Constellation Brands, who own Corona, Modelo and Sveddka, say they’re all set to invest almost $200 (£151) million into producing liquid edibles. According to the company’s CEO, Rob Sands, it’s a business no-brainer.
Drinkable marijuana is a small but growing part of the North American legal market, which is worth about $8 billion today, according to cannabis research company ArcView Group, and expected to grow to about 23 billion by 2021.
As weed is becoming legal in more and more states in America, bigger companies are posing themselves to cash in from new, green products.
‘Our company’s success is the result of our focus on identifying early stage consumer trends, and this is another step in that direction,’ says Rob.
Constellation Brands, Corona’s parent company, will soon be releasing marijuana-infused drinks, which they intend to roll out in countries that have federal approval for marijuana-based products. He predicts that eventually, marijuana is going to be legalised nationwide in the US. Until then, however, Constellation Brands plan to market their cannabis-infused beverages over the boarder in Canada, where legal edible and drinkable canna products are expected to readily available by 2019.
Constellation’s new weed-infused beverages will undoubtedly bolster the country’s bourgeoning marijuana-tourism industry, encouraging many to visit from states where weed is still prohibited, as well as international travelers who are sure to see the country as the new Amsterdam.
Constellation Brands is the first major beer company to join forces with the marijuana industry, a market that most beer retailers have come to see as new competition. They’re not wrong to think so, either:
According to the Cannabiz Consumer Group study, 27% of beer drinkers are purchasing (or would consider purchasing) marijuana instead of beer in states where it’s legal.
In order to stay competitive, Constellation signed a nearly $200 million check to acquire a 9.9 percent stake in Canopy Growth Corp, a Canadian marijuana industry giant that’s slated to officially become one of the world’s most prominent cannabis corporations once Canada rolls out its legal-weed legislation next year. Canopy Growth Corp is already available for public trading on the stock market under the name Weed.
This deal will make Constellation the largest shareholder in Canopy Growth Corp, which is valued at around $2.5 billion CAD, and should only increase in value once marijuana goes officially legal in Canada.
Bruce Linton, the CEO of Canopy Growth Corp., says that these weed-infused beverages will likely not include alcohol. “There’s no need to include alcohol, nor is there an intent to include alcohol in how we follow through with things,” Linton tells the Chicago Tribune.
Instead, it’s likely that consumers will simply be able to get “high” or reap the medicinal benefits of marijuana in the same way they might enjoy a beer: with a delicious beverage, rather than inhaling smoke. This might be a positive thing for adults who don’t drink alcohol, but use marijuana and don’t want to feel like the only person not sipping some sort of inebriating beverage at a party or bar.
Another possibility is that Constellation will simply use terpenes—fragrant oils found in cannabis that give the plant its intoxicating aroma—to flavour beer, without giving it any of the inebriating effects associated with marijuana.
Whatever ingredients the drinks combine, they’re certain to be a product unlike any others currently on the market.
Sands also hopes that by getting into the marijuana game early, he’ll be positioning Constellation to take advantage of a market that he expects will be legalized on the federal level in the United States (eventually.)
However, the alcohol industry is interested in getting involved with cannabis in an effort to make up for some of the customer base that has been lost due to marijuana legalization. Statistics have shown that booze consumption has diminished over the past few years, while the use of cannabis continues to intensify.
But none of this is likely to happen unless the federal government finally decides to repeal prohibition and allow marijuana to be taxed and regulated on a national level. It is then that entire cannabis industry will change – for better or worse.