Authored By: Joshua Schmidt
Walk into a bar on any given night in New York City, and there’s no telling who you might meet.
On this particular occasion, Wednesday’s conversation happened to involve the manager for a well-known liquor brand. When the flow of conversation shifted toward the topic of cannabis beverags, the tone and speed of the chat lit up like fireworks at a Fourth of July BBQ.
“A very large number of good people are leaving alcohol for the cannabis industry.” They said “and it’s happening fast”.
As someone who has patented a beverage closure, and met with some resistance, it was interesting to learn that many of the same people in alcohol, are flocking to cannabis. Cannabis it seems, is the next bastion of possibility and fortune; but for all of its rewards and employee stock options, potential for quick gains and notoriety however, the cannabis beverage field is highly regulated, and routes to market are somewhat limited. So with many moving from one to the other, will this help to shape and legitimize the regulatory landscape or simply carry with it, an air of uncertainty? Is this exodus a fad, or does it show that the cannabis beverage industry is it here to stay?
Ask a thousand people, and you’ll likely get a thousand different responses when it comes to the exact regulations and legalities around how cannabis beverages actually work, and what’s allowed. Add in the different laws for different states and jurisdictions, problematic retail rollout, the WHO delay in scheduling recommendations and you’ve got a market of immense potential, that’s still finding its feet. If you need further evidence of the above, take a look at the value of cannabis companies in 2018, compared to now.
So, with professionals leaving alcohol industry for cannabis, what happens to beverage innovation as we know it? By all reports, the beverage innovations will continue as it relates to labels, and possible flavor changes, but will cannabis drinks outpace the alcohol industry? Keeping in mind that in Canada alone, beer consumption is falling since cannabis has been legalized.
If this trend continues, is it a matter of when and not if, that the regulatory environment will come online and let the cannabis industry realise its true potential?
Given the distinct differences in the products themselves, is the well-trodden path of product development the same, or entirely different? If the cannabis industry continues to steal talent from the alcohol industry, does this mean that we are likely to see a commoditized product before long, or are we simply seeing a shift in consumer preference and acceptance?
In the race to the top, who will outpace who? Is this a sign of the next wave of the green rush, or are we about to see what’s really possible in the realm of food science, packaging and beverage innovations?
Put simply, has this Wednesday night conversation in midtown Manhattan raised the topic that green will outpace all that come before it?
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