Theory Wellness to Open First-Ever Beverage Dispensary

Massachusetts-based and privately-owned Theory Wellness is opening the first-ever beverage dispensary in Medford, MA. Unlike other dispensaries, where beverages are an afterthought, this store will offer the largest assortment of cannabis drinks produced in Massachusetts, at the lowest price points available to adults 21+ years of age.

“The beverage dispensary is a concept that aligns with the future of cannabis use from your home to parties to consumption lounges,” said Theory Chief Marketing Officer Thomas Winstanley. “It’s a new model that the industry hasn’t seen that reflects the growing demographics around these types of products.”

Theory Wellness launched in 2015 and debuted its first cannabis-infused beverage Hi5 in February 2021. It was an immediate hit selling over a million units in the first six months. Consumers were drawn to the product’s fast on-set (five minutes), zero calories, and the bonus that it was gluten-free.

First Location

Building on that success, Theory Wellness will have a dispensary adjacent to the Hi5 Beverage Dispensary located in Medford Massachusetts, which is five miles north of Boston and on a heavily trafficked freeway. The first beverages are a select group from the main beverage manufacturers who will be featured heavily in the  marketing with exclusive pricing:

  • CANN
  • Levia
  • Good Feels

Plans for the beverage barn include delivery to the Boston area and consumption lounges. Theory believes that the lounges will become an accelerator for the beverage category.

Mass Market

While some in the industry have dismissed beverages as an important product, Massachusetts has sold more than $50 million since adult-use sales began. Granted that’s only 1% of total sales, but Theory Wellness said it has seen those numbers grow at its dispensaries from 2% to 3% year-over-year. In the state, beverage sales grew 53% YOY from 2021-2022.

Infused beverages are so popular in the state that there are now over 80 cannabis beverage brands with +900 product SKUs in dispensaries across the Commonwealth.

Popularity Grows

There are several reasons why beverages are growing in popularity. First is the improved technology. Early cannabis-infused beverages took as long as two hours to take effect and were difficult to predict the effect on consumers. Faster-acting responses allow for the cannabis drinks to mimic alcohol onsets. The taste has gotten way better. Again, early versions of cannabis drinks tasted like bong water. The cannabis taste was overwhelming and not in a good way. Most cannabis beverages now only have a hint of the cannabis flavor.

Cannabis beverages also satisfy the social aspect of drinking. Consumers can feel included in social drinking with a can in their hands without the problems that come with alcohol.

Theory Wellness has expanded its Hi5 line to include seltzers, sodas, and energy drinks. The brand is currently available in three states that include Massachusetts, Maine, and
New York.

Debra Borchardt

Debra Borchardt is the Co-Founder, and Executive Editor of GMR. She has covered the cannabis industry for several years at Forbes, Seeking Alpha and TheStreet. Prior to becoming a financial journalist, Debra was a Vice President at Bear Stearns where she held a Series 7 and Registered Investment Advisor license. Debra has a Master's degree in Business Journalism from New York University.


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