Increased legalization of the sale and use of cannabis across North America, including nine US states and the whole of Canada come May 2018, has been described by some observers as the biggest ever threat to the future of the drinks industry.  Analysts predict the current $7 billion legal cannabis market is set to grow 30% a year to reach at least $23 billion by 2021 (ArcView Market Research).

Figures that economic analysts predict will encourage more US states, noticeably the 30 states that currently allow the legal use of cannabis for medical reasons, and other countries, particularly across South America, to follow suit and give their own economies a much-needed boost.

There is a pressing need for the drinks industry to respond, and better understand the potential challenges that legalized cannabis now brings to a sector not familiar with outside competition from non-drink product areas.

The first event of its kind

Cannabis Drinks Expo in Chicago, May 22-23, 2025, will give the worldwide drinks industry, and North America in particular, the chance to come together and look at ways it can address legalized cannabis and find ways to start the fight back against this enormous threat to the future of the overall industry.

It will also be the first time that drinks producers, manufacturers, brand owners, distilleries, and brewers can come together and collectively look at ways they can also benefit from legalized cannabis. Assess, analyze and implement ways they can both individually and together take advantage of what is effectively a new major consumer goods market.

The legalized cannabis industry is not only alive and kicking, but it is also set to grow at great speed. But it remains a contentious issue and how fast the cannabis market will grow is also very hard to predict. Making it even important that drinks businesses, and retailers across both on and off-premises, plan their counter-strategies for the next three, five, and 10 years.

Cannabis Drinks Expo will also bring the entire drinks supply chain together. Providing a platform for everyone in that supply chain to assess how they can all work together to tackle legalized cannabis head-on and take advantage of any new opportunities that the new cannabis supply chain now brings.

Why Exhibit?

With so much uncertainty and unpredictability surrounding the legalized cannabis market, it makes Cannabis Drinks Expo a truly must-attend event for leading players from all areas of the main drinks industry as well as all the other support sectors and services that rely on it.

With so many moving parts to understand, this cannabis event is being carefully designed in order to cover all the key issues surrounding the legalized cannabis market.

It means there will be dedicated sessions and time given over to:

  • The medical and political background has made cannabis already legal in certain countries, and US states.

  • The likelihood and timescale of legalized cannabis being introduced to other countries around the world and what changes in policy and political direction will be needed to make it happen.

  • The new and emerging players within the legalized cannabis sector. How do they see the market growing, what type of products are most likely to succeed and what research and development are being done to bring those products to market?

  • What impact is legalized cannabis having on the traditional alcoholic drinks market in the areas where it has been introduced. What steps are drinks companies taking to address legalized cannabis in those countries and what strategies do they need to follow in the future.

There will also be the opportunity for drinks businesses to network with these emerging, leading cannabis players to see where there might potentially be ways for the two sides to actually work together. Be it the production of cannabis-style drinks, or the distribution of cannabis across the current drinks retail and on-premise supply chains.

New revenue opportunities

On the face of it, the emergence of a booming legalized cannabis market can be seen as a major threat to future alcoholic drinks sales. But it could also prove to be a new route to market, the catalyst for new products that are more relevant to the changing taste and needs of drinkers, particularly those entering the market for the first time.

Cannabis Drinks Expo will be a melting pot of seminars, debates, and TED-style talks from political and medical leaders, major drinks industry figures, retailers, restaurant and bar chains, brand developers, FMCG consumer experts, and future trends, analysts, and cultural commentators.

But most of all it will provide a platform for drinks businesses from all sides of the industry to network and meet their counterparts from the cannabis sector and better understand their needs, challenges, and opportunities.

Who are the exhibitors?

Cannabis Drinks Expo is open to exhibitors from across both the drinks industry and its connected supply chain and the emerging legalized and medical cannabis sector.

Potential exhibitors will include:

  • Medical marijuana producers

  • Cannabis growers

  • Cannabis producers/ product developers

  • Cannabis processors

  • Cannabis distributors/transporters

  • Wineries

  • Breweries

  • Distilleries

  • Branded drinks companies

  • Drinks manufacturers/producers

  • Pharma companies

  • Equipment and service providers

  • CBD manufacturers

  • Marijuana-Infused products and edibles providers

  • Testing and laboratory services

  • Logistics and supply chain operators

  • Drinks distributors/wholesalers

  • Drinks importers

  • Lobbyists/ public affairs businesses

  • Political advisors

Who are the visitors?

Cannabis Drinks Expo promises to be relevant for anyone involved in the development, production, distribution and retailing of all alcoholic drinks and cannabis and related products. It will also provide a vital networking opportunity for political analysts, medical experts and those involved in the development and implementation of legalized cannabis into new markets.

  • Key visitors will include: 

  • Leading scientists/ researchers

  • Policymakers and relevant government officials

  • Trade associations

  • Lobbyists and public affairs professionals

  • Drinks industry executives across branded players and producers

  • Drinks distributors

  • Retailers and merchants

  • On-premise operators

  • Wineries

  • Breweries

  • Distilleries

  • PR and marketing

  • Press and bloggers

Where and When

May 22-23, 2025 - Midwest Conference Center (11 am to 5 pm) - Chicago

The event will offer 100 exhibits only, so space is limited. Exhibitors are encouraged to reserve space as early as spots are expected to sell out quickly. Set up Includes: The show is a trestle table set up, you will not pay anything extra for chairs and tables and wifi. Your pricing covers ALL costs associated with the show. You are required to bring in one roll-up banner only and may place marketing material on your table.


2023 Super Early Bird:$1600 Now till Jan 31, 2024

Super Early Bird: $1800   Feb 1, 2024 to April 30, 2024

Early Bird: $2000   May 1, 2024 to July 31,2024

Regular: $2400 Aug 1, 2024, onwards.

*Get a further 10% discount if selecting 2 Tables

For more information or questions about the show, please email us at sid@cannabisdrinksexpo.com

Important Note: 

This is a NON-CANNABIS CONSUMPTION and SAMPLE event. Exhibitors are not allowed to distribute, sell, gift or consume any medicated or live THC products at the venue at all times.

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