AB InBev invests $100million in the cannabis drinks market
Drinks giant AB InBev has announced it is entering the cannabis-infused non-alcoholic drinks market.
The brewer is is embarking on a $100million joint venture with Canadian cannabis producer Tilray Inc.
The partnership is limited to Canada and the brewer said in a statement that decisions regarding the commercialisation of the beverages will be made in the future.
AB InBev’s participation will be through its subsidiary Labatt Breweries of Canada, one of the country’s founding businesses and its leading brewery, and Tilray’s participation will be through its Canadian adult-use cannabis subsidiary High Park Company, which develops, sells, and distributes a portfolio of socially responsible cannabis brands and products in Canada.
“Labatt is committed to staying ahead of emerging consumer trends," said Kyle Norrington, President, Labatt Breweries of Canada. "As consumers in Canada explore THC and CBD-infused products, our innovative drive is matched only by our commitment to the highest standards of product quality and responsible marketing.
"We intend to develop a deeper understanding of non-alcohol beverages containing THC and CBD that will guide future decisions about potential commercial opportunities.
“We look forward to learning more about these beverages and this category in the months ahead.”
Canada became the world’s first major country to fully legalise the recreational use of cannabis in October and is expected to approve cannabis-based products including beverages and edibles in October 2019.
“It’s too early to know how big cannabinoid-based beverages will be but we think it’s a massive opportunity and it’s something we’re interested in investing aggressively in,” Tilray’s Chief Executive Officer Brendan Kennedy told Reuters.
AB InBev joins Constellation Brands in cannabis investment. Constellation added $4 billion to its $200 million investment in Canopy Growth in August to help fund the Canadian cannabis producer’s global expansion.
Molson Coors has also embarked on a Canadian joint venture with marijuana producer Hexo Corp to make cannabis drinks.