If you asked me to guess one U.S. industry that was disruption-proof, even just a year or two ago, I would have said beer. After all, reaching for a cold can of lager from an icy cookout cooler is about as American as it gets in July, and come November, a stout or hoppy IPA warms you from within as the temperatures drop. But beer’s grip on American drinking habits, and American grips on bottles and cans of the stuff, are under fire.
As more and more states legalize recreational marijuana, cannabis-infused beer-like beverages like these ones could give breweries a run for their money when it comes to taking the edge off.
Companies like La Croix have expertly ridden the wave of consumer demand for zero-calorie, zero artificial-sweetener beverages in recent years to the tune of an estimated $4.5 Billion in sales in 2018 alone, and grocery stores from coast to coast are full of nearly as many cans of sparkling water as soda.
So it makes perfect sense that some budding entrepreneurs might want to take a crack at infusing the in-demand product with a little cannabis. Enter Hi-Fi Hops, a partnership between Lagunitas Brewery and cannabis vape-cartridge manufacturers CannaCraft. The two companies have shared their areas of expertise, collaborating to create a line of zero-calorie, zero-carbohydrate, and zero-alcohol sparkling beverage that still manages to pack a punch. That’s because each can contains either 5 mg of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and 5 mg of cannabidiol (CBD) or just straight up 10 mg of THC.
The waters, which have an otherworldly green hue to them, retail for $8 and are shelf stable for up to eight months. It takes about 15 minutes for drinkers to feel the effects, which last for roughly 3 hours.
How does a tall glass of refreshing iced mango black tea sound on a hot summer day? How about a glass of mango tea spiked with 2.5 mg of emulsified THC? California and Nevada-based Cannabiniers has an entire line of cannabis-infused iced teas (with coffees under development as well) called Just Society that combine the mellow high of marijuana with a jolt of caffeine.
If 2.5 mg sounds like a puny dose compared to the 10 mg in Hi-Fi Hops, consider this: Just Society uses a specialized “nano-particulate, water-soluble” form of THC that allows for rapid absorption in as little as five minutes.
“That’s why we are micro-serving,” says Director of Product Development Kevin Love. “When you were younger, and you had your first beer, you understood what it did. After you try the product, you can understand how many it takes to get to where you want to be.”
A line of cannabis-infused beer from the company is already available for sale in California under the banner Two Roots, with 12 future states expected to feature the cans shortly.
California’s very first THC-spiked soda, Sprig, has doubled the size of its flavor portfolio this year, adding a Melon Soda and Lemon Tea variety. And the company has also diversified along THC and CBD lines, adding versions containing just one or the other. They’re hardly alone. Brands like Canna Cola, Keef Cola and California Dreamin’ are flooding the market with weed-enhanced flavors like Pomegranate, Orange Kush and Grape Ape.
Economists predict that recreational marijuana sales will eclipse soda purchases in the U.S. by 2030. Soda purchases may be falling year over year, but they still generate more than $70 Billion a year in sales. Perhaps a marriage of the two industries is precisely what is needed to breathe some new life back into soda.
With such a broad range of companies producing different products, the THC and CBD content in each bottle can vary pretty widely. Stick to the suggested serving size to stay out of trouble.
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Want some uppers with your downers? Wake and brew is the new wake and bake in states that have legalized recreational marijuana. That’s right, cannabis-infused coffee is big business in The Golden State these days. Companies like Hippie Brew and Gandja Grindz are whipping up morning blends of beans and marijuana that you can brew at home in your existing coffee machine. Heck, Stillwater even makes a single-serve, instant option.
Like most of the options on our list, most servings of THC and CBD-infused coffees contain between 5 and 10 mg of active distillate. But a quick search online turns up bags of beans with 100 mg of THC per serving, which frankly sounds like a bit too much of a good thing. What it feels like to head into your day while balancing a caffeine and marijuana high? That, you’ll have to tell us.