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The Clock Is Ticking on New Age Beverages Stock

By Rick Munarriz - Oct 16, 2018 at 3:41PM

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The functional-beverage specialist is on track to roll out CBD-infused products later this year, refreshing its existing products with CBD variants early in 2019.

New Age Beverages Corp. (NBEV -1.06%) is making the most of what it hopes will be more than just its 15 minutes of fame. Shares of the functional beverages distributor opened 5% higher on Tuesday after putting out a press release singling out its popularity at last week's North American Convenience Store show, but the intraday gains were gone a few minutes later. 

New Age Beverages was the second most visited and searched booth at the show among its 1,259 exhibitors, beating out the industry's beverage giants and leading consumer brands. The beverage upstart is generating a lot of buzz for its upcoming line of sparkling water, ready-to-drink tea, and shot products infused with cannabidiol, a cannabis component known better as CBD. New Age Beverages was able to generate attention on the trade show floor for its existing product line, even as the actual rollout of its CBD-propelled beverages took place off-site, at the hotel connected to the convention center.

Cans of Bob Marley's One Drop coffee drinks.

Image source: New Age Beverages.

Drink about it

New Age Beverages hopes to start getting its CBD-infused products on store shelves by the end of this quarter, aiming for even larger outlets in the springtime of next year. We still need the final U.S. Farm Bill to pass with pro-CBD tenets in place later this year for things to reach a frenzied pitch, but as I argued last week, New Age Beverages is already a winner

All of the attention that New Age Beverages is generating is drawing attention to its existing portfolio. Folks visiting the New Age Beverages booth last week for a sneak peek at the CBD line that was being introduced just outside of the trade floor got an eyeful of its niche brands that are already on the market. Exposure matters, and New Age Beverages is getting plenty of it from investors, consumers, and the retailers (last week) that it will need to expand its retail footprint. 

This is the shot that New Age Beverages needed, with or without its CBD-infused drinks. The distributor rang up just $52.2 million in revenue last year, and sales were inching slightly lower through the first half of 2018. If sales turn around during the latter half of the year, it will be hard to deny the positive impact that the company's headlines have had on the heightened interest.

The "swing for the fences" here will naturally require CBD beverages to clear the hurdles for the legal sale across most, if not all, of the country. There will be a glut of companies pushing CBD-spiked products in that scenario, but it will obviously be incremental for New Age Beverages.

The plan for now -- if the Farm Bill passes with cannabis farming tenets in place -- is to expand the reach of the three products New Age Beverages introduced last week in March or April of next year. An interesting wrinkle is that it also will put out CBD-fused variants of its existing product lines, giving New Age Beverages the benefit of a hot trend on a product that already commands some degree of shelf space. The attention won't last forever, though, so New Age Beverages needs to strike while its name still is hot.

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