September 20, 2021 by Sebastian Richard & Dan Marmor of Cann
Stick your arm out fully extended and sweep it back and forth in front of you. Now if you followed that instruction, you are probably cursing my name and questioning why you didn’t ask any questions up front, for there is a high chance you knocked over a beverage. For it is this wet puddle and what it once was that I want us to understand. Beverages, what are they, and why not just water?
When water is all you need, it is hard to be the only thing you want. And so humankind has put its creativity to it and over the centuries has brought to life a plethora of tastes concocted from both near and far ingredients.
We drink for a myriad of reasons; fun, stress, wake up, go to sleep, socialize, commiserate, celebrate. Though rarely, if ever, do we accept something we do not enjoy. Taste is the live and die metric for beverages.
Whether it’s the roasting temperature or brewing method of coffee, the distillation of botanicals for gin, the aging in oak for wine, the carbonation and sugars for soda, pulp or no pulp, there is a fundamental goal being aimed for – taste great.
Few will pick up a beverage and give it a second chance after a distasteful first outing. Food, sure, but a liquid, first impressions count and boy don’t we know it.
So when the world’s newest industry Cannabis begins to mature, it is of no surprise that beverages are the fastest growing segment within it. Resembling an action and form factor that we know intimately, the door is already open for Cannabis Beverages to take advantage. Though head the warning, tasting is believing and ingredients matter. With the modern consumer being driven by an increasingly strong urge to be familiar with what they are consuming, there is little room to hide. Before the cap is even popped, the ingredients are the first battle ground and are the greatest indicator to taste.
As an ever increasingly CPG driven consumer enters the cannabis space, beverages represent the lowest barrier to trial and the simplest introduction to the plant in general. Though if we want to ensure our new-to-cannabis consumers don’t leave beverage behind as their horizons expand, the ingredient lists must be at the standard of traditional beverages forward thinking brands. Peak at the meteoric rise of Kombucha (hard and soft), and you will see a boundary pushing idea that bacteria can be a tasty option.
Quality ingredients, however they come, that can be counted on one hand, pronounced, and widely regarded as not totally terrible for you, are the gold standard. In the immortal words of Eminem “we have one shot, one opportunity” to make that first step into cannabis beverage, not be the last. Our taste, our ingredients are the backbone of that ongoing journey.
With a set of taste buds more unique than your fingerprint, it is no wonder that beverages are among the most diverse offerings a grocery store can carry. People want more, they want clean and they want deliciousness. I truly believe that Cannabis Beverages can deliver on those and shake a mighty stick at Big Alcohol’s stranglehold on the social consumption landscape.
Ingredients will be the key to unlocking the consumer and how that taste profile is delivered will be the key to securing the future of Cannabis Beverages.
Taste is believing and ingredients are the roadmap to that outcome.KEEP READING
August 18, 2021 by Evan Eneman and Jim Baudino from Sands Lane
Cannabis beverage is one of the fastest growing verticals in cannabis. Beverages currently represent just over 1% of overall cannabis sales and are poised to grow at a healthy rate over the next several years as the format becomes more ubiquitous and desirable.
The category has had some help recently, backed by the tailwinds of recent success for CANN, a cannabis infused social tonic. This smart startup has already thought about ways to expand reach beyond just wide reaching PR and celebrity backers like Gwyneth Paltrow, they also have an UN*SPIKED line, to touch on traditional DTC beverage access and success. Upon her entry into the category, Paltrow called cannabis the ‘hero ingredient of the future’, and many agree with her.
One of the first big names in the space began their cannabis beverage journey through CBD. Interscope Records recording artist Ryan Tedder, lead singer of the group OneRepublic, launched MAD TASTY, his brand of infused sparkling waters in 2019.
And it’s not just big named personalities. Pabst Brewing Company recently launched a licensed brand under Pabst Labs, offering a line of cannabis infused seltzers. And before them, former craft brew darling Lagunitas (now owned by Heineken) entered the cannabis space with its Hi-Fi Hops in partnership with CannaCraft. The Boston Beer Company also announced in May that it would set up a subsidiary to begin researching cannabis beverages in Canada. And lets not forget non-alc brands, like Jones Soda, revealing it’s plans to produce cannabis-infused beverages.
And it’s not just the little guys….
Many major BevAlc brands have made investment into the category directly and indirectly, in the US and Canada. Constellation Brands was one of the first and biggest, with their CA$5.8B investment in Canopy Growth. Molson Coors and Anheuser-Busch have both made their foray into the space over the past few years as well. With beer sales declining by 2.9% last year, alcohol brands are looking for additional revenue streams including nonalcoholic and cannabis infused alternatives, while looking much further ahead to a full legal framework and the share of buzz that cannabis infused beverages will hold.
The amount of interest and activity clearly indicates that the segment not only has “legs”, but may very well be the dominant consumption format in the future.
So how do you get involved? You can follow the path of Ayr Wellness who just acquired a Massachusetts only cannabis beverage brand for $20M in stock and cash, or you can look for earlier stage opportunities like what Harmony Craft Beverages provides, allowing investors and operating partners alike to find a diversified portfolio approach as well as a bespoke brand incubation model. If public markets are your preference, many large operators will have some exposure to cannabis beverages, like Canopy Growth as well as GTI.
If you’re a brand, what do the prospects of raising capital for your business look like today? We asked several cannabis beverage brands to share their experience. Most brands have raised one or more rounds of outside funding, mostly from friends and family, angel investors and family offices. Deal structures have followed normal early stage formats using a combination of straight equity, and SAFE or Convertible Notes.
As you start this process, remember that fundraising can be a long process, between six to eighteen months, sometimes longer; for the operators that start building relationships well before they start to fundraise, that timeline can be much shorter. Overall investor sentiment for the category ranged from nervous to excited about the space, and all seeing the long term potential. So when you go out to market, be patient, have your operations in order, and be ready to answer the hard questions about the cannabis beverage sector. In the early stages of fundraising, investors generally invest in people and the “opportunity”, not your net earnings.
So, to answer the question posed in the title of this article…yes.KEEP READING
July 12, 2021 by BevZero
With recent trends of holistic wellness and fitness, many young people today are cutting back on their alcohol consumption. This isn’t to say that millennials aren’t consuming alcohol at all, but many people ages 25 to 40 are opting for non-alcoholic alternatives to wine, beer and cocktails. The nonalcoholic category is growing fast: according to Dieline, “millennials and Gen Zers are drinking less, while the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that, worldwide, the rate of alcohol drinkers fell by nearly 5%. Nonalcoholic beer sales have also grown an average of 3.9% for the past five years.”
BevZero provides innovative solutions for non-alcoholic and cannabis-infused beverages through a process called de-alcoholization. De-alcoholization simply reduces or eliminates alcohol content in traditionally alcoholic beverages. Many brands today are using this process to lower the alcohol content and add in a different type of buzz. Malus, a THC infused cider, uses de-alcoholization before infusing cannabis in their product.
“The food and beverage industry is all about bringing people together. We provide services that allow for an inclusive environment for everyone–whether you’re drinking or not,” said Debbie Novograd, CEO of BevZero.
With the demand for alternatives to alcohol, the nonalcoholic beverage industry has made major strides in providing quality products in recent years. Over the last few years, nonalcoholic beer has become an increasingly popular alternative to traditional beer, with increased options and more robust flavors.
THC infused beverages are currently a small segment of the cannabis industry, but are the fastest growing category, growing 40% year over year, according to recent Headset data. It’s no secret why–they are precisely dosed and are often low in sugar and calories. For those opting out of alcohol for health reasons, THC infused beverages may be an optimal alternative. These drinkables are also typically absorbed faster than edibles because they are consumed sublingually and digested faster in the stomach lining as opposed to the liver.
Ready to try a new nonalcoholic beverage? Check out some of our favorite non-alcoholic and THC infused beverages below.
Malus, the first brand from Harmony Craft Beverages, is a cannabis-infused cider that is perfect for summer. It’s a great option for craft beer and cider lovers–not too sweet, hoppy and full of flavor. The cider is sativa dominant, so its effects are happy, energetic and uplifting. Malus is low dose–one drink contains only 3mg of THC, which makes it perfect to bring along summer adventures. The resin, sour diesel, will leave you feeling energized and in a positive mood.
Barrel Brothers Brewing
Barrel Brothers brews some really great non-alcoholic beer in addition to their traditional brews. They offer six nonalcoholic brews but a favorite is their Morello Barrel Aged Sour–a great option for sour-lovers. It’s a deep red-brown ale, and it’s base beer is aged for three years before being conditioned further on one pound of cherries per gallon. They then used BevZero’s de-alcoholization technology to pull the alcohol out. The sour is complex and rich with barrel characteristics–a true sour, minus the alcohol.
House of Saka
If you’re looking to elevate your cannabis beverage experience, look no further than House of Saka. House of Saka is handcrafted from grapes grown in select Napa Valley vineyards, and uses the most advanced nano-emulsion technology available today. It breaks cannabis oil down to microscopic, water soluble and self-homogenizing particles, and is immediately absorbed for rapid onset. House of Saka is most comparable to wine and they have three products: pink, white and mimosa.
Whatever your reason for cutting back on alcohol, there’s no reason to opt for a less than quality beverage to replace your 5 o’clock cocktail.
June 8, 2021 by House of Saka
More Americans are turning away from alcohol in favor of healthier alternatives. Though COVID-related lockdown restrictions led to brief a surge in sales, alcohol use in the United State is on the decline.
Alcohol sales fizzle out
In the first quarter of 2020, as lockdown restrictions were first put into place, alcohol sales increased by 54%. Yet one year later sales have fallen flat, declining by 1.9%. One report found that alcohol manufacturers were “disproportionately affected by the coronavirus,” and estimates that global alcohol sales won’t rebound until 2024, and that “recovery” in the U.S. might take even longer.
During the same time, the non-alcoholic beverage market grew by leaps and bounds. According to a report by IWSR, a London-based data and intelligence company which tracks worldwide alcohol trends, the no/low alcohol market in the US grew by more than 30% in 2020. By 2025, Global Market Insights projects the global non-alcoholic wine and beer market alone will account for $30 billion in annual sales, growing at a CAGR of seven percent.
No such thing as moderation
While it is generally accepted that alcohol is generally unhealthy, particularly when used heavily, we are just coming to understand how bad for the human body alcohol actually is. An observational conducted by the University of Oxford found a relationship between alcohol use and shrinking brain mass.
Speaking with CNN, the study’s lead author Anya Topiwala, a senior clinical researcher at Oxford, noted that brain volume “reduces with age and more severely with dementia. Smaller brain volume also predicts worse performance on memory testing.”
As the true health effects of alcohol become known, more Americans are seeking out healthier options; but non-alcoholic beverages are not the only alternative. Cannabis has increasingly become a popular alternative to alcohol.
Market Opportunities: cannabis beverages as a healthier alternative
While alcohol sales have floundered during the pandemic, the cannabis industry has flourished. In 2020, global cannabis sales rose 48% to $21.3 billion. Over the five years, the market will swell to more than $90 billion in annual sales. Unlike alcohol, cannabis is far less toxic and carries far fewer health effects.
Also, unlike alcohol, cannabis can be enjoyed in a variety of forms to avoid the negative effects of smoking. With declining alcohol sales, a rise in non-alcoholic beverages and the desire for a healthier alternative, cannabis beverages represent one of the most viable alcohol alternatives. There are far fewer health effects, it is impossible to overdose on, and it closely recreates the “drinking experience.”
Cannabis brands have become increasingly savvy as to how they market their products, aiming their efforts towards alcohol users looking for a healthier alternative. Thanks to advances in emulsion technology, cannabis brands can now create alcohol-free cannabis beverages that taste just like their original alcoholic counterpart.
For example, the luxury-infused cannabis brand House of Saka has redefined the drinking with their award-winning Saka Pink and White alcohol-removed cannabis wines. Their latest foray into beverages aims at redefining the classic cocktail with Saka Spark “Mimosa,” a sparkling cannabis wine boasting Mimosa-strain-specific live resin.
Brands like House of Saka are why cannabis beverages make up one of the fastest segments in the industry. According to MJBizDaily, cannabis beverage sales grew by 40% in 2020. By 2025, sales are expected to reach $2.8 billion. Between the cannabis market, and the dwindling alcohol market, there is a significant opportunity for enterprising brands savvy enough to close the gap.
May 4, 2021 by Judy Yee
Being a parent without the stress of the pandemic is challenging, and the pandemic has created a significant amount of other challenges that parents and caregivers have needed to work through over the past year. To help cope with some of the stress and anxiety of getting through the day, many parents have either increased their cannabis use, or found a new love of the plant.
There has been an increase in cannabis retailers catering to this audience and many companies focusing on discreet products such as edibles and cannabis-infused drinks that are more easily, and safely, enjoyed at home.
Almost overnight, moms like me found ourselves juggling crazy, virtual school schedules, working from home, taking on the role of caregiver, teacher and earner all at the same time. This experience allowed me to see why parents are turning to cannabis in the pandemic.
The pursuit of being a “good mom” during the pandemic seemed laughable and completely unrealistic. For me, being a parent in the pandemic has been about survival.
If I can end the day getting my daughter through distance learning, cooking something for the family, attending my Zoom meetings and squeezing in some time for myself – like going on a run or even 10 minutes of meditation – I consider the day a huge success.
I try to carve out time in the evenings to enjoy a cannabis beverage as I prepare dinner, which helped me compartmentalize my day – it was like a marker that the work day was winding down and my personal time was ramping up. That structure not only gave me something to look forward to, but also helped me unwind and de-stress while staying alert and functional.
As the CEO of a cannabis beverage company, and someone who started incorporating cannabis into my daily routine before the pandemic, I’m not surprised that parents are turning to it during these tough times. It’s a great way to de-stress, relax, connect with my spouse, get some sleep, feel lighter… the list goes on.
This is the reason why we / Mad Lilly launched Moms for Mary to help destigmatize parents’ responsible cannabis use. It was important for me and my team to support and celebrate fellow moms and dads who are using cannabis, which is why we launched Moms for Mary, a community of moms for moms who are sharing their stories and positive experiences with cannabis.
In the same way that airlines tell you to secure your oxygen mask before helping children and those around you, I believe that responsible cannabis use is a form of self-care which leads to being a better partner and parent. It’s our aim to inspire those who are curious to discover how the plant can improve their overall well-being and contribute to ending the unfair stigma surrounding parents and responsible cannabis usage.
It’s our aim to inspire those who are curious to discover how the plant can improve their overall well-being and contribute to ending the unfair stigma surrounding parents’ and responsible cannabis usage. We invite every mom and dad to share their story!KEEP READING
As millions of cannabis consumers prepare to kick back and enjoy 4/20, many are turning to infused beverages to ring in the holiday. As one of the fastest-growing markets in the cannabis industry, infused beverages represent a holy grail for manufacturers: a cannabis product that is both easy to dose and produce consistently. Primed for the national stage, the cannabis beverage market has generated millions of dollars in sales, and billions more in investment.
We wanted to provide you with an overview of the beverage market and examples of the hottest brands in the industry.
2020: The Year of Cannabis Beverages
2020 in particular was a banner year for the cannabis beverage industry. Over the last year, cannabis beverage sales jumped by 40%, from $67.8 million in 2019 to $95.2 million in 2020. Boosting the sales of cannabis beverages is the decline of alcohol sales.
Despite increased sales during the pandemic, alcohol use is declining. Even as bars and restaurants have begun to open back up, alcohol sales continue to dip. As fewer Americans are drinking, cannabis is rapidly becoming America’s new recreational substance. Almost half of all cannabis users have reduced or replaced their alcohol consumption with cannabis. In 2020, cannabis sales increased by 71% and overall purchase sizes increased by 33%.
This consumer adoption has only been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Marijuana Business Daily, although cannabis beverage sales generally are trending upward, sales only started to spike as soon as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were put into place. Prior to March 2020, infused beverages sales generated less than $6 million a month. In December, monthly sales started to close in on $10 million.
The Future of Cannabis Beverages is Female
Women are the biggest consumers of cannabis beverages. According to a report by Headset, women outspent men on cannabis beverages in every age category. The vast majority of cannabis beverage purchases (80%) included other cannabis products, compared to around 66% of edibles sales. Preference in dosage to vary state by state. For example, in Washington, consumers prefer 100mg bevers, while California consumers prefer products with less than 12mg. Market-wide, consumers prefer beverages with over 100mg of THC (59.8%), followed by 10mg beverages (18%) and 5mg (19.5%).
Cannabis Beverages: A Market Poised for Growth
The infused cannabis beverage market is expected to continue to grow over the next four years. In addition to the gains made throughout the pandemic, increased legality should help propel growth in the market. According to Grandview Research, the infused cannabis beverage market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 17.8% and reach $2.8 billion by 2025. That’s enough to make anyone pop open a bottle in celebration.
Variety of Products Types
The following is a small fraction of the cannabis infused beverages available in the market today. From high dose shots to low dose cider, there is a beverage for any occasion.
Cann is the world’s first Low-Dose cannabis beverage in a Can(n). Made with 5 all-natural ingredients (Carbonated water, Agave, 100% Fresh Juice, 100% Natural Essential Oils, California Cannabis Extract), Cann provides a lighter, less impactful and more controlled approach to cannabis consumption .(2mg THC & 4mg CBD.) 200+ California Dispensaries (including Eaze.com / MedMen / Apothecarium / Sweet Flower…)
Product Description: Cann is the #1 selling THC-infused beverage in California according to BDS Analytics. Founded by Stanford and Harvard graduates, Cann is reshaping social drinking with their microdosed, non-alcoholic beverages that deliver a perfect, uplifting feeling every time. Vegan, gluten-free, and with only 30-35 calories, each Cann has five all-natural ingredients with a strength that is similar to a beer or glass of wine. There are no artificial sweeteners or flavors, sugar substitutes, or cannabis taste.
4/20 Deal: Use code FOURTWENTY on shop.drinkcann.com – get 20% off 4 or more 6pks of Cann.
Nectr is a zero calorie, zero sugar, vegan, uber-refreshing sparkling water that’s perfect for any time of day or night. At 10mg of THC per bottle, it’s a perfect introduction for the canna-curious or regular cannabis user. It can be found in over a hundred dispensaries across California and at tastethehigh.com/find-us.
Matt’s High Soda created the hottest drink of the year with Cannabis-infused Uncle Arnies Iced Tea Lemonade. According to Headset’s sales data, Uncle Arnies is the fastest selling beverage in California. This cannabis version of an Arnold Palmer is every stoner and bud-tenders favorite. Packing a whopping 100mg of THC, it’s enough to make you take a whole afternoon away from reality. So sip back and relax, it sells out fast but you can check mattshighsoda.com/get-some for the list of available dispensaries.
Malus Hard Cider, from Harmony Craft Beverages, is California’s first cannabis-infused cider that uses live resin to maintain the aromatic profile of terpenes. Brewed from nature, Malus is a deliciously drinkable blend of apple and cannabis flavors. With dry cider and floral notes, Malus Granny Smith OG is fast-acting and sessionable with 3mg of THC and <2mg of CBD per can to make your best high better. Founded by a team of beverage and cannabis experience enthusiasts, Harmony Craft Beverages is inspired by a quintessentially Californian heritage and a new generation of social drinkers. For more information on Harmony Craft Beverages and Malus Hard Cider, including retail locations, visit: HarmonyCraftBeverages.com | Instagram: @harmonycraftbeverages, @drinkmalus.
House of Saka was established with a mission to bring the Saka’s cannabis infused wine tradition into the modern age. Saka WHITE is the color of muted sunlight with mouth-watering aromas of ripe peach, apricot and toasty oak Saka WHTE offers authentic flavors of rich, buttery vanilla and lush tropical fruit balanced with mild acidity and a long, pleasing finish. With 30mg of TCH and 6mg of CBD per bottle (6 mg of THC, and 1mg of CBD per 5oz serving), Saka WHITE delivers a sensual, relaxing high with rapid onset and offset effects for a truly safe, predictable and social cannabis experience. Five servings per bottle. Nonalcoholic. Fewer than 16 calories per glass. You can purchase Saka WHITE and PINK at houseofsaka.com to have it delivered to your front door in the state of California.
Tomato Jane™ by Van Doran Brands is Southern California’s newest way to enjoy brunch. It is a 10 mg ready to drink product. We use the best combination of spices and flavoring to give you a tasty tangy drink. Enjoy the new way to imbibe with a new vibe™ for your next brunch! You can find these cannabis infused beverages in Southern California dispensaries.
S*SHOTS is infused with 100MG of glorious THC and expertly blended with sweet ‘n tangy fruit juices. It builds the vibe with each tasty 10mg THC shot (10 servings per bottle) for a flavor-explosive, full-body-high. Explore both flavors –Watermelon Punch and Lemon Crush– as a shot on their own, or mix it as a delicious mocktail. Order on eaze.com and in select stores listed at s-shots.com/find-us.
Mad Lilly’s Spritzers Mango Passion won 2nd place for infused beverages at the 2021 Emerald Cup. Let your taste buds bloom with the bright and delicious flavors of Mad Lilly Spritzers: Ginger Pear, Passion Fruit Mango, and Raspberry Hibiscus. Each beautiful (and recyclable) bottle is filled with clean ingredients (all-natural fruit juices and sparkling water – no added sugars or preservatives) and infused with a 1:1 ratio of 5mg THC and 5mg CBD for a perfectly balanced, relaxing experience. Order on Eaze.com now and find us in California dispensaries soon.
Viv & Oak is an innovative wine alternative for women and men that love wine but wants to avoid alcohol. We extract the alcohol, and infuse the wine with premium cannabis. Our Shimmering Scarlett (grapes from Zinfandel) with dosing styles of THC 50mg, THC 30mg, THCv 25mg, CBD 25mg (2:1:1) & CBD 100mg THC 4mg per bottle and our Shimmering Blush (grapes from Rose) with dosing styles of THC 50mg& THC 25mg CBD 25mg (1:1) per bottle. With only 3 grams of sugar and 19 calories per glass.
Giving you an elevated social experience, without the hangovers.
You can thank us in the morning!™
Visit us at www.vivandoak.com for retailers near you!
Pabst Labs: The same Blue Ribbon you know and love now comes with a different kind of buzz. This light and refreshing seltzer is made with California grown cannabis, has only 25 calories, 4 grams of sugar and zero ingredients that are hard to pronounce. Each 12oz can has 5mg of THC, or as we call it, the right amount to start having a good time. Thanks to our advanced emulsion technology, powered by Vertosa, our cannabis infused seltzer works quicker than an average edible, and allows for the most efficient absorption into your system, so you won’t be left waiting for hours to feel a buzz. Order now through our Pabst Labs Shop page or visit our Find It page for retailers near you!
Artet is a modern beverage, inspired by tradition. Unlike traditional aperitifs, Artet is non-alcoholic and cannabis infused. Each batch is a blend of cannabis and eight botanicals that work in harmony to make Artet delicious on the rocks, intriguing when mixed, and always enjoyed in good company. Born out of a backyard BBQ in Los Angeles, Rosemary Jane quickly became a favorite among Artet drinks. The warming notes of Artet working in harmony alongside a blend of italian grapefruit juice, young rosemary simple syrup, and sparkling water. Each can has 5 mg of THC and 5mg of CBD. You can find stores near you to purchase Artet at iheartjane.com.KEEP READING
The Cannabis Beverage Association (CBA) has made tremendous strides since its inception in 2019. We started as a small group of passionate cannabis-beverage entrepreneurs and business operators who recognized the potential of the infused-beverage category, but also saw and experienced many severe challenges that would stifle the category’s growth.
Some of those challenges include:
Cumbersome and expensive protocols for procuring samples for marketing and testing.
As an association, we’re taking these challenges head-on by building a coalition of stakeholders who share our vision for the future of cannabis and infused-beverages and our passion and drive to influence change, so that we can, as Vertosa puts it: #infusetheworld. You can see in our purpose, vision and mission, that we’re steadfast at our core:
Purpose: We believe in the power of infused beverages to de-stigmatize and broaden cannabis use.
Vision: We aspire to a world where cannabis is federally legal, access is not restricted, and beverages are the leading method of cannabis consumption.
Mission: Our mission is to unite cannabis beverage stakeholders and advance the collective interests of the industry through advocacy and education, providing an alternative method of consuming cannabis in a socially acceptable manner with products that provide a safe and enjoyable experience for consumers.
We have lofty goals and the plans in place to achieve them. The following initiatives will be a focus for this year:
CBA Seal of Approval – a program we’re building to create standards and certifications for operators in the space, starting with infused beverage testing. In partnership with TraceTrust, we’re conducting a study to understand the disparities across labs for testing beverages.
We hope you share our excitement about infused beverages! We appreciate you subscribing to our Newsletter, and we encourage you to join us, as a member, in paving the way for this category to thrive!
From concept to market-ready, Spacestation offers turnkey contract-manufacturing and co-packing solutions for companies seeking to develop cannabis-infused consumable products. Our full-service product development strategy and manufacturing capabilities take your cannabis-infused product to market faster and more effectively.
Contact: Macai Polansky
Co-founder Spacestation Mfg. / Spacestation Distro / Nectr / Matt’s High Soda
Macai is a cannabis industry veteran with experience in cannabis cultivation and processing, manufacturing, distribution and non-storefront home delivery. He got his start in the industry, pre-regulation, during the Prop 215 era. When MMRSA and Prop 64 passed, he got involved in the early stakeholder meetings with the state and then helped found the California Cannabis Couriers Association (CCCA). During his presidency, the association successfully lobbied the State to create a license type for non-storefront delivery businesses, helped create the cannabis delivery ordinance and tiered license fees in the City of Sacramento, as well as helped fight the winning battle which ensured borderless statewide delivery. Since then, he co-founded Spacestation Mfg, the state’s first contract manufacturer focused solely on infused-beverage as well as Spacestation Distro – a beverage centric cannabis distributor focused on paving the way for the infused beverage supply chain. Lastly, he founded the CBA and has aspirations of seeing infused beverages in bars and traditional retail, alongside alcohol, as a safer alternative for all occasions.
More and more people want their drinks cannabis-infused. That’s one message entrepreneurs are finding easy to swallow in the pandemic.
The year 2020 may go down as the worst in memory, but not for cannabis beverage manufacturers and brands.
According to a report by Prohibition Partners, the global cannabis drinks market was projected to be worth $1.82 billion by year’s end. The next report should confirm if these numbers were met. The number was driven by consumers looking for cost-friendly relief from the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“When facing an economic crisis, consumers will be more willing to buy less costly luxury goods,” says Stephen Murphy, Managing Director of Prohibition Partners. “Cannabis-infused drinks are an ideal example of this and Prohibition Partners has found that cannabis products are expected to benefit from this period of self-isolation.”
Consumers are stockpiling cannabis products in a bid to ensure that their supplies are secured indefinitely. As part of the “home entertainment line-up” in regions where cannabis is legal, beverages can expect to benefit from this trend in hard times to watch more television and spend more on little extras for their in-home leisure. The stressors of note for 2020 proved to be a boost for cannabis-based products. Despite the economic downturn, cannabis recorded impressive growth as consumers looked for products to help them relax and de-stress and as the most popular format, drinks were one of the greatest beneficiaries.
“Being a firm believer that infused-beverages are the best and most enjoyable format for cannabis consumption, I’m not surprised,” says Macai Polansky, founder of Cannabis Beverage Association and co-founder of Spacestation. “Beverages are the most ubiquitous consumer packaged goods found around the world. Everyone on this planet drinks something and in most social situations, a beverage will be found in peoples’ hands. I look forward to the day that cannabis-infused beverages can be consumed at bars and restaurants and are more widely available to the masses.”
The report found that one in four consumers or would-be consumers of other cannabinoid-based products would be willing to try cannabis-infused drinks, and 28 percent of people who have already tried infused beverage consumers said they intended to buy more infused consumer goods in the coming three months.
Claire Birks, Prohibition Partners Senior Analyst says “The global drinks market may be large but overall industry growth is slow with some analysts forecasting annual growth at around just 3%. Our research has found that cannabis-drinks, however, are poised for much bigger growth and point towards an almost 45% compound annual growth rate for the cannabis-infused segment of the drinks industry.”
Says Murphy, “We are on the cusp of a drinks revolution, for hundreds of years, legal socializing has either involved alcohol, or sobriety; outside of caffeine and nicotine, ultimately you either got drunk, or you didn’t. The emerging cannabis drinks market is one of the most exciting sectors within the beverage industry; cannabis infusion will truly disrupt the drinks market and become a highly lucrative source of revenue for those who embrace it.”
Aaron Silverstein, Managing Director of BevZero told Green Entrepreneur that “Cannabis beverage products that can replace alcoholic drinks, such as wine or beer, are more necessary right now during the COVID-19 pandemic than ever before.”
He pointed to a statement issued by The World Health Organization indicating that alcohol use could weaken the immune system, and that heavy alcohol use increased the risk of some of the most severe complications of COVID-19.
For this reason, consumers are turning to beverages like House of Saka’s non-alcoholic cannabis-infused Chardonnay and Cann Social Tonics to replace their alcohol consumption with cannabis options that are familiar and meet many of the same needs.
As a respiratory illness, COVID-19 made people think twice about how they chose to consume cannabis products. People are still avoiding smoking and vaping in favor of other formats such as edibles, including drinks. Furthermore, governments throughout the globe will be searching for ways to bolster flagging economies and cannabis-infused beverages have the potential to deliver.
“Consumer demand has driven exponential growth in new and novel beverage categories like kombucha, flavored sparkling waters, and functional teas. Cannabis beverages are an obvious extension of this industry-moving consumer trend. I look forward to driving the same explosion in cannabis beverages that we’ve seen with past hot beverage trends in the grocery aisles, ”said Judy Yee – CEO / Co-Founder of KZen
Prohibition Partners also found that working parents were particularly responsive to beverages; 2020 saw them take on the roles of worker, teacher, and parent all at once. This may explain why 70 percent of people who reported that they are likely to buy more infused products in the following three months, have children under the age of 18. Parents may need an outlet to provide a form of escapism or herbal self-medication during the crisis. This is likely to also be a key reason that more than half of those who intend to purchase more cannabis-infused drinks in the following three months were ages 25–44.
Federal US Government Statistics from April 2020 showed a rise in stress-drinking directly resulting from the global pandemic and this has been mirrored across much of the world. Furthermore, a leading professor of Health at the University of Boston has warned that a spike in alcohol use disorders is on its way owing to a shift in alcohol purchase and consumption habits during the crisis.
“We live in a society that loves drinks. Infused beverages are attractive to the consumer because the consumption process is so familiar. Now available in low-dose options, consumers can have a sessionable experience in a social setting much like alcohol, but without the hangover. Within the category, there are also many more options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for infused coffee, cannabis-infused wine, or a cannabis sparkling seltzer, there’s something for everyone,” said Jamie Evans, Founder of The Herb Somm and author of The Ultimate Guide to CBD: Explore the World of Cannabidiol.
The emerging cannabis drinks segment, however, could lessen that impact. Consumer research conducted by Prohibition Partners has found that four in 10 consumers who have or intend to purchase cannabinoid-infused beverages do so as a replacement for other intoxicating substances.
“The cannabis beverage category has developed rapidly over the past several years and is a real game-changer in the consumer packaged goods space,” says Ben Larson, CEO of infusion technology company, Vertosa. “In these extremely challenging times, infused beverages offer an appealing, approachable, and affordable alternative to alcoholic beverages. And thanks to cutting-edge technology, there are also more sophisticated and high-end varieties of cannabis beverages than ever before, from wine to beer to cold brew coffee to fresh juice to sparkling water.”
Larson predicts that “by the end of the year, you can expect to see notable consumer brands from beer, spirits, coffee, energy drinks and more bring exciting new products to market.” For example, Harmony Craft Beverages (a partnership between Sands Lane Ventures and BevZero), just launched their new brand, Malus, which is the industry’s first infused cider.
Cannabis drinks are starting to get the needed boost, in part, because of the supply chain improving each month and the attention that COVID-19 has provided. “The light has shined on our little but growing space in the industry and I think it’s going to help cannabis beverages outpace any projections that are currently out there,” says Geoff Doran, Founder & CEO of Van Doran Brands. “There’s still a lot of room for improvement though. If you walk into 10 dispensaries in California, you will quickly realize that our space doesn’t have the proper shelf space we need such as sizeable refrigerators or retail real estate to help us find our way into the consumer’s hands. We are getting there with more brands coming on board though. We will see a massive growth event this summer. After all, it’s bound to happen, we have been imbibing/socializing with drinks for centuries, it’s just time to imbibe with a different vibe.”
2021 will certainly be a transitional year for cannabis as a whole, and with an increase in focus on direct to consumer channels and more brands entering the market, cannabis infused beverages will be getting into the hands of more consumers.KEEP READING
More and more people want their drinks cannabis-infused. That’s one message entrepreneurs are finding easy to swallow in the pandemic.KEEP READING