Seven categories that are expanding the infused beverage market
If you’re new to cannabis-infused beverages, these exciting products can be classified as drinks that have been infused with phytocannabinoids such as CBD or THC. Now available in low-dose options, many professionally-made infused beverage items can be enjoyed straight out of the bottle or can.
While none of these drinkables contain alcohol, they mirror the current spread of the most beloved drink categories, providing a new wave of products that can enhance any occasion.
Currently, the average potency of these beverages typically falls between 1 - 25 milligrams CBD and/or between 1 - 10 milligrams THC per serving. Here's a look at seven categories that are expanding the infused beverage market.
Artisanal Infused Zero-Proof Spirits
Similar to traditional spirits, artisanal cannabis-infused zero-proof spirits are used to craft CBD or THC mocktails or cocktails by mixing the infused liquid with other ingredients. Most often served per ounce from a fanciful bottle, many of these options present similar characteristics to a variety of classic spirit flavors making them a great alternative for cocktail lovers who are trying to go alcohol-free.
Craft Infused Brews
For those who love beer, there’s a few non-alcoholic cannabis-infused brews that have entered the market. These beer-inspired drinks or “cannabiers” actually do taste like beer, which is good news if you prefer a hoppy taste profile but are looking for a boost of phytocannabinoids.
Infused Herbal Tea
Cannabis-infused herbal tea is suitable for just about every occasion. Each individual tea sachet is precisely dosed with CBD, THC, or a blend of the two, and are combined with other healing herbs and ingredients that can either boost energy or promote sleep. Some of the leading companies have developed water-soluble technology that seamlessly dissolves the cannabinoid formulation into hot water without leaving behind oil residue.
If you’re a coffee-lover, cannabis-infused cold brew might be your new favorite beverage. Combining energizing caffeine with a balanced dose of CBD, THC, or a mix of the two, this blend presents energizing side effects yet can also reduce the coffee jitters, creating a unique sensation that differs from other infused drinkable products.
Ready-to-Drink Zero-Proof Cocktails
With a greater movement towards consuming less alcohol, ready-to-drink zero-proof cannabis cocktails are becoming a trendy category, often exhibiting the same aromas and flavors as your favorite drinks, such as Moscow mules or margaritas. Beverages that fall into this category are incredibly easy to assemble. Just add ice and you’re good to go! If you’re a cocktail lover or simply someone who appreciates more complex flavors, these cannabis drinks are for you.
Sparkling Infused Water and Seltzers
As one of the most prominent types of infused drinks, sparkling infused water and seltzers combine spritzy carbonation with a hint of flavor. Some of the most common flavors include lavender, lemon, rosemary, grapefruit, and ginger (hello terpenes!), but there’s still room for innovation. For example, within this category, one of the leading brands, Lagunitas' Hi-Fi Hops, crafted their very own signature flavor, “hoppy sparkling water”, which is distinctly unique and consistent with Lagunitas' line of craft alcoholic beers, which have national recognition.
Zero-Proof Infused Wine
For the wine lovers, there’s an infused beverage for you too! As one of the newest categories, zero-proof cannabis-infused wine is making waves as nanoemulsion technology has greatly improved the quality and shelf life of these products. There’s also been advancements in the dealcoholization of wine, preserving some of the esters, terpenes, pyrazines, and thiols, which are responsible for wine’s unique and complex characteristics. Essentially, if the wine is dealcoholized correctly, it will present similar aromas and flavors as the original wine. Combine this with an emulsion of cannabinoids and poof! You have zero-proof cannabis-infused wine.
No matter what category you choose to explore, remember that moderation is key to any infused beverage experience. Keep in mind that consuming an infused drink is going to give you a much different high than eating an edible. Depending on your metabolism, body weight, and diet, onset times vary from person to person. While some people feel effects within 20 minutes after drinking an infused beverage, others might not feel anything for more than an hour. Start low, go slow.
If you live in California, please click here to see what infused beverage options are available near you and save $20 on your first delivery order.
Enjoy and drink responsibly!
About the Author:
Jamie Evans is the founder of The Herb Somm. She is an educator, host, and writer specializing in cannabis, food, recipes, wine, and the canna-culinary world. In addition to her work in the cannabis industry, Jamie has over a decade of wine industry experience and is a Certified Specialist of Wine. Having represented a wide array of organizations and wineries, she is best known for her literary work and producing high-end events. She was also named as one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers in 2018. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @TheHerbSomm.