With retailers reopen after lengthy pandemic lockdowns and a keen interest in summer socializing, it’s a ‘critical time’ for the category, says the company.
Its latest series of non-alcoholic launches tap into summer beverage trends and wider trending formats: such as a ‘celtzer’ (a cannabis-infused twist on the classic summer seltzer) and new takes on radlers and sours.
Cannabis beverage year-to-date growth is up nearly 50%
Cannabis edibles (and cannabis beverages) started hitting shelves in Canada in 2020. Having been one of the first to launch products, Truss now takes a nearly a 37% share of the cannabis-infused beverage market (a market that has also attracted other heavyweights such as Constellation Brands / Canopy Growth and AB InBev’s Fluent Beverages).
Truss also boasts the top cannabis beverage brand in Canada, XMG, with a 25% dollar share of cannabis beverages.
While the category has been slower to take off than previously expected (high prices and legislated limits on potency being some of the factors hindering growth – with an added hit from the pandemic). But the category is gaining traction, says Lori Hatcher, Head of Commercial at Truss Beverage Co.
“The only regulated environment in which legal-age Canadians can learn about cannabis beverages in-person is at cannabis retailers," she told this publication.
"With the reopening of local retailers following lengthy lockdowns due to the pandemic, we’ve seen the beverage category expand rapidly. In fact, cannabis beverage year-to-date growth is up by nearly 50%, growing three times faster than other cannabis segments.
“We also know that consumer demand for cannabis beverages as an alternative to alcohol is growing, as they taste delicious and deliver a buzz without the hangover that comes with alcohol.”
Having introduced 15 new products to the Truss portfolio, which is the widest portfolio in Canada, Truss now offers over 30 different products across six brands:
- XMG – high dosage 10mg THC beverages
- Little Victory – low dose balanced beverages
- Bedfellows Liquid Arts - craft
- Mollo - 5mg THC + 5mg CBD
- House of Terpenes – flavor forward, terpene focused beverages
- Veryvell – wellness-focused high CBD beverages.
The new launches have been designed to create products that appeal to various taste preferences and beverage occasions. However, one key insight that Truss has gained over the last two years is that consumers need the reassurance of a certain level of familiarity when venturing into a new, unknown category.
“Since launching the Truss portfolio in 2020, we’ve learned that consumers are more receptive to flavors and formats they’re already familiar with," said Hatcher.
"The more complex the cannabis beverage is, the more difficult it is for consumers to know what they’re getting.
“As a result, our latest round of innovation consists of delicious beverages that offer familiar flavors and formats.
Truss' Summer 2022 launches include:
- Little Victory: Celtzer Lime, Celtzer Raspberry, Sparkling Peach (Ontario only)
- Bedfellows: Sour Razpaartner, Doppelrädder, Passionfruit Pals
- XMG Blue Raspberry, XMG Lemon Iced Tea
- XMG Sodas: Cream Soda, Root Beer, Orange Soda & Cola
“We tapped into summer beverage trends: for example, the Little Victory Celtzer is a zero sugar, zero calories non-alcoholic cannabis-infused twist on the classic summer seltzer. While the new Bedfellows Doppelrädder and Bedfellows Sour Razpaartner are the first non-alcoholic cannabis-infused ‘Radlers’ and ‘Sours' to launch in Canada.”
Meanwhile, the new launches respond to consumer demand for more high-dosage options (10mg).
“XMG is the most popular high dosage (10mg THC) brand in the Truss portfolio, and the No.1 cannabis beverage brand in Canada, leading us to create new delicious and refreshing summer flavors like XMG Blue Raspberry and XMG Lemon Iced Tea, and develop a line extension of XMG Sodas featuring Cream Soda, Cola, Orange Soda and Root Beer," continued Hatcher.
The new launches also see the addition of lower sugar options: with Truss identifying an ‘unmet need’ for this kind of beverage in the market.
All Truss products are made at the company’s R&D and production facility in Belleville, Ontario.
More players to enter the market
So what’s next for the cannabis-infused beverage category in Canada?
“Innovation is incredibly important in this brand new category and we believe that constant innovation will continue to be the driving force behind the category's evolution this year and beyond,” said Hatcher.
“As the category grows there is no doubt that there will be more players entering the Canadian market. However, increased competition is a challenge that we’re excited about, as we believe that this will only help drive the category forward.”