Is 2019 the Year of the Cannadrink?

Written by BlackbirdGo January 15, 2019
The IndustryThe Product

There was a time when the only ways to get pot were either through a dispensary with a medical card or from a friend of a friend with whom you’d swap cash for whatever was in stock. Most of us would go home, load up a joint, and let the relaxation take over. But, oh, how times have changed. Passing the bong or baking special brownies were once all the rage when it came to consuming cannabis, but now that recreational use has been legalized in 10 states and medical use legalized in 33, something bigger is on the rise. Cannabis-infused beverages are taking over the scene, so let’s crack open a cold one (cannadrink, that is) and dig into what it’s all about.

Sip on That

Cannadrinks are pretty self-explanatory: they’re beverages infused with all of that cannabis goodness. The choices are vast too. Your beverage can have just THC to get you a good high, just relaxing CBD, or a lovely balance of both. There is cannabis-infused wine, coffee, soda, juice, kombucha, elixir, and cold brew. You can get a buzz similar to the one you get from your evening nightcap without the negative effects alcohol has on your body.

These beverages have been quickly growing in popularity over the last couple of years. While it’s obvious that the demand for cannabis has been on a fast and steady increase, this sub-niche is quickly taking over. The cannadrink industry is projected to be a $600 million market in the next few years; more specifically, Canaccord estimates CBD beverages will become a $260 million market by 2022, while THC-infused beverages will be a $340 million market.

What in the Health?

But what’s the big deal? Well let’s take a step back and look at other beverage industries. You’ve probably heard that soda and alcohol sales have been on a steep decline over the last decade. The fact is that consumers have been on the hunt to spend their money on healthier alternatives rather than sugar-laden and/or hangover-inducing drinks. These cannabis-infused products can serve as a replacement for socially drinking alcoholic beverages while also allowing you to avoid the hell that is the morning after an alcohol-infused night out. Plus, with the multiple medical studies showing the ever-growing list of health benefits cannabis provides, it only makes sense to replace the Big Gulps and whiskey-cokes with Mother Nature’s best.

Cashing in on the Green

Consumers aren’t the only people taking notice either. Big names have been showing deep interest and making big moves to claim their spot in the cannabis industry and be on the forefront of the trend. As people move away from purchasing soda and alcohol, they’ve redirected their focus to cannabis, and these companies know that’s their way back into consumers’ pockets.

Many companies have already gotten a head start. Lagunitas, owned by Heineken, has created and now sells a THC-infused carbonated beverage called Hi-Fi Hops—available with either just THC or as a hybrid with both THC and CBD. Molson Coors recently joined forces with cultivator Hexo to begin work on producing a cannabis-infused beer for the Canadian market. Hugh Johnson of PepsiCo said told CNBC last October that the company is looking “very critically” at staking their claim in the cannadrink industry, while Coca-Cola is having ongoing conversations regarding CBD-infused wellness drinks, though nothing has been finalized for either brand. Constellation Brands has paid $4 billion for stake in Canopy growth, a Canadian cannabis cultivator.

Pour One Out for the Local Homies

But it’s not just these large corporations that are working to get their foot in the door. Small startups have been working to get their own products into dispensaries and into our koozies. Nevada-based Cannabiniers created cannabis-infused non-alcoholic beer (cannabier) and teas. Coffee and cold brews are hitting the scene to give you a little caffeine boost while keeping you good and mellow. There are several companies creating non-alcoholic cannabis-infused wine, trying to grab the interest of wine-sipping millennials and classier adults. And because there are so many options in terms of THC and CBD, you have better control over the effects you’re looking to get from these beverages.

No matter how you twist it, 2019 is clearly going to be the year of the cannadrink, and it will only continue to go uphill from there. With so many big strides being taken in this industry, it’s only a matter of time before they seriously become a household item. In the meantime, take a load off. Relax. Pour yourself a glass. Get a feel for what it’s all about.

Disclaimer: Keep out of reach of children. For use only by adults 21 years of age and older.