Two words: Cannabis Wine. It might sound like something invented by Willa Wonka, and yet, it is a real thing. It’s coming.
In fact it’s been around for several years but, due to the differing possession laws from country to country, it’s been very hard and very costly to get your hands on a bottle. The tail end of last year saw Canada follow the likes of Spain, Uruguay and various US States by legalizing the recreational use of Cannabis and, with another large world market opening up, the potential for infused drinks has moved a sizeable step forward.
With many other countries allowing Cannabis possession for personal use, experts believe that it’s only a matter of time before more and more change their stance and get onboard with full legalisation.
Whilst Cannabis wine isn’t likely to replace the aesthetic pleasure of reaching, for example, for a Chilean Cabernet, low/no alcohol alternatives are very much in fashion, and there is already evidence that the latest generation of drinkers are shunning alcohol, such is the rising concern about what we put in to our bodies.
Many wine drinkers would surely love to be able to get the same relaxed pleasure of taking a glass without the risk of a hangover, at a fraction of the calories and without ingesting alcohol. And Cannabis users would surely love not to be risking their lungs each time they smoke it?
So how does it work? Avoiding any serious mind-altering implications, only the non-psychoactive stress-busting compounds of the Cannabis plant, such as CBD, are used. The natural flavour profile of the leaf plays a dominant part to the taste and each producer will work to tease out the intricacies, in much the way standard wine is blended.
Whilst alcohol is a proven antiseptic and disinfectant, it has no health benefit to the body, but Cannabis has a long-proven track record of doing good, providing chronic pain relief, relieving stress disorders and treating epilepsy. Being able to freely access a safe dosage, in a legal way, would be a benefit to users both existing and new.
That’s certainly what top drinks manufacturers are pinning their hopes on, and companies such as Diageo, AB InBev and Constellation (who collectively own top brands including Guinness, Johnnie Walker, Gordon’s, Bud and Stella) are already upping their investments in Cannabis growing companies. One is actually selling off some of its established brand portfolio to fund the move. With other possibilities on the table, such as infused sparkling water, even Coca-Cola are reported to be in talks.
Whilst our current legislation remains as-is, it may still be some time before we see bottles of Cannabis wine adorning the shelves of UK supermarkets, but the UK cannot afford to ignore the growing trend, especially one led by the Americas.
If the predicted revenues touted by the Canadian government are anything to go by, in a post-Brexit world, we may actually not be able to afford to miss it.