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The inside scoop: Cannabis beverage in 2023

The inside scoop: Cannabis beverage in 2023

After leaving behind a difficult year for cannabis, we sat down with 4 leaders and innovators in the cannabis beverage space to talk about their biggest takeaways from 2022 and how those lessons are impacting 2023.

Here's what they had to say.

 

Matt Cherkas, Co-founder, Sheesh Hash Soda

 

2022 taught us that cannabis drinks can actually taste and feel like flower.

We know this because with Vertosa's help we achieved it. 2023 has us busy finding more delicious, strain-specific pairings.

We are so excited to launch and shake up the infused drinks category. Our Black Cherry Hash Cola sets a new benchmark for flavor and full body effect. This wouldn't have been possible without passionate, capable partners like Vertosa. I can't wait for our customers to taste and feel the difference when craft cannabis is incorporated into a drink with care and precision. We are really proud to be pioneering the next wave of solventless cannabis beverages.

 

Becky Griffin, Chief Innovation Officer, Molecule

 

Our biggest learning from 2022: know who you are and embrace it! 

We know we can’t compete with the big guys who have big pockets when it comes to swag and giveaways, but what we can compete on are our offerings when it comes to providing delicious products under brands that offer promises to their consumers. We are a little company that was built off the bootstraps of a small group of individuals who wanted to offer delicious cannabis craft beverages to the Canadian market and we will embrace that in 2023. By having closer communication with the retailers and consumers, we can ensure that they understand that we are building the category by creating brands that resonate with all consumers. All Molecule beverages are produced by passionate rural Canadians in small batches to ensure the details of quality and consistency are never compromised.

We raise a can to all the other beverage brands in the space who are offering what we believe is the future of cannabis consumption. 

 
There is so much to look forward to in 2023.

The cannabis beverage sector has seen continuous growth year after year. Changes to the dried equivalency for beverages is sure to positively impact consumer purchasing. 

Having dried equivalency that more closely reflects the cannabis inputs allows the consumers more convenience — through add-on purchasing or purchasing more in one trip. Hopefully in 2023, we will continue to see regulatory changes that allow for more diverse offerings in case formats that consumers are used to seeing in other beverage markets.

We have seen a lot of people work really hard to break down the stigma of cannabis - both in the industry and through sharing personal experience. This break of the stigma is promoting education instead of fear. It’s so great that there is an increase in people walking into stores and receiving knowledgeable information from budtenders on different products. It is hopeful this trend will continue into 2023 and consumers will lean onto the knowledge of budtenders to help make informed decisions.

 
Molecule Brands

For our Molecule Brands, we have so many achievements that we are looking forward to in 2023. As a company that prides itself on finding white space and having product offerings that resonate with different demographics, we are confident that consumers will appreciate the opportunity to choose from a variety of flavors and potencies.

We are excited that legacy brands like our PHRESH and PHRESH STRAINS are still able to offer consumers the maximum allowable THC at one of the most affordable prices on the Canadian market.

Our health and wellness brand ‘embody’ which focuses on trendy, quality ingredients and high CBD (40mg/serving) is continuing to grow in 2023.This shows consumers are expecting more than just THC in their beverages and are looking for additional benefits.

Our mocktail line ‘KLON’ will have new products available with its brand promise of balanced mid-range potency to ensure that those looking for an alternative to alcohol in the cannabis space, have something that hits the mark for social drinking without the morning after effects.

On top of having so many brands that offer promise and delicious tasting beverages, we are excited to announce the launch of our ‘Dulces’ brand which already has 4 products that are set to be released in 2023. Dulces will offer consumers a balanced 10mg THC:10mg CBD beverage line that replicates the flavours of our favourite Canadian sweet treats. By offering lines that have a very distinct and clear flavour profile, budtenders will be equipped with the ability to describe the flavour easily, and focus on the conversation around effects and potency. 

One final point of what we look forward to in 2023, is getting our craft offerings to as many Canadians as possible, and working hard to distribute in all of our provinces and territories.

 

Kenny Morrison, Founder, VCC and CQ

 

This lacks nuance, but what we learned in 2022 is this: high dose drinks compete with edibles. Low dose drinks compete with alcohol. Smokers like to smoke, and old habits die hard.

The outlook? Without federal legalization, it’s a long, tough road to ubiquity for canna bev. Don't fool yourself, you better be built for the long haul here; there's a million better ways to make a fast buck. There's numerous factors to the discussion, but there is an argument to be made that it’s not the right time to try to be the biggest brand.

With the successful launch of our 5mg spritzers and sodas in MA and our 100mg shots in IL, we have created a brand that speaks to consumers in every dosage category. (Disclaimer: The sodas/spritzers will be 10mg in CA not 5mg.) Not all 100mg brands are built to navigate this leap across dosage.

 

Paul Weaver, Head of Cannabis, Boston Beer Co.

 

Our biggest takeaway from 2022: Taste is king.

There will always be debate over potency, branding, cannabinoids, extraction method… but at the end of the day a great tasting liquid is the best way to earn drinker loyalty. We think our newest beverage, TeaPot, is the best tasting drink in the industry, so now it’s time to preach the good word.

I can’t wait for our drinkers to try TeaPot Mango Green Tea!  The team at Taima/Vertosa gave us a wonderful base to work with and it should start hitting Canadian dispensaries in March. We have a lot of shenanigans planned this year of course, but Mango Green Tea is gonna turn some heads.

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Do you have big ideas for 2023?

Let Vertosa help you achieve your biggest infusion goals this year! Whether you're developing your first SKU or planning to expand to new markets, our white glove service makes it easy to navigate the manufacturing process in any legal market.

Book a meeting with one of our knowledgable infusion experts to learn more. 

 

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