As Canada prepares to legalize recreational cannabis sales later this year, major beer companies are hoping they won’t be left out. Constellation Brands, one of the largest beer importers on the planet, has been hinting at plans to sell cannabis-infused alcohol for quite some time now. After a small shift in the company’s top ranks, Constellation has finally elaborated on how they plan to roll out their pot bottles.
“Our goal with this organization is to work collaboratively to both understand the cannabis business,” said Bill Newlands, Constellation Brands’ new president, “but also develop unique cannabis-based beverages that will be available around the world as legalities prove those to be an option.”
Newlands estimates that cannabis will be a $50 billion business in the United States, about half the size of the beer market. Newlands won’t move Constellation Brands, the sellers of Corona, to sell any cannabis products in the U.S. until it is legal on every level of government. That won’t be a conundrum in Canada, where marijuana is set to be legal on a federal level.
Last year, Constellation Brands invested $200 million into Canopy Growth Corp., one of the largest cannabis groups in Canada. While Canadians expect to be smoking recreational weed later this year, both Constellation and Canopy recognize that edibles won’t be available until 2019 at the earliest.
Edibles have become something of a contentious topic in the great white north. The Canadian government is still hashing out their legislation around edibles, which are harder to label for THC content than pot alone. Until then, the two companies will be doing research and development on cold cannabis brews.
“This is very consistent with what our organization has done historically,” said Newlands, “which is to identify, meet and stay ahead of evolving consumer trends.”