Canopy Growth (WEED.TO)(CGC) will offer a “sneak peek” of its hotly-anticipated beverages and edibles on Tuesday, giving investors their first real look at how the cannabis giant will stake its claim in the new categories.
Cannabis 2.0 products, which include drinks, edibles, vapes, topicals and extracts, are expected to hit the shelves in mid-December after the 60-day Health Canada notice period that began on Oct. 17.
Paul Weaver, the company’s director of innovation, will guide attendees through a tasting of 13 different beverages and three chocolate types and brands at Canopy Growth’s Smiths Falls, Ont. headquarters. Weaver’s resume includes a six-year stint at Molson Coors. (TAP)(TPX-B.TO)
Investors have anxiously awaited details on Canopy Growth’s new products, especially beverages, since Corona-beer maker Constellation Brands (STZ) started pouring money into the company two years ago. The deal ignited unprecedented investor interest that fuelled a sector-wide rally in cannabis shares.
Canopy Growth and Constellation Brands have yet to fully spell how their collaboration will materialize on store shelves. Canopy Growth has teased a few images of bottles in investor presentations.
Chief executive Mark Zekulin described a “high-quality cannabis beverages that offer sophisticated taste, better bioavailability [the rate at which a drug can enter the body and cause effect] and dose control along with zero or low-calorie options and little or no drug interaction,” on the company’s most recent earnings call. The recent acquisition of a majority stake in a Toronto-based sports drink-maker paves the way for CBD beverages.
However, Cowen cannabis and alcoholic beverage analyst Vivien Azer expects intoxicating THC-infused drinks will be Canopy Growth’s focus given the company’s strengthening ties with the U.S. beer and wine giant. What form that will take is tougher to predict, she said.
“I can certainly make the case for a beer-type non-alcoholic THC beverage if you are going to try to disrupt the beer category and really market THC as a substitute for alcohol,” she told Yahoo Finance Canada. “I can also make the case for a flavoured sparkling water. That category is super hot in the U.S. right now.”
While any move to lure alcohol consumers would take aim at Constellation Brands’ products, a February 2019 investor presentation suggests that is in fact the plan. One slide showing a liquor-like bottle refers to cannabis as “a potentially disruptive ingredient” and goes on to tout “no alcohol, no calories, no hangover, happy liver.”
Azer said Canopy Growth has a leg-up on its competition when it comes to launching drinks due to its significant head start with a beverage partner compared to rivals like Tilray (TLRY) and Hexo (HEXO.TO)(HEXO), which have partnered with Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) and Molson Coors Canada, respectively.
“That’s probably their biggest competitive advantage,” she said. “It’s pretty meaningful.”