Weed drinks are unlocking a new cannabis shopping experience

cannabis drinks dispensary

The buzz around cannabis drinks has been growing for years. Infused seltzers, mocktail recipes, and more have enticed the canna-curious–and now there’s a whole store dedicated to the trend. Hi5 Cannabis Beverages by Theory Wellness has officially opened a weed drinks dispensary next to their Medford, Mass. shop.

GreenState learned more about the inspiration behind the concept from the brand, including how it offers more to cannabis consumers in the area.

“Unlike traditional dispensaries, this entire store focuses on beverages,” said Theory Wellness chief marketing officer Thomas Winstanley. “We’re offering outlet-style pricing and will have the most diverse collection of cannabis drinks in a single store. It has a smaller footprint but is designed solely for those looking for these types of products.”

The shop will have drinks available from Hi5 as well as popular beverage brands Levia, Cann, and Good Feels. Each will be available at outlet pricing, which translates to about half the cost compared to the full-service dispensary.

With theses lower prices, Hi5 hopes to start a movement that normalizes cannabis drink pricing to that of adjacent products like cans of beer or alcoholic seltzer. The goal? To accelerate movement on the burgeoning segment by lowering the cost of entry for the curious newcomer.

Rising tide of cannabis drinks

Beverages are reaching consumers in new ways in other markets like Minnesota, where craft breweries, bars, and restaurants have started serving cannabis drinks–normalizing the plant in the process.

Hemp-derived THC drinks recently hit shelves at nationwide alcohol retailer Total Wine & More as well, signaling a sure-footed step into the mainstream.

Diana Eberlein, President of the Cannabis Beverage Association as well as vice president of marketing for SORSE Technology, weighed out the benefits of a beverage-only dispensary.

“It will take more effort to get the canna-curious into a dedicated THC beverage retailer than it would to get them into a Total Wine & More, for example,” Eberlein explained “However, a store dedicated to THC beverages, with appropriate staffing and training, will be better at educating and guiding the consumer when it comes to their purchase decision and, in turn, develop a loyal customer base for repeat purchases.”.

Getting canna-curious newcomers into a weed shop is often the hardest part; as Eberlein points out, this might not change if the shop only has drinks. That said, the simplified menus lacking the wide variety found at full-service weed shops might feel less overwhelming for a first-timer.

Additionally, customer service for people unsure of how cannabis drinks work, the best use for specific products, and other cannabis-specific knowledge will be more readily available at a shop like Hi5 compared to Total Wine & More.

Hi5 weed drinks dispensary

The newly opened store hopes to be a catalyst that launches the beverage category. Based on the growth of Hi5 products, it’s possible this market is ripe for a drinks-only cannabis dispensary. “We sold nearly a million units in the first six months of them being available in the market. Since then, the portfolio has grown in tandem with the audience,” Winstanley divulged.

The Hi5 shop is taking the plunge into proving a brand new cannabis concept–one that drinks fans are thankful for. With success, the retail concept could shape the industry. Beverage brands have trouble working with retailers, and with the segment accounting for only one percent of the market, budtenders aren’t always up to speed on selling points. This likely wouldn’t be the case somewhere that drinks were the only item available.

“Hi5 will serve as a case study that can influence future retailers as we continue to grow the category,” Eberlein predicted. “I also believe it will normalize cannabis beverages for consumers and continue diminishing the stigma around going to a ‘cannabis shop’ by bringing more of the ‘canna-curious’ into the market and creating a familiar and inviting environment for exploration of this growing category.”

A weed drinks dispensary is a new concept to the market that may help grow product popularity. With specialized drinks knowledge, the staff can offer curious consumers a new way to get into cannabis. Hi5 is changing the game. Now, only time will tell if the strategy finds success.

Cara Wietstock is Senior Content Producer of GreenState.com and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.