Spring Equinox


The Vernal Equinox has spoken….spring has arrived!

Hello Functional Infused Beverage Enthusiasts!

It’s that time of year again when we all experience a time of renewal, fertility, and rebirth. We mark the start of planting season, when crops are sown and farmers begin preparing for the coming season of growth.  It’s the day where we find ourselves basking in the sun’s warmth and light fall equally, the vernal equinox.  What a beautiful metaphor representing what we need more than ever, a sense of equilibrium, a balance.  We haven’t felt this as a functioning society for a very long time.

As we find our equilibrium once again, we can now finally all very clearly understand that alcohol sales are down for good reason.  We are not in equilibrium.  Dry January morphed quietly into “Alcohol-Free February” and sprung into “Mindful-Binge Drinking March” (those are made up but feel free to use).  I long for the time of fully celebrated days of drinking thoughtfully infused beverages, those that uplift our souls and fill our hearts.  I’m very grateful to be part of a movement that has been present for years, under the radar for some, clear as day to many, mindful drinking, focused more intently on an “alternative buzz”.  And for those shaking their heads, it’s not just “weed” (I really don’t like that term in most contexts), it’s so many more functional ingredients, from adaptogen du jour lions mane and its’ friends reishi and cordyceps to the minor cannabinoid chumming, and sprinkling of psychedelics, we’re in a very enlightening and dynamic time.

Although I missed celebrating St. Paddy’s Day, I’ll likely imbibe at some point during March Madness, and despite that oversight, I’ll mostly enjoy my functional daily beverage experience with cannabis (incl. hemp-derived), adaptogens and other functional ingredients like many others have been choosing over the years. The next generation is not as interested in drinking alcohol and my generation is looking for healthier options.  In 2024, 61% of Gen Z’ers said they planned to reduce their alcohol intake, compared to just 40% in 2023.  That is a staggering shift in mindset.  Regardless of which side of the capitalistic table you’re on, the human side should overrule and ensure that we all live happier and healthier lives and it goes without saying that less alcohol consumption will provide for a better potential outcome for all humanity.

Gen Z’ers don’t own that patent on the mindset either, Millennials are becoming increasingly sober and curious as well, nearly half of people responded to a recent survey and said they planned to drink less in 2024 — 26% year-over-year increase.  My Gen X population is also making the shift, and so is ever group on up to the Silent Generation.  While consumers are fleeing alcohol in droves, the alternatives are slim.

The guidance is clear for social directive and commercial evidence of declining or throttling alcohol sales are also showing up across financial metrics with popular wine, beer, and spirit brands public company earnings statements.  It’s apparent the demand is weak, but where did that demand go?

We’ve been tracking these categories for years and have built award-winning brands poised to navigate the ever-dynamic landscape of functional infused beverages.  And the movement is just beginning.  A recent feature in the Wall Street Journal highlights what consumers are looking for, and yet leaves the full story untold, beyond just the limitation of alcohol (as noted), consumers are still seeking a buzz.  That buzz is predominantly coming from Hemp-derived THC and other functional ingredients like lions mane, ashwagandha, and others.  These drinks offer more than an alternative to the mind-numbing effects of alcohol, they offer mind and body-nourishing ingredients that allow for social interaction and a calming presence. Talk about the elixirs of the highest powers. There is no more potent category for growth in consumer wellness and ultimately the positive outcome for brands and investors supporting these innovators.



Retailers are taking note.  Total Wine has now installed “Intoxicating Hemp” aisles (or “islands” as they may have called it), not just end caps anymore. That’s within months of launching the category.  These are, what retailers in the know are now calling “Golden Cases”. Not only is velocity higher than any other segment, the margins are higher than alcohol too.  It’s why our trade association friends like the Wine Spirits Wholesale Association (WSWA) are finally supporting our efforts.  To be honest, we have a long way to go as a movement and category, in quality, variation, and overall category offering, and at the same time we’ve come an incredibly long way, led by many pioneers in the functional-infused beverage space.  That’s what we focus on.  How our brands and those we advise and launch can fit without a very dynamic and innovative category.

I know functional infused beverages will change people’s lives for the better. Because of that, brands will emerge to capture market share in new segments to create generational wealth and for those who want more concrete returns, think of the global alcohol industry being worth $1.4Tn annually and just hemp-derived THC (cannabis) infused beverages are now accounting for 10-15% of the liquor store sales in Minnesota and other markets….that’s a really large addressable market to grow into, and while the “big guys” will eventually move in and gobble up much of the market, the innovators who are defining this explosive category now will have plenty of wins ahead of them.

Wishing all an uplifting vernal equinox,

Evan Eneman

Founder & CEO

Harmony Craft Beverages