Canadian Cannabis and Beer Markets Starting to Merge
While there is evidence that legal cannabis decreases beer (and alcohol) consumption a bit, it does make a lot of sense for the cannabis and beer industries to be aligned in many ways. For many responsible adults, unwinding with a cold beer and a joint is a great way to unwind from a stressful week of work. Also, the craft beer industry provides hope for small farmers and mom-and-pop businesses that there is a niche where small businesses can thrive in the burgeoning cannabis market. And finally, cannabis is following in alcohol’s footsteps by busting out of the chains of prohibition. One Canadian startup is taking the merging of the cannabis and beer markets to the next level by creating a cannabis beer.
From the Jamaica Observer:
An upstart cannabis company has partnered with a Canadian university to produce — with Government financial backing — what it says will be the world’s first beer made from the mind-altering drug.
Toronto-based Province Brands of Canada was awarded Can$300,000 (US$233,000) from the Ontario Government to create a “highly intoxicating” brew that is safer than alcohol.
In doing so, the three-year-old company is joining others such as Canada’s largest pot producer Canopy Growth — which partnered with alcohol giant Constellation Brands last year — in betting that cannabis-infused beverages will become the most popular way of consuming the psychoactive drug once recreational pot use is legalised in Canada later this year (and in 2019 for edibles).
In a press release issued by Province Brands of Canada, the company noted its goal of creating a safer beverage alternative for alcohol drinkers:
“The fact that the first Fortune 500 company to invest in the cannabis space was not a tobacco giant like so many had predicted but was, in fact, Constellation Brands, one of the largest and best run adult beverage businesses in the world, truly validates our efforts and proves the market for beverages like those Province has been brewing,” Mr. (Dooma) Wendschuh (CEO of Province Brands) said. “We started our company in 2016 when it was not known whether alcohol free beverages which intoxicate using cannabis or its phytocannabinoids would ever be legalized in Canada. The government, just a few months ago, made it clear they’d allow [these types of products], and I’d suspect that’s what made Constellation Brands step up.”
“We have developed great-tasting beers, but we also have valuable intellectual property, incredible developments in the pipeline, and a world-class team with decades of combined experience in the adult beverage industry, and, importantly almost two years working together,” explains Wendschuh, reiterating Province’s mission to bring a “safer and healthier alternative to alcohol” to market.
It is clear that beer giant Constellation Brands investment in Canopy Growth spurred Province Brands to really think about a cannabis beer, I think that we can expect a lot of collaboration between the two business sectors. Once again, the federal legality of cannabis has helped Canadian companies emerge as leaders in the industry, while U.S. companies are left on the margins, as established beer companies have to keep their distance for now.
With Canadians spending nearly $14 billion a year on beer, it is easy to see why cannabis companies would want to be a lot like their brewing counterparts. With cannabis sales projected to surpass $9 billion in Canada by 2025, with the likelihood that beer revenue may drop, it makes sense for beer companies to look at investing in the cannabis space. Beer companies are starting to take notice of lower revenue numbers following the legalization of cannabis in their area. Some alcohol companies are fighting on the wrong side of history by opposing the repeal of cannabis prohibition. As more and more places are bound to legalize cannabis, smart beer, wine, and spirits companies should look to invest and partner with the cannabis industry as the momentum behind legalization is only picking up more and more steam.
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