Are you ready to try pot drinks?
Legal drinkable cannabis is now only a couple of months away and Canada’s pot industry leader Canopy Growth (Canopy Growth Stock Quote, Chart, News TSX:WEED) is hoping to make a big splash with its line of weed-infused beverages.
But while skepticism abounds about whether or not Canadians will be going for pot drinks after work instead of beers and shots, the big question on everyone’s lips is will they taste any good? For his part, Canopy president Rade Kovacevic says that they can’t be any worse than what they have on offer in the US.
Canopy Growth hosted a media event on Tuesday where reporters got to sample the company’s Tweed brand line of drinks — sans cannabis, however, since Health Canada has yet to give approval to Canopy’s (or any other company’s) edibles and drinkables.
“Our view is that in the United States the beverages don’t taste good, they’re cloudy and they’re not appealing…”
But Canopy says that its pot drinks and other products will be on store shelves by December 16 and it hopes to make a big splash as Canada ushers in a new category of recreational consumables, with the Smiths Falls, Ontario, company not only looking for an edge over other Canadian pot companies but aiming for a different approach than than taken by their American cousins, who have so far failed to generate any buzz around drinkable cannabis.
“Our view is that in the United States the beverages don’t taste good, they’re cloudy and they’re not appealing. On top of that, the dosages are very high so people new to cannabis won’t enter,” says Kovacevic, speaking to BNN Bloomberg on Tuesday.
It’s a given now that beer and alcohol companies are keen on making their mark on the cannabis trade, with companies like Molson Coors partnering with Gatineau, Quebec’s HEXO Corp and US-based Constellation Brands going all in with a $5-billion investment in Canopy Growth.
Kovacevic says that Canopy has been relying heavily upon Constellation’s expertise to help get their products on store shelves.
“On the beverage side, we’ve had a lot of help from our partners at Constellation Brands in terms of the engineering of the facility,” he says. “We’ve spent about three years on the intellectual property behind the formulation to ensure that it’s low calorie, that it has a great flavour and that the onset is akin to alcohol. We’re really excited about bringing these to market.”
The THC dosage per drink has so far been a drawback to cannabis drinks south of the border, where American versions have typically captured only a small fraction of the cannabis consumable market. American drinks often contain in the neighbourhood of 100 milligrams of THC per unit, enough, Kovacevic says, to scare off many would-be drinkers.
“It was important with beverages that the experience was similar to alcohol so that people would be able to make the transition more easily, says Kovacevic.
“What we’ve announced today is that we’ll bring over 30 SKUs to market at the end of this calendar year and then we’ll have about 20 more to roll out over the next 12 months. It ensures that we have consistency of availability so that when customers like a product they can come back and purchase it again,” he says.
“Beverages are the disruptive part. Over the next five to ten years we’re really going to be taking up ground on it. We think that there’s a great opportunity over the next 12 months to segment the market to make sure that new people to cannabis understand that beverages are an alternative to alcohol beverages,” Kovacevic says.