THC-Infused Beverages Struggle to Find Footing in 2020

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Cannabis beverages are no doubt among the most buzzed about emerging categories of recent years. But although THC-infused drinks had a market value of $313 million in 2020, they accounted for only a drop in the bucket of the overall $19 billion cannabis market. According to Bethany Gomez, managing director of cannabis market research firm Brightfield Group, beverages still have a long way to go and face numerous logistical challenges to overcome -- from merchandising in dispensaries to reaching new consumers -- as brands seek to breakout within a highly regulated environment.

“The sector remains really quite small,” Gomez said. “It’s still a miniscule percentage of the overall market. It did see a significant amount of growth in 2020 … but it’s really paled in comparison to the expectations. Big alcohol companies were really expected that J-curved growth and for drinks to really take over as a dominant force in the industry. But we just haven’t seen that yet.”

In this video interview, Gomez reflects on the state of THC-infused beverages going into a new year, including new data on consumer demographic, use occasion and dayparts, the issues within the retail landscape that are slowing growth and the impact a new Congress and President may have on the U.S. market moving forward.