From worrying about money to fretting over the state of our nation, a 2017 report from the American Psychological Association found that a huge majority of people living in the United States are stressed out.
Founder and CEO Ben Witte aims to help mitigate this pervasive anxiety via his recently launched beverage, Recess. Made with a blend of 10 mg CBD hemp extract, and adaptogens such as ginseng, schisandra and L-theanine from green tea, this sparkling water beverage is a low-calorie, low sugar drink designed to help professionals reset and rebalance during the day for greater productivity.
Available in three delicious flavors, including Peach Ginger, Pomegranate Citrus and Blackberry Chai, these fruit juice-flavored bubbly drinks are launching today online and in New York City.
Learn more about this functional beverage, and how Witte is building a lifestyle brand around the concept of Recess, here.
What was the catalyst for launching Recess?
Ben Witte: About a year ago I started experimenting with CBD and adaptogenic herbs in my daily regimen because I’ve always been a wired person—I was hoping these ingredients would make me feel more even-keeled. I found that I was better able to adapt to stressors in my life, and through that experience I went down a rabbit hole of where the hemp market was going.
Placing CBD under your tongue—as many supplements recommend—was a terrible experience. The future of CBD is in new formats and applications. I view CBD as the next big functional ingredient next to collagen and caffeine.
So how did sparkling water become your CBD format of choice?
BW: I felt there was an opportunity to develop a consumer lifestyle brand to help people feel more balanced. We started with a line of sparkling water to establish Recess—I very much view Recess as something you drink during the day at work for improved productivity. We’re designing Recess to be a daily habit.
Recess’ marketing materials refer to the product as "an antidote to modern times." Can you describe this idea a little more?
BW: We think Recess is one of the many tools people should integrate into their lives to achieve a state of balance. We don’t like the term “relax.” No one aspires to relax. They aspire to be balanced—to feel calm, cool and collected enough to take on the stresses of everyday life. I hope drinking Recess encourages customers to reset, re-balance and pause throughout the day. To enjoy your drink for a moment and continue working towards a workout or deadline.
I like the name “Recess”—it’s nostalgic and conjures a lot of memories about balance.
BW: Exactly. Fundamentally, we’re a consumer wellness company. We’re selling this mindset of balance and clarity with the hope of making people more productive—you can’t be productive when you’re stressed out and anxious.
What’s your game plan to communicate your brand story?
BW: Over the next few weeks, we’ll be releasing profiles of creative people—makers, artists, entrepreneurs—who are able to get into a productive state or flow. We’ll highlight their tips and tricks of how they get into that mindset to create that association between Recess. We’ll publish these profiles through social media and our website. We’ll provide education about the functional ingredients in Recess through a ton of content marketing with the mission of helping people feel balanced.
Other beverages often focus on athletes, and tout how their brand helps performance. For Recess, our target is young professionals, artists and creatives.
What kind of distribution models will Recess have?
BW: I think the future of CPG is omnichannel. Our launch strategy is focused online and in brick-and-mortar locations in New York City. We’ll also have a big focus on bringing Recess to creative offices, cafes and fast-casual restaurants. Natural grocery stores will of course play a big role in our distribution, too.