By the end of 2020, the worldwide cannabis market was expected to reach $20 billion, and it’s predicted to more than double by 2025 to $47 billion, according to BDS Analytics research.

But in mainstream channels, like c-stores, cannabidiol (CBD) food and beverages are just getting started, Larry Levin of IRI said at Winsight Media’s 2020 CBD Forum in December.

The 2018 Farm Bill opened the door for CBD sales, but there are still some gray areas in the category.
That hasn’t stopped some c-store retailers, though, from adding CBD beverages to their sets.

Shankman & Associates Inc.—a major broker for the c-store industry—partnered with Centr Brands Corp., a nonalcohol beverage company that recently launched its first product, a sparkling, lowcalorie CBD beverage. C-store chain Yesway, owned by Fort Worth, Texasbased BW Gas & Convenience LLC, announced in November it was adding four CBD packaged beverages to its stores: Kill Cliff, Defy, Weller and CBD Living Sparkling Water. Retailer United Pacific, Long Beach, Calif., added CBD Wellness Centers, some of which include CBD packaged beverages, to 350 of its c-stores in partnership with KushCo Holdings Inc.

Brewers are also hopping on the trend. Molson Coors, Chicago, is exploring the space through a joint venture with Truss. Together, they released a line of cannabis-infused drinks across Canada in 2020.

Constellation Brands, Victor, N.Y., also showed interest in the space when in May it announced it increased its share in cannabis company Canopy Growth Corp.

Canopy Growth, Smith Falls, Ontario, is the maker of Quatreau, which it describes as a seltzer-like sparkling water beverage. A 12-ounce can contains 20 milligrams of CBD, an ingredient prized for its calming and medicinal qualities.

Tara Rozalowsky, vice president of beverage and edibles with Canopy Growth, said consumer curiosity and health consciousness are driving the growth in the sector.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, stress levels have really skyrocketed and people are prioritizing both physical and mental wellness like never before,” she says. “And if anything, the pandemic has really highlighted the importance of finding a time for selfcare.”