Big Booze Company Coors Officially Enters the Weed Game
The Colorado-based beer company Coors has launched a new cannabis product, but, unfortunately, it won’t get anyone lifted.
This week, Coors announced it will begin distributing Sparkling CBD exclusively to the Colorado market, and primarily in the Denver area. Sparkling CBD is a non-alcoholic, CBD-infused soda line made from hemp extracts.
"We see a big demand for high-quality and unique products in the non-alcoholic space," Coors Distributing Company’s marketing director, Jennifer DeGraff, said in a press release. "While both brands are locally produced and focus on using high-quality ingredients to deliver superior tasting products that stand out above competition, they each have relevant and unique brand propositions to fulfill varying consumer demands.”
The new Coors distribution deal comes from a partnership between Coors Distribution Company, the CBD producer Colorado’s Best Drinks (or “CBD,” get it?), and DRAM Apothecary. Sparkling CBD’s current flavors include Black Cherry, Cola, Ginger Ale, Lemonade, and Root Beer.
Cashing in on CBD-infused drinks may make up for lost revenue due to alcohol’s slumping popularity in recent years, especially with younger adults. Last year, data showed that alcohol sales were on the decline at 0.8 percent fewer sales than the previous year, which saw 0.7 percent fewer sales than the year before. Beer — which is Coors’ specialty product — saw the biggest losses: a 1.5 percent dip in 2018 following a 1.1 percent dip in 2017, according to the Wall Street Journal. Lower sales is likely what has prompted the alcohol industry to become one of the biggest investors in legal weed.
And it probably hasn’t helped alcohol manufacturers that, in states with legal weed, alcohol sales suffer even more. Although researchers aren’t sure why that is, it’s likely happening because consumers have limited amounts of cash, and they can now choose between spending that cash on booze or on weed. Colorado, the first state to legalize regulated recreational marijuana sales, has not been immune to this phenomenon.
As pointed out by Westword, Colorado boasts not only a flourishing cannabis market, but it’s also got a strong homegrown microbrew culture, too. And anyone can see this sudsy subculture’s persistence by the fact that the Centennial State already has quite a few cannabis-infused drink offerings produced and distributed by beer companies. And unlike Sparkling CBD, these refreshments will get you, ahem, elevated.
Gallery — Edibles That Look Like Real Food Products:
According to federal guidelines, CBD is banned from food and drink products. Since CBD is usually derived from non-intoxicating hemp and not marijuana, it’s technically federally legal in Colorado, which legalized hemp along with recreational weed in 2012.
However, Colorado, like most weed-legal states, doesn’t allow any commercial product to contain both alcohol and THC. So, Blue Moon and Lagunita’s weed beers may pack marijuana’s magic molecule, but there’s no alcohol in them.
Last year, CBD sales in the US reached over $600 million. According to Nielsen, CBD sales should hit the $6 billion mark by 2025, although other market analysts predict CBD sales will surpass a whopping $24 billion by 2023.
Will we ever get a legal drink that combines THC with real, alcoholic booze? That depends on two things: First, the laws will need to change, and that could happen as cannabis becomes further normalized. Second, pot retail shoppers would need to shift the market from buds and dabs to weed-infused drinks, which is currently one of the worst performing sectors of the burgeoning cannabis industry.
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