Is CBD the new gin?

Gin sales have exploded in the past decade, becoming not only the UK’s most favourite alcoholic beverage of choice but also experiencing successful heights globally.

According to a market report by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WTSA), sales of gin both in the UK and overseas broke £2 billion in 2018, nearly doubling since the previous two years.

Compare this statistic with figures from 2013 in which the total value of gin sales reached just over £1 billion, its clear to see that consumers are opting for the juniper-based spirit over all other types of alcohol lately.

In 2018, British consumers purchased a record breaking 73 million bottles – the equivalent of an extra 14.4 million bottles in comparison to 2017 – equalling a further £516 million in sales.

Although once named “mothers ruin”, after being abused heavily by women in 18th century London, gin is now one of the most popular gifts for them on special occasions.

Gin bars, parties and festivals all tie in to the hype train driving the boom in the industry. In 2019 there have been 54 gin festivals registered on Eat Drink Seek, not counting smaller, private local festivals.

Observing the sheer multitude of gin bars popping up in every borough of London alone, The Drinks Business demonstrates a correlating boom in the amount of craft distilleries producing there own gin brand in almost every area in the city, a feat almost unimaginable a few years ago.

CBD hype products on market

So how does this correlate to CBD beverages? The CBD infused carbonated drink Green Monkey is the UK’s first CBD beverage to be adopted by newsagents and corner shops alike. Produced in Birmingham, the pharmacy-backed beverage claims to provide a “unique alternative to caffeine based drinks”. The new entrant to the market seems to be a hugely successful hit as it has continued to be featured on the top shelf ever since its initial launch.

In keeping with the alcohol subject, first of its kind High Flyer Session IPA, an organic craft beer “jam-packed with cannabinoids, terpenes and exotic flavours” was launched in 2018. Brewed in the UK, producing company Green Times Brewing hopes to bring innovation to the alcoholic beverage market with the potential winning mixture by producing “unique flavoursome beers with relaxing after effects”.

Further optimism for the future of CBD beverages proves to transpire with “serious talks” of iconic drinks retailer Coca Cola looking to possibly introduce a CBD infused soft drink. The company has been liaising with Canadian-based licensed cannabis producer Aurora Cannabis Inc on the opportunity of viable new products.

Far from the controversial days of infusing cocaine into its popular drink, the industry giant seems to be turning its head towards cannabis. They will most likely wait for an official stance on the legislation of CBD, however, companies as monumental as Coca Cola seeking involvement could add momentum in the industry and open up further opportunities for CBD entrepreneurs in the coming years.

Europe-centred investment platform Supreme Heights intends to make strategic investments in the health and wellness sector within the UK with a focus on CBD offerings. Launched on June 24, the business is backed by The Supreme Cannabis Company Inc, a Canadian-based pharmaceutical company and seed-to-consumer business with a market cap of $500 million.

Patrick Morton, the Supreme Heights chief executive has stated in a video report with proactiveinvestors that “he and his team are looking for the Brewdog of the CBD industry”. Brewdog being an indigenous founded brewery and branded beer product which experienced rapid, immense growth becoming a multinational chain and the UK’s fastest-growing drinks company.

CBD soaked bars and cafes

We may see CBD inspired bars pop up within the UK sooner than we anticipate as it’s not a far stretch from the newly opened Mary Jane’s in Bristol boasting a cannabis infused menu. Offering customers typical refreshments such as coffees, smoothies and milkshakes with the optional choice to add CBD.

A cafe manager working at the trendy establishment told Bristol live that they had received an ‘amazing’ response from customers so far since opening on may 21 this year, demonstrating the success of such businesses.

The capital appears to be leading the race towards fully exclusive CBD bars, with contemporary Hackney cocktail bar Behind This Wall frequently featuring CBD laced cocktails on its seasonally changing menu, even making its own CBD syrups in-house. Some creative cocktails include the Fo’ Sizzle Sizzle Swizzle made with Seedlip Grove 42, sake and honey and ginger infused CBD syrup and the Purple Drank containing Reyka vodka, kombucha, juniper and marigolds and violet CBD syrup.

Alcohol vs CBD health benefits

It’s worth noting that the manufacture, importation and sale of alcohol was strictly illegal on a national level under US law, starting in January 1920 and not being lifted until 1933. Bootleggers smuggled alcohol under dark cloaks in shifty alleyways much like the interpretation of the THC rich form of cannabis sales up until CBD burst onto the mainstream scene.

Alcohol was and continues to be a popular, widely accepted part of western culture, whether you partake in it or not, and with CBD coasting on its new-founded popularity, its not far-fetched to see where the inevitable path could possibly lead with the right legislation behind it.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) published a study showing that within the UK, 18 pubs close down every week, mainly collapsing in London and the East Midlands. Not only are rising VAT costs considered a downward turn for such businesses, society’s seeming drift towards living a healthier lifestyle means customers may opt to ditch the pub in favour of wellness related activities. This is reiterated by an article in the Evening Standard that further demonstrates an increasing desire to shift towards non-alcoholic beverages.

CBD infused beverages and bars could be the remedy to enable consumers to create the healthier, flourishing lifestyle many appear to crave. The multitude of negative health associations of alcohol are widely known whereas CBD properties embody several possible favourable health benefits as known so far.

Perhaps it may be that the fruitful compound could be the key in encouraging people to create and adopt healthier habits while continuing to indulge in the enjoyment gained from bars, restaurants and festivals.