Now that it has become legal in several states across the United States of America, Cannabis is making its way into new kinds of edibles, especially CBD-infused beverages. Could we call them drinkables?
There is no doubt that CBD-infused beverages are the new kid on the block. CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is one of 113 cannabinoids that occurs naturally in the hemp plant. CBD accounts for as much as 40% of the extracts that come from the hemp or cannabis plant.
The most common way that CBD is taken into the body is in the form of smoking or vaporizing. Although, new ways of consumption are becoming popular such as aerosol spray for inside the mouth and check.
It can also be used in baked goods such as cookies and brownies. Where cannabis has been legalized, you can purchase CBD in various forms like oils, capsules, full plants, dried flowers, hemp extract oils, and liquid prescription solutions.
A New Beverage Line
It was recently announced by an American company called New Age Beverages that it has plans in the pipeline to launch a new range of beverages in the United States (legalized states, of course). This new line will be infused with CBD compounds. The beverages they are considering will include water, tea and other popular drinks with a little CBD kick.
You may know New Age as the creators of a range of Bob Marley- branded products like teas and coffees, as well as their coconut water: Coco Libre, and various other kombucha drinks.
The Farm Bill
The CEO of New Age Beverages, Brent Willis explained recently that they are in talks with several retail outlets about stocking their prospective new product line. However, this plan is still in limbo while waiting for Congress to pass legislation that is known as the Farm Bill.
The Farm Bill will allow companies to legally produce hemp (or cannabis) plants as well as the possibility of creating other products containing CBD (cannabidiol), like the beverage line that New Age is planning. Willis explained that their venture into CBD-infused beverages is not about people finding new ways to get stoned, but rather from an outlook of health and wellness.
They want to give people the access they need to a new form of health drinks. Although CBD is also a component of marijuana, it does not have the same psychoactive effects and will not cause users to get high in the same way as they might when smoking marijuana.
Willis is optimistic about the bill and expects that it will pass relatively soon. This means their new drink line could be on shelves shortly after the passing of the Bill.
Racking Up Some Competition
In the last year, New Age has experienced a great adventure on the stock market and is now up by 125% during 2018 alone. After the news of the new beverage line, the cannabis stocks got a little lift too, soaring up by 20% just last week. This begs the question: who is the big competition for New Age in this new CBD venture?
Rumor has it that Coke could have a hand in the cannabis game too or are at least making a play for it. The well-known beverage giant is said to be showing interest in Aurora, a Canadian cannabis firm.
Although, talk of investment was swiftly shot down by James Quincey, Coca-Cola’s current CEO. The direct competitor, Pepsi has mentioned that they have investigated the CBD market with no further details on the topic.
Constellation Brands, the owner of the popular beer Corona, is already playing the cannabis game with over $4 billion invested in Canopy Growth, the first cannabis company to trade publicly in the United States back in 2014.
Heineken-owned beer brand Lagunitas, are also already playing the game with their own CBD product, cannabis-infused sparkling water, currently on the market and being sold in the state of California.
Top Dogs Getting in on the CBD Action
There is speculation that many other companies in the food and beverage industry are going to want to start getting involved in the cannabis industry. The trend is looking likely to continue and make its way into the offerings of other beverage makers.
Would it not be cool to grab a CBD-infused latte at your local Starbucks? According to Paul Rosen, Tidal Royalty CEO, this could happen and become a reality very soon. Tidal Royalty is a financing firm that assists cannabis companies.
Given this new landscape, Willis notes that the popularity of smoking marijuana is highly likely to start diminishing with people opting to consume CBD in the form of other products like CBD-infused beverages. Willis is somewhat of a veteran in the beverage industry having worked at both Coca-Cola and Anheuser-Busch InBev (brewers of Budweiser) in the past.
With a coy attitude towards this development, Willis acknowledges that the beverage industry is notorious for being somewhat insular and branching out to meet the cannabis industry is a huge leap, given his knowledge and experience with the major players in the beverage industry, Coca-Cola and InBev.
Willis goes on to explain how close-knit the beverage community is, and that New Age is not aiming to be a billion-dollar business right now. However, it may take a couple of years to reach that type of goal, and they do not see any obstacles in their path right now that will stop them for working their way to that status.
Willis is confident that regulation and any competition is not going to stop New Age Beverages from making a success of this new venture into CBD-infused products.
At this stage, it is still a bit of a waiting game to see what beverage companies make of this new opportunity. Once the Farm Bill does pass (that is, if congress does decide to pass it of course), we predict that you will start seeing a variety of new products on the market sporting the CBD label.