Introducing Cannabis Beverages Into the On- and Off-Premise Space

cannabis beverages

As the DEA continues to work to move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the stigma surrounding the substance is slowly but surely subsiding. And the more it subsides, the more cannabis will be accepted in communities across the U.S. 

Companies like Pamos Cannabis Cocktails & Spirits are working hard to keep diminishing the stigma. Part of what Pamos does is introduce cannabis to consumers in a familiar form: cocktails. In states where it’s legal, liquor stores are beginning to add cannabis and hemp-infused beverages to their shelves, offering an accessible entry point for consumers to explore the benefits. 

“The hemp-derived THC beverage market is booming due to increased accessibility and consumer demand,” says Pamos CEO and founder David Mukpo. “Over the last six months, we have seen significant players in liquor distribution and retail include THC beverage additions to their portfolios, fueled by the early entrants’ rapidly increasing consumer adoption at retail. In the last three years since Pamos was founded, we’ve never seen more momentum and excitement in the category than we do right now.”

Merging Cannabis with Cocktail Culture

Pamos offers THC-infused cocktails and spirits and is currently one of the only brands available in retail, events, hotels, bars and restaurants. Mukpo cites that THC beverages will continue to integrate into and enhance the alcohol and spirits landscape in the future. 

Pamos CEO and founder David Mukpo.

“We believe Pamos belongs anywhere and everywhere alcohol is currently available for purchase and are seeing doors open that validate this belief in both the on and off-premise channels,” he says. “From everything we are seeing and who is entering the space, the next year will drastically change the perception and availability of THC beverages.”

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The goal is not to completely replace alcohol. Instead, Mukpo explains that this movement is more about a growing consumer interest in alcohol alternatives. From younger drinking-age generations already consuming less alcohol than previous generations to older generations incorporating alcohol alternatives into their lifestyle, THC beverages can work for anyone looking for something different. 

A recent study by NCSolutions found that one-in-three Americans were trying to drink less in 2023. The results indicate that THC beverages are emerging as a significant player in reshaping the relationship that consumers have with alcohol. More specifically, 69% of respondents have reduced their alcohol intake since trying THC drinks.

The more that consumers become interested in alcohol alternatives, the more that cannabis beverages will continue making their way onto retail and bar shelves.

Moving Cannabis Beverages Into Venues

More recently, Pamos has been trying to tap into the entertainment venue space. This way, consumers can still have options while enjoying an event. 

“We are working with entertainment venues to openly serve cannabis beverages with clear messaging so people can enjoy responsibly in the same way they do alcohol,” notes Mukpo. “We are already seeing adoption of these products with partners in entertainment venues who know their customers are consuming cannabis and are excited for an opportunity to monetize and provide a safe and consistent way for them to consume.”

An example of this can be seen from the recent Kelce Jam music festival. The event featured a variety of sponsors, one of them being Illicit Gardens, which is a cannabis brand. While showcasing themselves at a booth during the festival, they were able to entertain attendees while also educating them around marijuana. 

By allowing cannabis beverages at entertainment venues, it can “transform the experience by normalizing a consumption method that is already extremely prevalent,” according to Mukpo. 

“In a country as divided as ever, over 75% of consumers want access to cannabis. Seeing it at venues allows people to experience a product they already have a demand for in a safe and familiar way without the unnecessary stigma of consuming discreetly,” he continues. “Consumer demand is calling for alternatives to alcohol and cannabis beverages can meet that demand where the consumer already is.”

Krystina Skibo is the Trade Managing Editor at Beverage Dynamics. Reach her at kskibo@epgacceleration.com. Read her recent pieces RTD Trends in 2024 and Brandy and Cognac: Welcoming a New Generation.

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