Thursday, February 21, 2019

Cannabis and wine: People combine them, but restaurants and shops cannot

This looks like wine, but it isn't
Cannabis has been legal in Colorado for five years now, which means finally there is some legitimate market data. Here are some highlights from a seminar at last month's Unified Wine & Grape Symposium:

* More than 50% of American adults aged 21+ have tried cannabis at some time

* 32% of adults 21+ in fully legal states have used cannabis in the last six months

* 25% of adults 21+ in the 33 states where cannabis is legal for medical OR recreational use have used it in the last six months.

* In states where cannabis is legal, flower (the buds you smoke) quickly loses market share to edibles and concentrates. In Colorado, flower accounted for 69% of sales in 2014, but just 43% of sales in 2018.

* Branded products are taking over. In Colorado, branded products are up to 44% of sales, which is even more impressive when you consider flower is not branded in the state. 96% of edibles in Colorado are branded. Willie Nelson, Bob Marley and Snoop Dogg have cannabis brands; so does Goop. No wonder Constellation, wine brand-sellers extraordinaire, is investing in cannabis.

Willie Nelson was busted 3 times for possession. Now he can toke his own!
* 68% of cannabis consumers also drink alcohol. Only 15% "often" pair cannabis with alcohol, but 50% "sometimes" do

* Wine is the most popular alcoholic beverage to drink with cannabis. The typical wine and cannabis consumer has an average age of 40; there are more females than males. They see cannabis as a social use product. They do not use cannabis in the daytime, and may drink fewer glasses of wine per evening when enjoying some weed

* As with alcohol, there is no one type of cannabis consumer. The average cannabis consumer is 42 years old and there are more males than females overall, but there are plenty of female consumers although most products' marketing seems targeted at not just men, but young men

* 30% of cannabis consumers say that they have decreased their alcohol consumption

Liz Stahura of Colorado-based BDS Analytics was the source of most of this marketing data.

Her fellow panelist Cynthia Salarizadeh of KCSA Strategic Communications made an interesting prediction. She thinks marijuana will be fully legalized in the United States, as it now is in Canada, by the end of 2020. The reason? Most Americans support legalization (80% in the US and Canada combined, apparently) and she thinks President Trump will use legalization as a campaign issue.

Salarizadeh is hawking a cannabis-infused drink that looks like rosé wine. She couldn't call it "rosé" for legal reasons, so despite the old photo (above) it's now called "pink" or "sparkling pink." She has a lot of marketing data on her side, including that women are dissatisfied with much of current cannabis packaging. She believes cannabis-infused beverages are going to take off because in the last year, somebody developed a tasteless, odorless solution that can hide in a drink.

"Every one of the beverages before tasted like bong water," Salarizadeh said. "They were trying to cover it up with some formulation that tastes like cough syrup. It was terrible."

Her beverage's packaging (it's called Saka) is beautiful. But we didn't taste it for a very good reason -- the reason wine doesn't need to look over its shoulder at cannabis just yet.

In California, wine and cannabis cannot be produced OR sold from the same licensed premises. This means you can't get a cocktail at a dab lounge. Nor can you taste cannabis beverages at a wine conference.

More significantly, a restaurant that serves alcohol cannot serve a cannabis beverage as an alternative. If a restaurant wanted to start serving THC-laden "pink," they would have to give up on serving alcohol. This law is going to keep cannabis beverages sequestered in cannabis shops for a long time. That and the bongwater taste are reasons that beverages still account for less than 1% of the cannabis market. (Me, I'm a flower guy, though I also have a vape and am not afraid to use it.)

One last bit of advice from Salarizadeh to potential cannabis entrepreneurs: "If you jump into this, lawyer up."

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1 comment:

jo6pac said...

Is there a place selling Saka?

As soon as I'm done with the dishes I'm going to have a hit of my own home grown and a glass or two of wine.