< Journal
21st February 2022

Step aside spiked-seltzers, it’s Cannabevs time to shine.

Step aside spiked-seltzers, it’s Cannabevs time to shine.

In 2019, consumers became so infatuated with spiked seltzers that they caused a shortage. With the hype starting to die down, there’s room on the shelves for a new kind of buzz: cannabis beverages. And we’re not just talking about CBD infused drinks…

“According to Brightfield Group research agency, THC-infused beverages will account for $1 billion in US sales by 2025”*. Meanwhile, CBD beverages that have been available on a wider scale (and in locations where cannabis hasn’t yet been legalized) are expected to hit $2.5 billion.*

For those who need an easy to understand definition of the differences…

“THC and CBD are both derived from the cannabis plant, but THC is known for its psychoactive high, while CBD is considered a “non-psychoactive” compound, meaning it provides more of a light buzz.”

It’s no surprise that alcohol companies are seeing those figures and diversifying their portfolios to include weed based wonders. Although companies like Pabst, Lagunitas, and Constellation Brands are ready to hit the ground running, they did take a back seat to begin with to allow smaller CPG brands to navigate the hurdles and regulations before they paved their way through and put their stake in the ground.

It’s no surprise that this market is set to be a competitive one: 

  • US cannabis-infused beverage sales surged 40% last year, to $95.2 million, according to the Cannabis Beverage Association*
  • Beverages make up roughly 3% of all purchases at dispensaries in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington*
    • Forbes reported that 6.5% of consumers in those states purchased a THC-infused drink last year, up 10% from 2019.*

What can brands learn from the seltzer market? 

The reason for seltzers being a booming success was due to understanding that younger consumers are becoming more health-minded. Cannabevs can’t ignore this. They also need to acknowledge that many consumers consider themselves to be ‘canna-curious’. Beverages give consumers a great opportunity to test and build their confidence in cannabis, however they don’t want to take a step back and revert to high calorie, high sugar intake drinks. Bigger brands have recognized that during their NPD:

  • Lagunitas Hi-Fi Hops, for one, has zero calories, zero carbs, and is gluten-free*
  • Pabst High Seltzer has 25 calories*
  • Cann, another cannabev leader, bills itself as a “social tonic” with only 35 calories, compared with spiked seltzers’ 100-something cal count*

And hot off the press as we write this “Pepsi Launches Hemp Oil-Infused Rockstar Product”.

One of the biggest beverage companies in the world, just testing it out.

“In addition to hemp seed oil, Unplugged products include spearmint, lemon balm, B vitamins, and only 80 milligrams of caffeine.” Fabiola Torres, PepsiCo general manager and CMO of its energy business, described the line as “a combination of herbals that can help us to relax, but not to sleep.” …she indicated that 91% of consumers told Pepsi they “wanted a beverage that lifts their mood.”

What’s the take home? 

If your beverage brand wants to enter the cannabis market, it’s essential that you take the time to understand your core consumer and why they’re choosing your product. Is it an alternative to drinking alcohol? How do they want to feel, relaxed and chilled, energized, aroused etc? Is it because they’re looking for a lower calorie option? 

Get your brands right. Houses of Brands like Pepsi Co will buy to acquire!

We have extensive experience in both CBD & the beverage industry. We understand the regulations your packaging has to adhere to and how to give you a full brand identity and positioning that makes you stand out in a sea of noise, especially if you’re new to the market. We understand the decision making process your customer goes through and what factors are more important to them when picking up a product (taste vs price).

Get in touch with us to see how we can help you infuse the powers of these two markets.

Author: Nicole Levings