Cannabis with your cup of tea?
Increasingly, consumers are saying, “Yes, please.”
Cannabis-infused tea drinks are hot in the marketplace, and the thirst for pot tea is a fairly new phenomenon. According to data from BDS Analytics, a leading source of consumer data in the cannabis industry, it’s a 2017 thing.
In 2016 between Colorado, Washington and Oregon, tea represented a small — 2 percent ($351,000 in sales) — share of the $20.09 million beverage market. Tea data for 2015 is roughly the same; the category grew by just 2.5 percent between 2015 and 2016.
But so far in 2017 (with data through March in Oregon, February in Colorado and January in Washington) we find tea capturing 8 percent of the $3.10 million beverage market, with $250,000 in sales. For all of last year, dispensaries sold just $351,000 worth of tea products — at this rate, sales of tea in 2017 will quickly surpass last year’s mark.
Let’s consider the states. In Colorado last year, tea sales represented 2 percent of the market, on $198,000 in sales. So far this year? January and February alone have seen $197,000 in tea sales, just $1,000 behind sales from all of last year. And tea’s market share in Colorado has risen from 2 percent in 2016 to 9 percent so far in 2017.
In Oregon last year, dispensaries sold $13,000 worth of tea, and the category claimed just 1 percent of Oregon’s $1.47 million beverage market. But sales in Oregon through March of this year, at $42,000, have already more than tripled all of last year’s sales. And now tea holds 20 percent of the state’s beverage market. One caveat: Adult-use dispensaries in Oregon last year could only sell flower until June. So for the first half of the year, data for things like concentrates and edibles, including tea, represent only sales at medical shops. Either way, Oregonians passion for tea has clearly taken off in 2017, rising from just 2 percent of the beverage market in January, to 24 percent in February ($16,000 in sales) and up to 27 percent ($24,000 in sales) in March.
The tea trend has not caught on in Washington, where market share in January of this year of 2 percent (on sales of $140,000) is the same as tea’s market share for all of 2016. In the past four months, sales of coffee products have overtaken tea demonstrating Washington’s known affinity for coffee.
Compared to market behemoths like flower, candy and pre-filled vaporizer cartridges, tea remains a teacup amidst barrels. At the rate it is growing, however, the dainty cup might soon morph into something more like a thermos. One thing is for sure: the trend is warming the hearts of cannabis tea entrepreneurs in Colorado and Oregon.