Will Weed-Infused Drinks Get the Booze Industry Buzzing Again? – OZY

Alcohol sales in the U.S. are in steady decline — they’ve gone down three years in a row. Experts say health and wellness concerns are turning people away. But brewers may finally have found the savior they’ve been desperately seeking.

Recreational cannabis use is legal in 11 of the United States, Guam and the District of Columbia. Now, a growing number of path-breaking brewers and other entrepreneurs are adding weed to beverages to offer healthier drinks than regular beer or wine — while retaining the high that consumers seek. In the process, they’re giving birth to an entirely new industry and offering major breweries a lifeline just when their business otherwise appears headed for rocky times.

It’s illegal under regulations of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to mix alcohol and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, in a beverage. But an increasing number of cannabis-infused drinks that stick within the law are emerging across the country, promising to reshape how Americans get their kick.

Nevada-based Two Roots Brewing Company, founded in 2016, sells nonalcoholic THC-infused drinks in five flavors. Colorado-based CERIA Brewing sold its first nonalcoholic cannabis beer in December 2018. It’s now available at 132 marijuana dispensaries across the state. These nonalcoholic beers normally contain between 2.5 and 10 milligrams of THC (medicated gummy bears, for example, each contain 10 milligrams), and so give the drinker a high. Yet they’re good for your expanding waistline, whereas a 12-ounce can of Budweiser has 145 calories. These THC-infused nonalcoholic beers carry half those calories. Cannabis-infused nonalcoholic wines ­­­­—such as those produced by California’s Rebel Coast Winery are even better — they contain about one-third the number of calories of a glass of regular wine.

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