is my first week back at work. I was gone for a whole month, and I was out at the Grand Canyon, where everything gets wet. We were out there for 24 days and things are constantly getting pounded by water, and all of the other chipboard boxes that the beer and seltzers and stuff were packaged in were falling apart, but everybody was saving the Ablis PakTechs so they could make a little 4-pack.”
With the beverage canning and packaging, Parker went on to talk about an unexpected benefit. “And then also, people were taking the 4-packs and cutting out one little PakTech circle so that when we hit the rapids, they could slap it on their seltzer, and keep it going. That was a cool way that it’s being used that I had not thought of. With our adventure model, if you want to take them out on a boat, pack them in your bag to go wherever, skiing or anything. We’re always handling the products a lot. They’re always moving around getting bumped and bruised, and where boxes fall apart, the PakTechs stay tight.”
It’s this ease of handling that really shines for Ablis, which extends beyond rafting and ski trips. PakTech handles are also a big help on the logistics side, said Parker.
“For the longest time, we had 12-packs, but now what we do is we take our 12-pack tray and have three 4-packs with the PakTechs in it, and that makes it awesome because we don’t have to have an individually packaged 12-pack and an individually packaged 4-pack in those chipboard boxes. The PakTechs allow us to use one product. We have one 12-pack product that can be broken down into 4-packs and, of course, singles.”
This helps keep their operations streamlined by reducing complexity, and it also helps on the wholesale side. “They each have individual SKUs on them, but you just order the 12-packs, then say a grocery store can break those up amongst their shelves with just that one product. It’s something that the beer industry has done for a while when they have the trays with PakTechs on top, but we haven’t seen anybody else that’s really doing it for non-alcoholic products.”
Packaging the Future
Add on the sustainability benefits—Parker loves that PakTech handles are 100% recycled and 100% recyclable, and was excited to learn about PakTech’s recycling program, which Ablis is looking to get more involved in now—and the relationship is a win-win for both Ablis CBD and PakTech.
When asked where he saw the CBD market moving in the future, Parker had this to say: “I think it’s going to continue down the health and wellness path. Like in the sports medicine world, I think people will start using it more for its extra hydration benefits. Right now you see people are infusing cannabis with gummies and stuff like that, but you’re going to see it go healthier, infusing cannabis with other healthy things.”