What happened

Shares of New Age Beverages (NASDAQ:NBEV) jumped for the second day in a row today as investors moved back into the maker of cannabidiol-based beverages.

Though there was no specific reason for the stock's gains, a combination of items including an acquisition last week, bullish industry sentiment following Altria Group's deal with Cronos Group, and a short squeeze seemed to drive its jump today. The stock closed up 7.9%, after gaining as much as 16.7% earlier in the session, and adding 7.5% yesterday.

So what

Investors cheered last week when New Age said it would acquire Morinda, a "healthy beverage" company with trailing revenue of $240 million and strength in the Asia-Pacific region, where it generated more than 70% of its revenue last year. New Age will pay $85 million for Morinda, giving the company and its new portfolio of cannabidiol (CBD) beverages exposure to China and the rest of the Asian market. New Age shares gained 9% on Dec. 3, the day the news came out.

A clear beverage with a grapefruit slice and a marijuana leaf in it

Image source: Getty Images.

Then last Friday, Altria, the parent company of Marlboro, said it would acquire a 45% stake in Canadian marijuana grower Cronos Group for $1.8 billion, placing a big bet on the fast-growing cannabis market. That news seemed to stoke hopes that New Age would find its own "dance partner" in the form of an investment from a large beverage maker, as New Age looks to expand the reach of its CBD drinks.

Finally, a short squeeze may have been pushing New Age shares higher for the second day in a row -- 27% of the stock is sold short, so a gain in the stock tends to promote more buying as short-sellers rush in to cover their bets.

Now what

Like other marijuana stocks, New Age has attracted its share of bears, and the stock has been highly volatile since the company made a move into CBD in September. Shares have now nearly doubled since bottoming out at $3 each in mid-November, but much of the bullish sentiment seems to be based on the company's CBD beverages finding a wide audience. The Morinda acquisition gives New Age more stability and a stronger core beverage business, but ultimately the stock will fly or die with its CBD bet. At this point, that remains a big risk.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.