Molson Coors brewing cannabis drinks for Canadian market

04 August, 2018, 05:51 | Author: Billie Castillo
  • Gatineau's Hydropothecary, Molson Coors launch cannabis drink project

Molson Coors Canada has entered into a joint venture to develop non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages, making it the latest big alcohol company to turn its eye to the budding marijuana market. Molson Coors Canada will have a 57.5% controlling interest, while Hexo will own the remaining stake.

The joint venture is subject to various approvals conditions and is scheduled to close before September 30. Sales of alcoholic beverages declined significantly in states that legalized medical marijuana, according to research by the University of CT and Georgia State University. Hexo will own the remaining 42.5% of the new concern. Molson Coors will control 57.5% of the now unnamed venture, the company said in a news release.

Molson Coors Canada CEO Frederic Landtmeters said: "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".

St-Louis went on to say that the companies share "a track record of excellent practices, as well as respect for law and regulations", and a relationship built on trust that will develop high-quality, responsible cannabis-infused beverages for Canadians.

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Market research firm Euromonitor International estimated that the global market for legal and illegal cannabis is about $150 billion, with legal marijuana sales in Canada projected to total $7.5 million and $10.2 billion in the US this year. Heineken-owned Lagunitas Brewing also teamed up with CannaCraft on non-alcoholic THC and CBD-infused sparkling waters.

"There is a paradigm shift underway and cannabis has the potential to provide answers to the alcoholic drinks industry's existential questions", said Spiros Malandrakis, head of alcoholic drinks at Euromonitor International.

Canopy Growth Corp. reached a deal last fall with Constellation Brands that saw the alcohol supplier invest $245 million for a 10 per cent stake in Canopy, and the two partner on marketing and product development.

Industry experts have pointed to the stigma of smoking as one reason companies are developing smoke-free ways to consume cannabis once its recreational use is legal in Canada, as of October 17 this year. The company reported $1.88 earnings per share for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters' consensus estimate of $1.83 by $0.05. Worldwide net sales (-0.2 percent) and volume (-2.4 percent) of Molson Coors' products declined in the second quarter.

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