There was a time when cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, was relatively unknown. However, CBD has suddenly gained enormous attention throughout the world due to its supportive qualities and acceptance from governments across the globe.
This fact is especially important in the CBD beverage niche, and it has profound and lucrative implications for bar culture throughout the United States. Read along to understand the recent history of CBD, the legalities of CBD, and what the future holds for CBD-infused cocktails.
The past wasn’t favorable to anything cannabis-related. It was in 1937 that all forms of cannabis, including hemp, were declared prohibited under the Marihuana Tax Act.
Prior to this law, all cannabis derivatives were slowly but steadily being criminalized. Regardless of THC content, lawmakers decided that all species within Cannabaceae were no longer beneficial, and instead, they were harmful to the general public.
It wasn’t until the early 90s that cannabis came back into fashion, however, under a medical banner. Finally, 2012 was a landmark moment in which cannabis was recreationally legal in Washington and Colorado.
Since then, over 30 states have legalized cannabis in one form or another - whether medically or recreationally.
However, one of the most substantial moments in cannabis history occurred with the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill. Although THC-rich cannabis crops are still viewed by the federal government as illegal - the Farm Bill officially reclassified hemp as an industrial crop.
This meant that hemp, along with its derivatives, is legal to produce, transport, sell and consume as long as the THC content remains below 0.3%.
Currently, CBD is not approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). However, that doesn’t mean CBD-based products are not allowed to be produced, sold, or consumed. It means that manufacturers and retailers are not allowed to make substantial medical claims, but rather, advertise it as a supplement or as an additive.
The sudden popularity of cannabidiol has given rise to a plethora of CBD-infused products that can be found from specialty stores to local grocery chains.
What Does All This Mean For The Beverage Industry?
There’s a reason why we’ve singled out the cannabis and CBD beverage niche, and it’s because it’s poised for explosive growth, according to market analysts.
According to Market Watch, the CBD beverage sector was worth $2 million in 2018. However, the rising trend of infused CBD drinks is primed to push the CBD-infused beverage industry past the $11 million mark by 2025.
This means that the nascent CBD beverage industry is only beginning to show what it’s currently capable of.
Furthermore, for those bar owners and operators in recreationally legal states - the increasing demand for cannabis-infused beverages is skyrocketing. According to Grand View Research, the overall global cannabis beverage market is on track to be worth $2.8 billion by 2025. This is significantly higher than where it was in 2018, which hovered near $900 million.
So, does this mean it’s time to fine-tune your current drink list to include cannabis-infused cocktails or CBD beers? The answer lies within the laws of your current state and what the cannabis industry deems as the “grey zone.”
Although everyone seems to be doing it - it’s at your own discretion. Even if your CBD cocktails don’t contain over 0.3% THC, the department of health of your jurisdiction may have the final word.
As a beverage director or bar owner, it’s essential that you clearly understand the laws regarding CBD, THC, and alcoholic beverages in your specific region. Each state operates by different laws, which is why it’s imperative that you consult with local guidelines before dropping CBD into a customers’ Moscow Mule.
The Future of CBD and Cannabis Cocktails
However, the green light on cannabis-infused cocktails and CBD cocktails by the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill has only increased the sale of bar supplies and barware as many bar owners are preparing for a new phase of drinking.
This new stage of cannabis use is seen through the nation’s first cannabis cafe, which opened in West Hollywood in 2019. The Lowell Cafe made history by being the first public institution that allows the consumption of cannabis-based food and drink.
It was from this moment on that a new precedent was met, which is the fact that cocktail enthusiasts and foodies can publicly enjoy a cannabis-cocktail - or two.
Now, many bars and restaurants are eagerly hoping to allow cannabis-infused beverages - not just CBD cocktails. However, until cannabis bars and cannabis cafes become commonplace, patrons will only have access to CBD-infused alcohol.
The Effects of Mixing CBD and Alcohol
Unless you’ve scored a coveted license to allow the sale and consumption of THC-rich cannabis cocktails at your bar - you’ll have to settle for CBD. However, it appears that most consumers prefer CBD as an additive to their cocktail because of the relaxing effects brought on by cannabidiol.
Many cocktail enthusiasts and casual drinkers are becoming highly interested in CBD cocktails because research shows that CBD actually reduces alcohol-related brain and liver damage. Furthermore, CBD-infused cocktails may offer those who drink too much a helping hand by reducing their dependence on alcohol.
These surprising and beneficial results show that CBD does compliment alcohol in more ways than acting as a relaxing additive to your latest iteration of a Vodka Martini.
Your New Cocktail Ingredient
If you’re ready to lead the charge of CBD cocktails and CBD beer, then there’s no better time than now. As long as you’ve checked with local regulators, cocktail and beer enthusiasts nationwide are ready and willing to try a CBD infusion.
In general, 3-5mg (a few drops) of organic CBD oil is enough to produce a relaxing experience while consuming an Old Fashioned. Luckily for you, you won’t need to invest in new barware or bar supplies since the CBD oil can be placed during the mixing process.
CBD-infused cocktails allow your bartenders to get creative in creating a new version of the Stoney Negroni or a Rolled Fashion, and you’ll find that patrons are chomping at the bit to experience the effects that CBD has to offer.
by THC Confidential