Water-soluble cannabinoid products have improved dramatically in recent years, stimulating growth in the cannabis drinks industry. THC/CBD beverages are on the upswing, thanks to leaps forward in this area of production technology.
What’s next? As cannabis drinks gradually gain wider consumer acceptance — and broader distribution at beverage alcohol retailers, rather than just dispensaries — what’s the next leap forward for this category?
For answers, we recently spoke with Mike Tabor, Business Development Manager at Trait Biosciences, a cannabis industry veteran with expertise in soluble CBD and CBD product development.
Beverage Dynamics: What’s the state of the cannabis beverage market?
Mike Tabor: The market for these infused beverages has grown significantly. It’s a multibillion market now.
BD: What’s next for the cannabis beverage market?
MT: We’re on the verge at Trait of a very big advancement. The biggest issue with cannabis beverages from a consumer perspective is that a lot of these beverages tend to be cloudy. That’s why their packaging tends to be opaque.
When you’re looking to purchase a product, the visual appeal goes a long way. At Trait, we’re making a truly soluble product that’s crystal clear.
We’re making a totally different product than what’s currently out there. We’re making a fermented and distilled extract. It’s a more standardized product, too. What we’re producing has consistency from batch to batch.
We’re bringing it to market right now. We’re in the final stages of production. We’re starting with CBD, because that’s more for the mainstream market. But both our THC and CBD products will be completely soluble. We will open up a lot more packaging flexibility than what people currently have.
The CBD is the proof of concept for us. That’s the easiest way to commercialize our product and go to market.
BD: Who’s drinking cannabis beverages?
MT: There’s a younger audience looking for alcohol alternatives. Traditionally, cannabis is a smoked product. But smoking is not as socially acceptable nowadays. Beverages are a great form factor: Everybody drinks beverages all day. The mainstream applications are huge. And creating an alcohol alternative is huge. We’re seeing a lot of mocktails now containing cannabis beverages.
BD: I also see that your company supplies products for making cannabis cosmetics.
MT: A lot of the same things apply there in terms of consumer perception: cloudiness vs. clear. With products like facial mists and skin products, it’s all about the form factor. Normal products are clear liquids in clear bottles. But the cannabis version has been murky and milky. That’s a deterrent for people.
BD: When will we see federal legalization?
MT: If you asked me ten years ago, I wouldn’t even think we’d get to where we are today. The industry has gained so much momentum. The public perspective is in favor of federal legalization. Now we need more in our government to be in favor.
This interview was edited and condensed for publication.
Kyle Swartz is editor of Beverage Dynamics and Cannabis Regulator. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his recent piece, Interview: Nowadays, A Cannabis Beverage Shipping to Consumers.