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Cannabis Seltzer From An Unlikely Source: Pabst Blue Ribbon

October 13, 2020

The latest entrant into California’s cannabis beverage category has plenty of name recognition going for it. Like Fireball, which last year debuted branded cannabis gummies in Nevada, Pabst Blue Ribbon is looking to leverage its renown in the beverage alcohol category into a prominent position in cannabis, this time in the form of cannabis seltzer. Technically the product of Pabst Labs, a Los Angeles-based venture founded two years ago by former Pabst Brewing Company employees and cannabis beverage experts, and officially dubbed Pabst Blue Ribbon Cannabis Infused Seltzer, it’s now available for purchase in California at select dispensaries and direct to consumer from its website.

“Pabst Blue Ribbon has an incredibly loyal and passionate customer base who are open to change and embracing new ideas,” said Mark Faicol, brand manager for Pabst Labs. “We’ve spent a long time creating a quality product for both new and experienced users, and believe the entry of an established brand can help kickstart the cannabis drinks category.”

The initial launch consists of just one flavor—lemon—but additional flavors are already in development, according to the company. The drink contains 5 mg of THC a 12-ounce can and 25 calories. On Pabst Labs’ website, where first and second production runs have sold out, PBR Cannabis Seltzer was priced at $24 a 4-pack or $120 a 24-pack.

“Though this is a limited initial launch, we’ve had a really enthusiastic and positive response from dispensaries and customers, and are looking forward to a wider rollout in the coming months,” Faicol said. “Our challenge now is to produce enough product to keep up with the demand. We’re doing a phased rollout, focused on the California market for now, and will continue to ramp up and scale production and supply chain based on market demand and feedback.”

While California is the company’s primary focus for now, it does plan to expand to other states eventually, though Faicol told SND that it wasn’t yet clear which states would be targeted first. Faicol declined to provide sales projections but noted the significance of a brand as powerful as Pabst entering the category: “No other brand in the category can claim 175 years of history connecting fans across generations around its products. We think consumers both new and old are going to love the chance to experiment with something new from a brand they trust.”

While the cannabis beverage category has been slower to develop than the edibles segment, key players see enormous potential for the future. Constellation-backed Canopy Growth recently announced that it will likewise target the U.S. market with cannabis drinks beginning next year.Danny Sullivan

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