Molson Coors announces joint venture to make cannabis-infused drinks

Molson Coors intends to produce cannabis-infused beverages. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

Cannabis-infused drink, anyone?

Such a product may just be available in Canada in 2019, after Molson Coors Canada announced on Aug. 1 a joint venture with Hydropothecary Corporation (HEXO) to “pursue opportunities to develop non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages for the Canadian market following legalization” this fall.

Frederic Landtmeters, President and CEO of Molson Coors Canada, said the country 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.”

Read also: Cashing in on cannabis: With investments in cannabis at an all-time high, what do you need to know before jumping on the bandwagon?

The new project is consistent with the company’s goal to provide “high-quality products that meet their evolving drinking preferences,” he added.

“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,” said Landtmeters. “We look forward to partnering with HEXO, a recognized 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.”

The joint venture will be structured as a standalone start-up company, with its own board of directors and an independent management team.

Molson Coors Canada will have a 57.5% controlling interest, with HEXO having the remaining ownership interest.

“The new company will combine the proven beverage experience of Canada’s leading brewer with a recognized innovator in the fast-growing cannabis sector to explore the highly anticipated consumable cannabis market, which is expected to be legally permissible in Canada in 2019,” a press release notes.

“HEXO continues to lead the way for smoke-free cannabis innovation in Canada,” said HEXO’s CEO and co-founder Sebastien St-Louis, in a release.

Read more: Getting schooled in the science of Cannabis

Closing of the transaction, which is targeted to occur before September 30, 2018, is subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, including “execution and delivery of various transaction agreements, including governance documents and R&D and supply agreements. In connection with the closing of the transaction, subject to the final approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange, HEXO will issue to Molson Coors Canada warrants to purchase shares of HEXO.”