As the holiday season draws to a close, many adults who have delved a little too deeply into the holiday festivities decide that a break from alcohol might be a good way to start the new year. Over the past decade, the phenomenon has manifested into Dry January, which challenges participants to abstain from alcoholic beverages during the first month of the year. And as Dry January becomes more popular, cannabis beverages are increasingly providing a buzz without booze for many consumers.
The movement to avoid drinking alcohol during the month of January has steadily grown in popularity since its inception. When Dry January was launched by Alcohol Change UK in 2013, about 4,000 people participated, according to information from the group, and by 2021 the number had climbed to 130,000. Last year, a survey from food and beverage research firm CGA found that 35% of adults of drinking age in the United States avoided alcohol for the whole month in January 2022, up from only 21% the year before.
Cannabis Beverages For A Buzz Without Booze
The past year saw several new iterations of cannabis-infused drinks that can put the buzz back into a January without alcohol. In June, Keith Villa, the brewmaster who created the popular Belgian-style wheat ale Blue Moon, announced the launch of a new look for the line of alcohol-free craft beers infused with cannabis from Ceria Brewing Company, the beverage firm he founded with his wife Jodi Villa. In October, Jones Soda Company upped the ante on its line of weed drinks, rolling out new super-sized 16-ounce cans of THC versions of its popular soft drinks under its Mary Jones brand. And earlier this month, California-based Cann released its holiday ad campaign that featured a family whose holiday festivities go awry with the influence of traditional holiday alcoholic beverages.
Jason Vegotsky, the CEO of cannabis branding specialist Petalfast, expects sales of marijuana-infused beverages to spike in January as many consumers take a month off from drinking alcohol. He notes that the variety of weed drinks available in legal markets makes it easy to enjoy them for a particular desired effect.
“For those who have not tried cannabis-infused beverages, microdosing is a good place to start. microdosing allows consumers to integrate THC into their lifestyle in a way that doesn’t feel overwhelming,” he writes in an email. “By slowly introducing low levels of THC, consumers can find their optimal dosage. Cann’s social tonics containing 2mg THC + 4mg CBD give consumers a controlled high without the side effects of alcohol. Artet’s 750 ml infused aperitifs contain 37.5mg of THC and include a stainless-steel shot glass that allows consumers to easily pour a 2.5mg THC shot that can be added to a cocktail. For those seeking a more intense high, Thunder and Lightning offers a 100mg THC cannabis-infused energy drink.”
Alcohol Companies Getting Into Weed Drinks
Even companies that make the lion’s share of annual revenue from alcoholic beverages are getting into the cannabis beverage game, giving them an opportunity to participate in the Dry January phenomenon with consumers who have switched to weed drinks for the month. After voters in its home state legalized recreational marijuana in 2016, California-based Lagunitas (now part of Heineken International) partnered with a licensed cannabis company to produce its Hi-Fi Hops weed-infused seltzers.
The Boston Beer Company, which has long offered alternatives to traditional brews such as Twisted Tea and more recently Truly hard seltzer, has also entered the weed drink market with its TeaPot line of infused teas. Paul Weaver, director and head of cannabis at The Boston Beer Company, says that “Dry January doesn’t have to mean abstaining entirely.”
“Our new line of THC-infused iced teas, TeaPot, is the perfect alternative for your next social gathering.” Weaver writes in an email. “TeaPot contains just 5mg of THC and no alcohol, so you can stay in better control of your cannabis experience.”
Mix Your Own Cannabis Cocktail
Beside the many ready-to-drink cannabis beverages available, those looking for a cannabis drink to enjoy during Dry January also have options to create their own pot-infused libations. In December, Jones Soda Co. announced that popular infused soda flavors such as Root Beer, Berry Lemonade, Green Apple and Orange & Cream were available as Mary Jones Cannabis Infused Syrups, giving consumers new choices for cannabis mixology. Massachusetts-based Levia offers water-soluble cannabis tinctures at licensed dispensaries in Massachusetts, Arizona and Nevada, offering another way to mix THC-infused cocktails at home.
“LEVIA is a great option for someone who prefers the effects of cannabis over alcohol. LEVIA’s seltzers, available in a variety of fun and tasty flavors, have zero calories, zero sugar and a low dose of THC that kicks in fast, providing all the buzz without the hangover,” Levia co-founder Troy Brosnan writes in an email. “While seltzers are popular, they’re not for everyone. LEVIA’s water-soluble tinctures can be mixed into the consumer’s beverage of choice, and they have the added benefit of controlled dosing.”
If a Dry January is on tap for 2023, cannabis beverages can fill the void when a nice buzz is just what’s needed to face the new year. (Full Story)