“Beverage companies are already placing bets on cannabis-infused beverages,” says Ryan Smith, CEO of LeafLink, and industry-leading B2B e-commerce platform, “They present an exciting new frontier.”
While places like Canada have started off slow in allowing regulated products into the market, places like California have an already thriving infused food and beverage market, with products like colas to infused drops to kombuchas to functional beverages flying off the shelves and into the hands of the health-conscious consumer.
A Notable Rise in Popularity
Infused-beverages sales in legal states are on the rise and are demonstrated by year over year results. Flowhub, a POS company, has indicated that beverage sales have increased 88% year over year from 2016 to 2017, with that trend seemingly continuing in 2018. When Flowhub compares data from the first half of 2018 against data from the second half of 2017, beverage sales have increased 18%.
According to LeafLink, these are the industry leading beverages:
- Pearl 20 Minis by Tarukino in California
- Sprig Lemon Tea 20mg CBD & Sprig Original 10mg THC by Sprig in California
- Orange Kush Soda 10mg by Keef Cola by K.I.N.D. Concentrates in Arizona
- 100mg Passionfruit by HIGHDRATE by Evergreen Herbal in Washington
- “Yippee Ki-Yay” – High Energy Blend Drops by ZOOTS by Bronnor in Colorado
- “Waking Giant” – 10 mg (Sativa) by Mirth Provisions in Washington
“Purchasing trends on our platform have shown an accelerating shift toward branded, consistent products that resemble recognizable consumer packaged goods,” says Smith of the growth in popularity in cannabis-infused beverages. “They are incredibly discreet, hide the taste of cannabis well, and provide a fast-acting dosage without the guesswork of a typical edible,” adds Smith.
A Health-Conscious Driven Demand
Move over kombucha! As a representative for mood33, a cannabis-infused “functional beverage” herbal tonic company says, “We know that the modern consumer is actively searching for ways to reduce their alcohol consumption and the adverse effects that come with overconsumption, drunk driving, and hangovers.”
“Once consumers realize that cannabis can be consumed like an alcoholic beverage via products like mood33, we will see even more demand for cannabis beverages – as we expect the cannabis beverage category to consist of 20-25% of the overall market share within the next 5-7 years due to these developments and elements of market/category maturation,” mood33 adds.
The news has been rife with beverage companies eyeing the cannabis market, with the likes of Coca-Cola and now Pepsi moving in on the promises for infused beverages. Earlier this year, Constellation Brands (STZ) made a huge investment into Canopy Growth Corp (CGC) that Moody’s referred to as a speculative bet.
These investments and partnerships “have brought tremendous awareness to the nascent cannabis beverage category, and we predict every sophisticated cannabis company will have a cannabis beverage program in the coming years,” says mood33.
mood33 is hyper-focused on providing a cannabis beverage consumption experience for everyday people: the stressed-out soccer mom, the overworked professional, the sore runner, and the health & wellness/fitness maven.
The Global Future for Cannabis-Infused Beverages
The deals being made between cannabis and food and beverages industry big-wigs are something to pay attention to. While cannabis-infused beverages are not permitted in Canada’s legal market yet, these deals indicate that cannabis-infused beverages can have a global demand outside of established legal markets.
“There is great opportunity for the Canadian industry to offer a wider variety of products to serve patients and consumers with different preferences, while capitalizing financially,” says LeafLink’s Ryan Smith, “The demand for non-smokable product categories like beverages will only increase as long as people pursue the wellness benefits of cannabis.”
As for mood33’s plans, they want to see cannabis-infused beverages hit the mainstream: “we are eager to help develop a national framework where manufacturers and marketers can develop mainstream inspired, regulated cannabis food and beverage products that could one day sit on a Whole Foods shelf.”