Fans of both cannabis and Corona may soon get the best of both worlds.
The beer giant’s U.S. distributor, Constellation Brands Inc., has taken a 9.9 percent stake in Canopy Growth Corp. and intends to create a cannabis-infused beverage with the Canadian cannabis grower.
The $191 million USD deal with the world’s largest publicly traded cannabis company was made in the interest of gaining early traction in what Constellation sees as a forthcoming infused beverages industry.
“We think that it’s highly likely, given what’s happened at the state level,” Constellation chief executive Rob Sands tells The Wall Street Journal.
“We’re obviously trying to get first-mover advantage.”
Constellation wants to develop cannabis-infused beverages without alcohol and is eyeing Canada – which is expected to legalize edible cannabis products by 2019 – as an initial market.
The potential impact cannabis legalization could have on North America’s beer industry has been the subject of hot debate in recent months, with some speculating that alcohol sales could take a nosedive.
While Sands suggests he isn’t overly concerned about the possibility of such a conflict, he says he wants to be able to offer customers a breadth of products for whatever their preference may be.
“Could it be a threat? Yes, I guess it could be,” he says. “We’re not going to stand around twiddling our thumbs.”
Canopy Growth Corp. CEO Bruce Linton says Constellation’s alcohol distribution prowess will be helpful to Canopy as it prepares for nationwide recreational legalization in Canada next summer. The Ontario grower is planning to use new capital to increase its production and storage facilities across Canada.
Linton adds that he hopes the deal will send the message to institutional investors “that a cannabis company that fully complies within legal jurisdictions would be the right place to invest."
If this article has gotten you thirsty for an infused beverage – and you can’t wait upwards of a year for Corona’s innovative offering – check out these cannabis coffees, cannabis teas and cannabis sodas.