How the cannabis beverage was established — and expanded — by Keef Brands

Today, cannabis is breaking into many sectors of the food and beverage industry. But 10 years ago, it was considered a dangerous narcotic. Its appearance in anything to eat or drink looked more like a tray of homemade pot brownies and less like the slick products starting to appear on shelves.

In 2009, Erik Knutson, his brother Kelly Knutson and Andrew Veron had been working in construction. They lost most of their work and couldn’t take out any more construction loans as the Great Recession tore up the housing market. Being from Boulder, Colorado — well known for its liberal attitudes toward cannabis — they brainstormed ideas for a new business that brought the substance to the general population.

Keef Brands, which was one of the first companies to put it into a soda, was born.

Keef has expanded beyond soda into sparkling water, energy shots, healthy juice blends and oils. The company is

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