It was only a matter of time. Coors is finally in the weed business.
Well, kind of.
Colorado-based Coors Distributing Company, an arm of what today is the brewing behemoth Molson Coors Brewing Company, announced on September 18 that it would soon start distributing CBD-infused drinks: Sparkling CBD, a line of hemp-derived CBD sodas and sparkling beverages from the Rocky Mountain Soda Company. Distribution will only be in metro Denver at the moment, but won't be limited to liquor stores.
"We see a big demand for high-quality and unique products in the non-alcoholic space," CDC marketing director Jennifer DeGraff says in a statement announcing the deal. "While both brands are locally produced and focus on using high-quality ingredients to deliver superior tasting products that stand out above competition, they each have relevant and unique brand propositions to fulfill varying consumer demands.”
With young people consuming less alcohol as compared to older generations, drink makers and liquor companies are scrambling for hip alternatives. Although non-intoxicating, CBD continues to grab more and more shelf space at liquor stores, with bitters and cocktail mixers now infused with the cannabinoid. In August, Left Hand Brewing launched a CBD-infused seltzer.
However, CBD is still banned for commercial consumption by the Food and Drug Administration, so any distribution out of the state is technically illegal — but thanks to Colorado's legalization of hemp-infused foods and recreational cannabis, companies like Coors can use the state as a testing ground while they await looser federal regulations.
Coors isn't the only big brewing name to just announce that it's joining Colorado's cannabis drink sector. Lagunitas Brewing Company's cannabis-infused line of non-alcoholic IPA-inspired beverages, Hi-Fi Hops, hit shelves in Colorado on September 18 — but these won't be available at liquor stores.
Unlike Coors, the Lagunitas drink uses intoxicating marijuana for infusions, producing drinks with 10 milligrams of THC as well as a line of beverages with 5 milligrams of both THC and CBD. Because of this, they can only be sold at marijuana dispensaries. Just the THC version is currently available in Colorado, according to the company, but the CBD drink will be available soon.
“Like California, Colorado is full of beer and cannabis enthusiasts. And we think they’re going to like how we’ve combined the two into a calorie-free, carb-free, THC-infused beverage," explains Dennis Hunter, co-founder of CannaCraft, a partnering company with Lagunitas that helps produce Hi-Fi Hops.
Lagunitas now joins Blue Moon creator Keith Villa's THC-infused NA beer, Ceria, as a hoppy and heady option for Colorado cannabis users.