London startup Kolibri Drinks has revamped its range of customisable, non-alcoholic RTD cocktails, axing the cannabis content.
The brand made its debut in January 2020 with two premium variants, Dark Forest and Citrus Grove, claiming to be “the high street’s first CBD-infused, alcohol-free cocktail”. They came in a bottle with a cap containing 20mg of broad-spectrum cannabidiol suspended in flavoured syrup. It allowed consumers to choose the strength of their drink’s flavour and CBD dose.
Following an overhaul, Kolibri’s cocktail lineup now comprises Tales of Tuscany: Sparkling Berry & Juniper Aperitivo; Tales of Marrakesh: Sparkling Cardamom Baharat; and Tales of Somerset: Sparkling Elderflower & Lime Spritz (rsp: £4.80/315ml).
Each comes with a bottle cap containing blue agave syrup that allows the drinker to sweeten the liquid to taste. Set to roll into Harrods from tomorrow (19 May), they were designed to add “playfulness” to the RTD market, said Kolibri co-founder Kamila Sitwell.
“For the cocktail afficionado, the act of mixing and personalisation is crucial to the cocktail experience. Cocktails, alcoholic or otherwise, are the art of blending liquids, and Kolibri remains true to the experience.”
The change comes after Kolibri decided to pause its use of CBD until it could achieve novel foods certification and supermarkets were more open to potable cannabis, said Sitwell. “Big grocers are not ready to stock CBD drinks yet.”
Kolibri’s original drinks had been listed by Holland & Barrett, but the retailer “decided to exit the low&no/CBD drinks category and radically reduced all beverage options” she added. The impact of Covid meant Brits bought “all food and drinks from big grocers and default to H&B mainly for health supplements – and that’s the key area of focus for H&B”.
UK supermarkets sold an extra 23.5 million litres of low & no beer, cider, wine and RTDs in the past year – a rise of 51.4% [Kantar 52 w/e 21 February 2021]. The increase put an extra £73m through tills, making the category worth £217.1m.