As two of out of the world’s three most popular recreational drugs, alongside caffeine, cannabis and alcohol have always had a special relationship in the minds and lives of many people across the globe.
However, due to the illegal nature of marijuana, not much capital or investment has flowed between the two. That has all changed in the last few years though, as medical and recreational weed is legalised across North America and the rest of the world.
In 2017 Constellation became the first major brewer or alcoholic beverage produced to invest in the medical marijuana industry when they purchased 10% of shares in Canadian medical grower, Canopy Growth. Worth $191 million, or £149.6 million, this investment also comes from a Fortune 500 company who are also the US’ biggest beer importers. This kind of investment further legitimised the industry at the time. Such actions may have helped guide Canadian lawmakers in the direction of complete recreational legalisation, a policy which the country will adopt in October 2018 after passing the Senate in June.
Given that positive news for the legal pot market, it was not surprising to many that Constellation announced a further $4 billion share purchase from Canopy Growth this week.
Constellation may not be a household name to British boozers, but in the United States they hold nearly 10% of the market share. Their most well-known brands on UK shores are probably the lager Corona, and Canadian Black Velvet Whisky.
When it comes to their plans for weed, Canopy Growth intends to use Constellations brewing experience to help them concoct a range of THC infused beverages to be consumed in the same social situations as a beer. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis – along with CBD and various other cannabinoids and terpenes.
However, don’t expect Constellations to be exporting pot infused lagers around the world just yet. They vowed to only operate in territories where the recreational use of marijuana was categorically legalised. Which rules out the legal US states, and quasi legal status places in Europe such as Amsterdam or Barcelona. However, Canada is now definitely open for the market – and Constellations aren’t the only beer brewer supposedly eying this up as an investment opportunity.
A Global High?
Molson Coors, a name that should be familiar to UK beer aficionados as the owner of popular ale Doom Bar, also signalled their interest in the pot market this year. After revealing in June that they have been in talks with Aphria Inc. and Aurora Cannabis Inc, the Denver based brewers declared that ‘specifically we’re interested in the infused beverage space and we do intend to enter that market’.
So who knows where this global trend might end? Could UK pub-goers soon be sipping on a cool pint of Stella-Green?
At BrilliantPubs we doubt this will be the case for a long few years yet, but with our staunchly Conservative government recently licencing cannabis-based medicine for UK use the signs are showing we may be heading in that direction.