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How CBD Is Infusing Its Way Into The Beverage Industry.

In recent years the global cannabidiol (CBD) beverages market size has exploded with the increased interest by companies and consumers. According to data, it’s believed that by 2026 the market size will reach $643.9 million. This is a significant increase from 2020, when the market size was $37 million. These figures translate to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 61.1% between 2021 and 2026, which is impressive considering the regulatory hurdles CBD beverage companies might be facing in the coming years. 

Many believe that 2022 will be the year that the monopoly traditional alcohol has over social drinking is challenged. This is unsurprising considering that Canada, Uruguay, and many states in the US have ended their prohibition on cannabis because of the many medical benefits this plant has been proven to possess. 

In addition to this, it’s apparent that the tide of public opinion surrounding CBD beverages has turned towards the positive, with the stigma surrounding cannabis almost completely disappearing in many US states. It is now deemed as normal to drink a CBD or THC drink as it is to have a glass of wine or a beer. 

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This is primarily because CBD drinks do not get a person’ high.’ Unlike the Cannabis Sativa L plant it is derived from, CBD beverages are induced utilizing CBD isolate. CBD beverages lack tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive compound, and other cannabinoids that create a euphoric effect. Yet, even though CBD beverages cannot get a person high, they are used to help people with medical issues and as a dietary supplement. They are also used as a relaxant alongside many other applications. 

As the market has grown, market competition has become more intense in the CBD beverage industry. For example, companies like American Premium Water, Canopy Growth Corporation, and Heineken are just a few of the big players who are competing leaders in the industry. Several smaller competing companies are also producing CBD beverages. These companies include Recess with their sparkling water CBD infusion drinks, Vybes with their CBD infused teas, Zolt with their powdered CDB mix, and Miraflora with their CBD sports drink. 

However, many people forget how young the CBD beverages space is and often don’t realize this industry’s intense scrutiny. Even though the CBD beverage industry is expected to grow, many companies are holding back from entering the market until its federal status is determined in the US. 

For example, major player PepsiCo has been noted as actively seeking a way into the CBD beverage market through an existing IP or a new in-house developed brand. Yet, even though PepsiCo has the resources to leap into the CBD beverages category, they won’t do so until the FDA has green-lit the market and provided some insight into legalities surrounding CBD-infused beverages. The same can be said for numerous other major beverage brands. 

Other companies are tired of waiting for the FDA’s official stance on the CBD beverages markets and have decided to jump into the CBD beverage category. For example, major alcoholic beverage suppliers like Breakthru Beverage and Southern Glazer’s have entered the CBD beverage industry. Their decision has likely been driven by the positive retail sales statistics of 2021, stating that the overall US CBD market managed to generate $4.7 billion in retail sales. Of this $4.7 billion in CBD sales, it is believed $245 million can be attributed to drinkable CBD products, which have proven to be the fastest-growing product type in the CBD niche. 

Additionally, the retail landscape has been significantly altered since these powerhouse national spirits distributors have entered the CBD beverage market. Major alcohol conglomerates Molson Coors and Constellation brands have also made commitments in the CBD industry via their relationship with Hexo and Canopy. 

These companies have proven that wholesalers can build a diverse CBD beverage portfolio. With this development, many risk-averse beer houses are reevaluating their stance on CBD-infused beers, creating opportunities for brands to find partners. Ultimately, this encourages more players to enter the game and develop their own CBD portfolios. 

It’s evident that the CBD beverage industry will continue growing and expanding. Yet how much it grows is going to largely depend on the FDA. As with any new market, there will be significant achievements and challenges as brands continue to compete for market share in the CBD beverage category while navigating the current and future regulatory, manufacturing, and supply chain issues.

WORDS: Jason Collins.

IMAGE CREDIT: Elsa Oloffson.

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