Cannabis In Your Drinks?

Written by Jennifer Clark
Posted October 21, 2020

A growing trend in the cannabis market is cannabis-infused beverages. There’s been a lot of change in the market over the past decade, but things have really started to ramp up in the last few years. As of the beginning of 2020, 11 U.S. states had fully legalized marijuana, but with the upcoming election, marijuana reform could be on its way to more. 

The spread of legalization throughout the nation will pave the way for a market that is up for grabs. It’s already been a hot industry, full of innovation for ways to consume the drug — whether for medicinal or recreational use. That’s why it doesn’t come as a surprise that companies are creating hemp- and cannabis-infused beverages, building a multibillion-dollar industry in the coming years.

These drinks are kind of like a shiny new toy. It's something no one has ever seen before, so why not try it out? Millions of people praise the benefits of cannabis and hemp, so why not have it as a drink option? For some alcohol and beer companies, it might be a saving grace. According to IWSR, total U.S. beer volumes were down 2.3% — the fourth straight year of declines. IWSR also reported that for the first time in 25 years, wine volumes dipped 0.9% while distilled spirits products grew 2.3%. The company has categorized hard seltzer as “ready-to-drink” (RTD), for which IWSR reported a sales increase of 50% in 2019. Hard seltzers made up 43% of the RTD category. 

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There’s something to be said about the type of product people are reaching for now that it's legalized and more accepted by society. A joint study published by researchers from the University of Connecticut, Georgia State University, and the Universidad del Pacifico in Peru suggests that monthly alcohol sales dropped by 15% in U.S. regions where medical cannabis was legalized. 

Beer companies that have been around for decades are beginning to see the trend and want to expand their businesses before it’s too late. Pabst Labs — part of the popular brand Pabst Blue Ribbon — recently launched Pabst Blue Ribbon Cannabis-Infused Seltzer, a non-alcoholic, THC-infused seltzer. Pabst Labs was founded by a group of cannabis beverage experts and is taking care of production, marketing, and sales of its new drink.  

Pabst Labs Brand Manager Mark Faicol said:

Pabst Blue Ribbon has an incredibly loyal and passionate customer base who are open to change and embracing new ideas. We’ve spent a long time creating a quality product for both new and experienced users, and believe the entry of an established brand can help kick-start the cannabis drinks category.

Pabst Blue Ribbon Cannabis-Infused Seltzer will be available in certain cannabis shops in California and for sale online in the state. Pabst Blue Ribbon isn't the only U.S. brewery exploring cannabis-infused beverages. Constellation Brands (NYSE: STZ), Molson Coors (NYSE: TAP), and Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD) have begun to work with and invest in Canadian cannabis firms to begin selling products, with the goal of eventually operating in the U.S. 

As I mentioned earlier, some data indicate that there has been a slowdown in beer and alcohol sales over the last few years. These U.S. breweries have most likely seen the data and realize it's time for a new business plan to ensure their existence and remain popular with consumers. This market will only continue to expand as societies and governments take less negative stances on marijuana. 

Until next time, 

Jennifer Clark
Pro Trader Today
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