This summer, instead of having to fuss about rolling the blunt, you can get that buzz off of a cannabis-infused beer. An increasing amount of cannabis-infused drinks are hitting the shelves of your local dispensaries, pharmacies, supermarkets, and more. According to many industry experts, this is just the beginning when it comes to cannabis beverages.
What Is Cannabis Beer?
Despite the name, cannabis beer is typically referring to a nonalcoholic drink. Drinks can be infused with THC or CBD by brewing with cannabis instead of traditional hops. Cannabis-infused beer is a healthier, alcohol-free alternative that’s growing more and more popular with young people according to experts.
All varieties of cannabis-infused drinks have a massively profitable future. Experts see the industry as being worth as much as $1.4 billion. This impressive figure has captured the attention of the big corporate names in the beverage business.
American companies like Budweiser and Coors have started investing money and resources into the cannabis market. Although it’s currently illegal to mix alcohol and THC, they hope to dominate the industry once the floodgates open. The continued federal illegality of marijuana ensures that this won’t happen anytime soon however.
In Canada, where cannabis is federally legal, beverage companies are acting fast to release products and meet demands. Constellation Brands, the company behind popular beers like Corona and Modelo, invested $4 billion into Canadian cannabis giant Canopy Growth. Molson Coors, another large beverage business, said they intended to be a “participant” rather than a “spectator” when it came to the cannabis-infused beer market.
Aside from these massive names in the beer industry, the craft beer community is also on board the cannabis-infusion hype-train. According to The Beer Institute, the craft beer industry has slowed down since 2016. Cannabis-infused drinks could be the exciting new product they need to get their momentum back. Smaller breweries like Oregon’s Coalition Brewing, Maryland’s Flying Dog Brewery, and California’s High Style Brewing Company all have their own offerings of cannabis-infused beverages.
Targeting the New Generation
Keith Villa, the man behind the iconic microbrew-turned mainstream darling Blue Moon, is a co-founder of the Colorado-based Ceria Brewing Co. This company is dedicated to producing cannabis-infused, non-alcoholic beers.
Villa sees Ceria as an alternative to beer for a younger, more health-conscious generation of consumers. Using his two daughters in their twenties as real-life examples, he’s developed a product that he believes will truly resonate with the young adult market.
“Alcohol is being consumed less and less by young people, and they’re looking for an alternative that tastes great, has fewer calories, and doesn’t give you a hangover,” Villa said. “With this generation of young adults, no one wants to lose control and end up seeing their image on Facebook or Instagram.”
Each bottle of cannabis-infused beer contains about 5 milligrams of THC. This kicks in after only about 15 minutes, giving you more control for dosing compared to the average edible. Currently, Ceria products are widely available in Colorado. Villa hopes that nationwide legalization will allow the brand to go national sooner rather than later.
Cannabinoid-infused wine is on its way to the marketplace as well. Napa, California-based companies Saka Wines and CannaVines are leading the charge of cannabis blended with wines. Infused wines are especially appealing to the younger generation who can tour the vineyards for a unique, Instagrammable experience.
It’s getting more clear that cannabis-infused drinks are the way of the future, particularly when it comes to alternatives to alcohol. As millennials drink less alcohol and cannabis becomes more popular than ever before, it’s clear that trends are changing.