Beer giant Molson Coors has secured itself a piece of Canada’s booming legal weed industry by entering into a joint venture with cannabis producer The Hydropothecary Corporation, to make non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages that will be developed in Canada once recreational weed becomes legal on October 17th.
This is the second time a beer behemoth has joined the cannabis rush — last October, Constellation Brands, the company behind Corona beer, took a minority stake in Canada’s biggest weed producer Canopy Growth with the goal of developing drinkable cannabis products.
“Canada is breaking new ground in the cannabis sector, and as one of the country’s leading beverage companies, Molson Coors Canada has a unique opportunity to participate in this exciting and rapidly expanding consumer segment,” Frederic Landtmeters, President and CEO of Molson Coors Canada said in a press statement.
The partnership is the first between a Canadian alcohol giant and a cannabis producer, and while the two companies will begin developing a line of products together, cannabis-infused edibles or beverages will only become legal sometime in 2019.
The joint venture will be designed as a stand-alone startup, meaning that a new company, run by both Molson Coors and The Hydropothecary Corporation, will develop products for the Canadian cannabis market. Molson Coors will have a 57.5 percent stake in the company, and three board seats, while The Hydropothecary Corp will have the remaining stake, and two board seats.
The cannabis-drinks business is already emerging as a lucrative segment of the soon-to-be-legal weed industry. Just last month, another weed producer, The Green Organic Dutchman Holdings, announced plans to develop a product-testing and manufacturing centre to explore using cannabis in everything from iced teas, to juices and energy drinks.
In January, VICE News reported about Province Brands, a cannabis company that claims to have found a unique formula to brew beer from the cannabis plant — that company has operations in just outside Toronto.
A survey conducted by Health Canada in 2017 showed that only three percent of cannabis users consumer the drug in liquid form, but mostly because of the unavailability of cannabis-infused drinks on the Canadian black market. Indeed, a June report from consulting firm Deloitte, showed that that six out of 10 consumers in Canada will probably choose to consume edibles over smoking or vaping weed, a statistic that will no doubt encourage pot producers to continue getting their foot into the beverages business.