Molson Coors Canada has partnered with Canadian cannabis producer The Hydropothecary Corporation (Hexo) to create a joint venture selling cannabis-infused drinks.
The companies aim to develop non-alcohol cannabis beverages for the Canadian market once it becomes legal, after the country voted to legalise recreational use of the drug last month.
Structured as a standalone firm, the joint venture will have its own board of directors and an independent management team. Molson Coors Canada will have a 57.5% controlling interest, while Hexo will own the remaining stake.
The move follows an announcement last year by Constellation Brands, which revealed it would will pay CAD 245 million ($191 million) for a 9.9% stake in Canopy Growth Corporation, a Canadian supplier of medicinal marijuana, paving the way for it to launch a series of cannabis-infused alcoholic drinks.
Canada’s statistics agency has suggested that the value of the country’s cannabis industry could be between CAD 5 billion ($3.76 billion) and CAD 7 billion ($5.27 billion).
Molson Coors Canada CEO Frederic Landtmeters said: “Canada is breaking new ground in the cannabis sector and, as one of the country’s leading beverage companies, Molson Coors Canada has a unique opportunity to participate in this exciting and rapidly expanding consumer segment.
“This new venture is consistent with our growth strategy and our commitment to being first choice for consumers and customers by ensuring that Canadians have access to high-quality products that meet their evolving drinking preferences.
“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.
“We look forward to partnering with Hexo, a recognised leader in the medical cannabis space in Canada that will bring robust production capacity, a track record of innovation, and, most importantly, shared values when it comes to doing business the right way and earning the trust of consumers.”
Hexo CEO Sebastien St-Louis said: “Hexo continues to lead the way for smoke-free cannabis innovation in Canada. We are excited about this partnership with Molson Coors Canada, an iconic leader in adult beverages, as we embark on the journey of building a brand new market.”
He added: “As two leading companies who share a track record of excellent practices, as well as respect for law and regulations, Hexo and Molson Coors Canada have established a relationship built on trust, and together we will develop responsible, high-quality cannabis-infused beverages for the consumable cannabis market in Canada.”
By Jules Scully
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