Cannabis-infused beverages are taking up the industry by storm. The research group Canaccord Genuity anticipates the market for infused drinks to be worth $600 million in the U.S. by 2022.
Therefore, alcohol companies that are looking for ways to compensate for the declining beer market are trying to participate in this multimillion dollar industry by developing consumer-friendly cannabis drinks that can compete with alcohol.
Many in the industry believe that creating a “sessionable” beverage, where one can have two or three drinks over a few hours while enjoying a balanced and moderate high is the way to go. “We think onset time is going to be one of the critical factors in the next stage of cannabis-infused beverages, and the investments being made by consumer-packaged goods companies and by big alcohol are going to dramatically move that needle,” John Kagia of New Frontier Data told the Chicago Tribune.
“The technical steps are half the battle, and then there’s who wants what, when, where, and why,” including decisions like bottles or cans, size, color, brand and taste, said Canopy Chief Executive Officer Bruce Linton.
The painstaking restrictions on cannabis research in the U.S. make the entire process even more difficult. “Given that cannabis has been illegal for much of the past century, you’re seeing the industry now making up for almost a century’s worth of innovation and investment in a two- to five-year period,” commented Kagia at New Frontier Data. “We would argue that we’ve still barely scratched the tip of the iceberg around where product innovation in cannabis is going.”
But progress is around the corner now that big alcohol companies are investing considerable time, money and resources into research, responded Spiros Malandrakis, head of alcoholic drinks at market-research firm Euromonitor International.”With the know-how that these companies have already in creating all kinds of beverages, I honestly have little doubt that these kind of products will be upon us and the onset effect will be resolved by the end of this year,” he says.