Competition continues to heat up in CBD drinks. Consumers are looking for functional and fun beverages for wellness and as alcohol substitutes.
With so many existing occasions and reasons to enjoy a drink, CBD beverage companies need to get creative and specific with their positionings. Whether casting a wide net or hooking a specific niche, the real catch is gaining loyal customers that come to you for a distinct purpose.
CBD Drinks for Daily Routine
In Q2 2021, 45% of CBD consumers report taking CBD daily. That’s a lot of consistent consumers! Gummies and capsules fit well within supplement routines, and tinctures are also popular among daily users. But now, CBD drinks want in on the daily routines.
One of the barriers to entry for daily CBD use is price, and CBD drinks tend to have a higher price per dose than tinctures or gummies. Enter drink mixes! CBD drink mixes are getting in the mix offering familiar, affordable options for sipping CBD. Single-serving packets are easy to prepare, take up little space, and are more pleasant than swallowing a pill or taking a drop of tincture to the tongue.
cbdMD launched a drink mix in September 2021. With uncomplicated branding that is reminiscent of single-serving Crystal Light, the brand is offering daily consumers yet another way to enjoy its CBD.
CBD Drinks for Balance
Beyond frequency of use, there’s CBD for distinct desired effects. There are so many different purported uses for CBD - pain, energy, relaxation, focus to name a few. But it can be hard to craft a product that delivers on that effect when CBD use can be so subtle - especially if the consumer is not consistently using CBD. So instead of overpromising on specific benefits, brands are finding a sweet spot highlighting CBD’s benefits for homeostasis.
While research is in its early stages, preliminary results show CBD - and other phytocannabinoids like CBG and THC - may help our bodies stay in homeostasis, or “the self-regulating process by which an organism tends to maintain stability while adjusting to conditions that are best for its survival". Many brands are positioning their products to appeal to those seeking this effect, marketing CBD as a product to help our bodies maintain stability in times of instability.
Brands that position themselves as tools to weather the storm of life include Recess and CENTR. Recess’ “drinks and powders to help you feel calm cool collected despite the stressful world around you.” CENTR makes finding balance integral to identity. As its name suggests, CENTR invites consumers who feel off-center to find clarity with its CBD beverages.
CBD Drinks to Replace Alcohol
The COVID-19 pandemic shook up social habits - including alcohol use. As covered in our Alcohol Trends and Non-Alcoholic Trends reports, consumers are drinking less alcohol than they were pre-pandemic. New Evergi Consumers data shows 60% of American alcohol consumers agree they are using less alcohol than in the past!
Innovations in the non-alcoholic beverage category are providing consumers more variety than ever. Now, enjoying life without (or with less) inebriation doesn’t mean a life without mood modification. CBD and other adaptogen-infused drinks offer consumers alternative substances to enjoy while socializing plus wellness benefits and no hangover.
Of consumers who report drinking less, 11% say they are swapping alcohol with CBD drinks, according to Evergi Consumers data. With another 29% of these consumers substituting alcohol with "nothing," there is still plenty of opportunity to position CBD as the perfect alcohol alternative.
Bimble is a sparkling CBD beverage brand that packages its drinks in traditional bottles - perfect for blending in with a beer-drinking crowd. The brand’s founders tell their story of leaving high stress, partying lifestyles for simpler lives with fewer hangovers (and more bees, which is also unique!) Though the price per bottle is nearly three times as expensive as the previously mentioned CBD drink mix, its positioning among alcoholic beverages helps justify the price.
All it takes for a CBD drink to become a “non-alcoholic alternative” is to be among alcohol options. Although CENTR positions itself for balance, it includes mocktail recipes on its website and has distribution at bars, restaurants, and liquor stores.
As with all CBD categories, the competition will only continue to increase as new consumers discover CBD and regulations give the green light to big beverage companies. Having the right data to back brand positioning paves the road to successful products that solve distinct consumer needs. But first, a brand must be able to answer - what is my CBD drink for?