By Dalton Rosario
Belgium-based AB InBev, maker of Budweiser, is matching $50M in a joint venture totaling $100M with British Columbia-based cannabis company Tilray, to research methods for creating cannabis infused beverages. R&D will be initiated by AB InBev’s Canadian subsidiary Labatt Brewing Company and cannabis developer and distributer High Park Co., subsidiary of Tilray. As expressed by Kyle Norrington, President of Labatt Breweries of Canada, “We intend to develop a deeper understanding of nonalcoholic beverages containing THC and CBD that will guide future decisions about potential commercial opportunities.”
Although current legislation in Canada does not include legal infrastructure for edibles and/or beverages, marijuana related products and services including edibles and cannabis derived beverages could earn between C$12 Billion ($8.8B USD) and C$22B ($16.13B USD) based upon analyst projections once lawmakers extend recreational forms of cannabis consumption.
It comes without surprise that liquor and tobacco companies are widely engaged in developing a foothold in the cannabis industry. Not only for its novelty appeal and seemingly limitless market growth for innovation, but also for its popularly accepted cultural relevance. America’s first publicly traded cannabis company, Canopy Growth, is in the process of developing a line of cannabis-infused cocktails by experimenting with fermentation and distillation processes involving hemp extracts. Also, Marlboro maker Altria Group is investing $1.8B into Canadian cannabis company Cronos Group. Clearly the market is prime for titans of industry to make their way into cannabis production, distribution and THC/CBD derived manufacturing of goods and related services.