The rise of “Dry January” and “Sober October” has inadvertently provided a new market for cannabis companies - targeting those who have quit alcohol and instead use cannabis. Interestingly, this shift in lifestyle habits among Gen Z has given rise to the new term “California sober”, with people abstaining from drugs and alcohol, except for cannabis. Recent statistics highlight the acceleration of this trend; promoting the use of THC drinks in particular.
Looking to tap into a new market, cannabis companies are using data to target those who are looking to cut back on drinking. Instead of pushing the drug's intoxicating effects, these ads emphasize the lack of negative side effects such as hangovers. While the health risks are yet to be fully understood, many are turning to this alternative and companies are quickly taking notice.
In states where cannabis is legal for recreational use, the once-dominant alcohol industry is experiencing a decline in sales while cannabis is on the rise. In Colorado, a prime example, marijuana sales have grown to around 10% of the size of the alcohol market (up from 2% in just five years), according to a report released by investment bank TD Cowen. Meanwhile, in Canada where cannabis has been legal on a federal level, the sales of alcohol are on the decline. This suggests that the trend of cannabis overtaking alcohol as the go-to recreational substance may continue to gain momentum.
St. Patrick's Day has become more than a day for green beer as cannabis enthusiasts made it a big deal for sales. “Leprechaun smoking weed” even trended on Google, showing the growing interest in marijuana. A marketing company specializing in cannabis tracked over 100 dispensaries across 23 states and found a 21% rise in customer counts and 17% sales growth from last year. The real hit, however, was THC drinks which saw a 95% increase in same-store sales. Looks like green is no longer just for the Irish, but also for the cannabis community.
According to Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there seems to be a growing perception among consumers that marijuana is a healthier choice than alcohol. However, this may simply be due to the fact that we know more about the health risks associated with alcohol than we do about weed. As awareness around the health implications of cannabis continues to evolve, it's important that we approach this topic with an open mind and a commitment to ongoing education.
Advertisers must navigate a fine line between making health-related claims and subtly alluding to the consequences of overindulging in alcohol consumption. Recent campaigns suggest that those who attempt to abstain from intoxicants altogether are perhaps more likely to be unsuccessful, suggesting cannabis is a better alternative to alcohol consumption.
Cann, the popular THC-infused drink, has launched a new ad campaign called "Cannuary" to hook in those participating in "Dry January." With the product available in over 30 states for online purchase, the company is targeting those looking for a fun alternative to traditional alcohol-free options.
Cann co-founder Jake Bullock said, “We can't say that it cures any diseases, we can’t make any health claims, but we are talking about healthy choices for you.”
According to Cann co-founder Jake Bullock, he notes that people who drink THC beverages do not experience the dehydration that comes with alcohol overindulgence. Although THC has not been scientifically proven to be safer than alcohol, many consumers report feeling safer when consuming THC.
Cann's success has reached new heights, with January proving to be their most lucrative month yet.
According to Bullock, January has always been a standout month for the company, but this year's results were unprecedented. Transactions soared a staggering 364% from the previous year, while revenue jumped an impressive 232%.
Cannabis companies are blazing a new trail by taking cues from the alcohol industry's marketing strategies. They're using popular flavors and enticing ads promoting a natural taste. Tinley Beverage Company is leading the way with their THC-infused beverages that come in brown bottles, mimicking traditional beer and spirits packaging. They offer mouth-watering recipes, like the coconut piña tropicale, which puts a spin on the classic piña colada.
As the stigma surrounding cannabis slowly dissipates, an increasing number of individuals are choosing to switch out their alcohol consumption for cannabis. It's a fascinating development that's sure to shake things up in the industry. One can only imagine how companies will pivot their messaging and marketing tactics to target this growing new demographic.