HIGH LIFE: Cannabis Beverage Market Rising

As the recreational use of cannabis approaches legality with growing speed, synergistic business opportunities likewise begin to emerge. Cannabis-infused products abound, led largely by North American indie brands that took the necessary risks and made the necessary legal inroads to put roots down in the market while their larger, multinational competition stood fast on the sidelines. In some ways the evolution mirrors the explosive growth of craft beer breweries across the region that carved a niche in an already crowded beverage market. Could it be happening again?

Cannabis-based drinks have been showing up on the beverage industry radar with increasing regularity. Suddenly and now seemingly willing to throw brand caution to the wind, these larger and more well-known beverage behemoths are making big moves into the market space by developing robust, strategic partnerships with their large cannabis counterparts. Cannabis-based drinks are predicted to stir up some trouble in the traditional beer market and popular brewers are seeing it as a chance to diversify their product offerings while their more household brands exhibit a decline in sales.

Most of these partnerships have designed brand strategies to target the Canadian markets since Canada has legalized the recreational use of cannabis on the federal level and thereby opening the door for cannabis-infused products. However, cannabis-based beverages for the American market are beginning to grow their own selection of interesting and exciting brands for the American demographic. The market disruptions are also being seen outside the United States and Canada with significant activity across Europe. There, messaging has skewed towards the wellbeing and overall wellness interests of millennials who seek products that not only provide a break from work stresses, but also break the norms of traditional thinking about health.

Back in North America, the expansive separation of interest between cannabis related products — most notably food — and a burgeoning cannabis-based drink market is quite clear. However, with news of growing interest and investment from large, corporate beverage companies excites marketing potential and innovation that may well close the gap. European markets, on the other hand, do not operate under quite the same gap. There, cannabinoid and hemp-sourced products and beverages are thriving at a much more advanced stage. This leads marketers to agree that, without legalization, drink products with CBD and hemp could surge in popularity. 

How has all this happened so quickly? The industry can thank a process that breaks down the hemp plant into a water soluble form called “nano-emulsification”. Add to that the time of the COVID-19 pandemic where studies show that Americans are drinking a lot more than usual. Other studies also point to something of the reverse: folks are looking for legitimate ways to rescue their alcohol consumption while still accomplishing that all-important goal of “catching a buzz”. Perhaps one trend owes its existence to the natural progression of the other, but the fact remains that people are growing tired of booze and that trend was already being noticed prior to the pandemic.

Of course, alcohol also comes with other well-known detractions – namely, the painfully sluggish aftereffect commonly referred to as a “hangover”. But while cannabis isn’t normally associated with that particular drain on the system, its effects are very different from those of alcohol related products. This means that cannabis-infused products may not exactly be a true alternative to your average cocktail. Still, many companies see it as a related option that does share much in common with beer, wine and spirits. 

What Graver has in common with these types of products is that we produce a wide selection of filters that brewers can utilize to remove particulate and microbes from bottle rinse water and prevent microorganisms from entering storage tanks among other key benefits.