Individuals are either weed people or alcohol people. Even if you use both with regularity, there is still one you would choose over the other if they were both trapped in a burning building and you could only carry one mind-altering-substance to safety. For people who run from the flames cradling a six-pack, one big selling point is that they can get what they want at their convenience from many, many stores. Well, soon, that will be a point of pride for the weed folks, too.
U.S. beer, wine, and spirits company Constellation Brands — owner of 76 brands, including Corona, Ballast Point, Svedka Vodka, and Robert Mondavi — has purchased a stake in the world’s largest publicly-traded cannabis company, Canopy Growth Corporation. And, they plan to work with them to develop and market those cannabis-infused drinks you’re not sure if you even want.
The company’s initial plans are for non-alcoholic cannabis bevvies. This isn’t anything new. In states where marijuana is legal, there are already companies making these products. There are Keurig compatible coffee pods, cold tonics, energy drinks, fizzy sodas, lemonades, teas, and punches. And, so many of them are really good. But, none of them have a powerhouse brand behind them.
Constellation is setting a precedent. This marks the first time a major alcohol manufacturer has invested in cannabis. With an agreement to pay $190 million for a 10 percent stake in Canopy, Constellation has opened the door for other major brewers and distillers to get on the bandwagon. Big Booze is an industry that hasn’t yet made a move as the pot revolution marched toward their profits. In fact, many of them have simply wrung their hands and eyed the legalization front lines warily.
In order for you to get the Corona of weed drinks, you will have to wait until nationwide legalization. Until it is legal “at all government levels,” they won’t be selling any cannabis products. But, Constellation is counting on that happening.
“We think that it’s highly likely, given what’s happened at the state level,” Rob Sands, chief executive of the company, said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “We’re obviously trying to get first-mover advantage.”
If the U.S. dallies in legalization efforts, which seems possible given only eight states have legalized recreational use since 2012, Canada presents a likely marketplace. Experts estimate drinkable and edible cannabis goodies will be legal for the northernmost North Americans in 2019. If that ends up being the case, you have one more reason to move to Canada.
Although the company has voiced no plans for infusing their beers or spirits with marijuana, if they did, it wouldn’t be a surprise. Throughout 2017, American brewers and distillers have been experimenting with cannabis-infused beers. Present offerings, however, contain terpenes rather than THC. So, you don’t get high. Instead, you just get some dank bud flavor, which is not dissimilar from its relative, the hop. Ideally, down the road, THC-infused beer and liquor will be on the agenda.
It’s pretty genius on Constellation’s part to get in on this. In the future, when you get together with friends and stock up on wine, beer, liquor, and weed-laced beverages, this company will be able to offer you one of each. They’re not scared of cannabis.
“Could it be a threat? Yes, I guess it could be,” Sands said. “We’re not going to stand around twiddling our thumbs.”