Cannabis consumables are all the rage, and there are innovative new ways being developed every month it seems. The latest? Drinkable edibles are one of the hottest trends in the cannabis industry, and they make a lot of sense. Bars have made social drinking a tradition going back hundreds, if not thousands of years. What are we talking about when we say “drinkable edibles?” Are these just milkshakes with cannabis blended in? What about alcohol and cannabis? Here’s a peek into what’s trending with drinkables.
First of all, it’s important to understand that cannabis has now become an ingredient. Yeah, you can get flowers, you can get concentrates, but for cooking and drinking, cannabis is another flavor profile that happens to have psychoactive (THC) or body-lifting (CBD) effects. As a “color” in the palette of mixologists and cooks, it’s a pretty cool ingredient that is finally getting proper attention. Part of that attention also includes the bigger makers of alcoholic drinks, as their industry is feeling a little threatened by the legal weed market. While the Verge may say “nobody likes” cannabis-infused beverages due to their paltry market share (the article says they make up 2-3% of the market), it could be that the products just aren’t readily available or have entered late into a crowded marketplace. Seltzer didn’t exactly set the world on fire, but this year alcoholic seltzer blew up big time. Drinkables likely have a chance to take more market share in the future as well.
This article in Forbes points out that we’re still in the very early years of cannabis legalization. Markets are still finding their ground, and producers are still figuring out what people like. To think drinkables will fail outright defies logic. One of the drinks mentioned in the article is supposed to be a cocktail mixer that includes CBD. Aurora Elixirs are like craft soda, with largely esoteric flavors that include other herbs and flowers. They’re definitely at home in a craft cocktail, but could be enjoyed as a beverage on their own. Another, Müru Syrup, is a sweetener that happens to have CBD and THC, depending on which variant you get. There’s an all-THC, an all-CBD, and 50/50 THC/CBD version of the syrup, and it comes in lemon and blackberry flavors. One company, VCC, has gone from edibles to drinkables in short time and offers tea, no-sugar-added fruit drinks, as well as cookies and other products.
Since cannabis is often treated as an herb, it’s logical to see tea-inspired and herbal-inspired flavors in the drinkable market. Berry flavors make sense, too, and can help mask any strong cannabis flavors. If you’re wondering about tinctures, those are different. While “drinkable” you’re not quaffing them in quantity. Aside from mixers and sweeteners, we’re seeing lemonades, sodas, coffee, tea and more, all intended to be consumed like a regular beverage but with added cannabis. Since this is a young market, we’re not yet seeing different strains promoted in the drinks, just “THC” — which presumably means a distilled version infused into the drink. There’s little doubt that in time we’ll see even more beverages, with more specifics, and more detail.