Benzinga Cannabis Hour Recap: The Future Of CBD Beverages
For many cannabis consumers, traditional methods of getting high — joints and edibles — aren't necessarily their thing.
Beverages, however, have a growing appeal.
That's according to our guests on the most recent Benzinga Cannabis Hour (see link below):
- Ryan Crane: Founder & CEO, Tempo Beverages
- Tracey Mason: Co-Founder & CEO, House of Saka
- Warren Bobrow: Co-Founder & CEO, Klaus
The timing for this episode is perfect. Just this week, Pabst Blue Ribbon — the 19th Century beer that is now America's largest brewer — debuted its cannabis-infused sparkling water at certain cannabis shops in California. The drink doesn't contain beer or alcohol, but rather a few milligrams of THC.
And one of the largest deals ever made in the cannabis space was between spirits giant Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ), maker of Modelo Especial beer and Svedka vodka, and Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC). Constellation owns a 39% equity stake in the cannabis company and has big plans for a beverage rollout.
Now, each of these pros featured in this week's episode work in the CBD beverage niche, so it's no surprise that they're touting the trend with the common goal of hawking more products. But the projection of the market's value shows they're onto something. Per Grand View Research, the CBD-infused beverage space is expected to reach $2.8 billion by 2025. And by 2029, the global cannabis market could inflate to $130 billion, with CBD beverages making up a significant chunk of business.
Part of that upward trend is tied to health-conscious consumers, according to Crane.
"Beverages are a great way to get a healthy, reliable, functional dose of an ingredient," he said. "It's not going to be sugary, unhealthy or anything like that.
In addition to Seltzer, there's also wine. And mixing a batch of high-quality CBD wine is very difficult to do, says Mason, who has over 30 years worth of experience in the wine space.
Saka takes its name from "female warriors sent to rule the world and conquer all they desire," Mason told Benzinga co-hosts Elliot Lane and Javier Hasse.
"It hasn't been easy — at all," she added. "I think that's the reason there's so few players in this particular segment of the beverage space. It's because it's very difficult to do and it's really difficult to do well. Making an alcohol removed wine that tastes good is hard enough, but then when you're infusing that with cannabis it raises that bar of difficulty that much higher."
Cannabis beverages also don't begin and end with basic staples like Seltzer and wine. There's the potential to get "sophisticated" with mixology, Bobrow said.
Bobrow, a former writer for Forbes' vice section, is the author behind "Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks and Buzz-Worthy Libations" — which was published in 2016.
He's also the inventor of Klaus, a unique recipe for a THC drink named in honor of an 1800 lawn gnome.
"Part of the fun of a memorable drink is to make a flavor that you'll remember, and you'll remember mine the first time you've have it and you'll always come back to it in a conversation," Bobrow said. "Even if that conversation takes place 20 years in the future, they'll always remember the first time they tasted a really beautiful cannabis beverage."
The Benzinga Cannabis Hour is produced every week and brings together top executives, entrepreneurs, and experts from all corners of the cannabis industry. Each show features three or more guests from a broad spectrum of expertise in cannabis.
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