Hydropothecary, Molson Banking on Canadians’ Thirst for Cannabis-Infused Drinks

Article by Geoff Zochodne, FInancial Post

Hydropothecary, Molson banking on Canadians' thirst for cannabis-infused drinks Joint venture set to explore 'highly anticipated consumable-cannabis market' as standalone business Sébastien St-Louis at the Hydropothecary offices: "We expect the revenue from adult-use cannabis beverage to be massive."Postmedia file photo

A new partnership between Molson Coors Brewing Co. and Canadian pot producer Hydropothecary Corp. comes as beer sales are stagnating, but it also anticipates a potentially “massive” market for cannabis-infused drinks that could pick up the slack.

On Wednesday, Hydropothecary and Molson announced the formation of a joint venture that will work on developing those non-alcoholic, weed-injected beverages. The company is being set up ahead of Canada’s planned legalization of recreational cannabis in October, as well as the expected sales of edible marijuana products next year.

Sébastien St-Louis, chief executive and co-founder of Gatineau, Que.-based Hydropothecary, said in an interview that they had yet to place a dollar value on the potential market for cannabis-infused drinks, as they would await forecasts from the joint venture’s management team.

“But this is a material opportunity for both companies,” St-Louis said. “And we expect the revenue from adult-use cannabis beverage to be massive.”

The deal could also underscore the overall importance of edibles for Canada’s coming cannabis market. The significance may be even more so for big brewers that were already under pressure from craft competitors, and that now face the introduction of a new legalized substance for consumers to buy. Industry group Beer Canada reported previously that national sales volumes “have remained relatively flat,” decreasing 1.5 per cent from 2016 to 2017.

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