The Ontario Government is Funding Research for a World-First Cannabis Beer
August 1, 2018
Brewing behemoth Molson Coors Canada is tossing its beer cap into the weed business.
In a release Wednesday (August 1), the company announced a joint partnership with The Hydropothecary Corporation, a Quebec-based pot producer, to pursue adding infused brews to their lineup come October 17.
"While we remain a beer business at our core, we are excited to create a separate new venture with a trusted partner that will be a market leader in offering Canadian consumers new experiences with quality, reliable and consistent non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages,” says Frederic Landtmeters, president and CEO of Molson Coors Canada, in the release.
Molson is the latest of several companies moving into the soon-to-be legal recreational cannabis market by way of skunky suds. Last October, Constellation Brands, the beverage conglomerate known for Corona and Modelo, announced their intention to produce a similar product in partnership with a leading cannabis producer, Canopy Growth Corporation.
In January, a Toronto-based start-up, Province Brands, also announced a patent-pending process for converting weed stocks, stems, and roots into premium beer products. The non-alcoholic imperial pilsner would be the first beer brewed entirely from the cannabis plant.
Cannabis-infused edibles are illegal in Canada, but the federal government says they will begin incorporating them into the new regulations sometime next year.
To skirt this legal hurdle, some companies are creating beverages using flavours and branding to simulate a consumption experience without any real cannabis compounds. MedReleaf, the federally licensed cannabis producer acquired by Aurora Cannabis in a record-breaking $3.2 billion deal, already has a “cannabis-inspired” beer in the Canadian market—the San Rafael ’71 4:20 Pale Ale developed in partnership with Amsterdam breweries. Using notes of "dank spice" and pine, the pale ale is a weed-free teaser of their recreational products set to hit shelves in the fall.
At this rate, Canada is set to be a strong competitor against legal states south of the border that have had cannabis-infused beverages for several years.
Molson Coors would own a 57.7 percent stake in a standalone startup company with its own board of directors, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Hydropothecary, otherwise known as Hexo, will own the rest. The partnership is still subject to the approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange and set to be finalized by late September.