Big players are eyeing the market with interest, with Constellation Brands investing US$4 billion in THC-infused drinks. And all eyes are on Canada, the petri dish for cannabis beverages, to see how sales develop there ahead of US and European expansion.
Some big players have already placed their bets. In 2017 Constellation Brands took a small stake in Canopy Growth, Canada’s biggest cannabis producer, which it has since increased to more than US$4 billion.
Molson Coors’ Canadian arm is a partner in Truss Beverages, a US$100 million joint venture, while Anheuser Busch InBev has a 50-50 stake in Canada’s Fluent beverages.
The reason they have set up in Canada is because its Fderal Cannabis Act of 17 October 2018 made Canada the second country in the world, after Uruguay, to formally legalise the cultivation, possession, acquisition and consumption of cannabis and its by-products.
As the first G7 and G20 nation to do so, this made Canada an attractive test bed for the potential of the much larger US and eventually European markets.
Back in 2018, one in three Canadian cannabis users said they would try THC-infused beverages and consultancy Deloitte predicted that the market would be soon be worth CAN$530 million (£315 million).
And while the Toronto Globe and Mail says analysts and cannabis producers remain optimistic, the THC-infused drinks sector has yet to take off in a meaningful way.
Constellation is regularly enthusiastic about Canopy, which has yet to turn profit for all cannabis products, let alone drinks, but the sector’s sales have been underwhelming compared to the original hype.
Ontario’s state online retailer and distributor, Ontario Cannabis Store, says that between April and June this year cannabis beverage sales were just CAN$4.8 million (£2.85 million), or 2% of its total cannabis market. That is still an improvement on the CAN$1.5 million achieved in the same quarter in 2020.
To Read The Rest Of This Article By Ron Emler on The Drinks Business
Published: November 29, 2021
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News