One of the world’s top liquor companies is bringing all-new meaning to the phrase “This Bud’s for You.” Constellation Brands — a company that owns Svedka vodka, imports Corona and several other beers, and is the world’s largest wine producer — thinks the adult beverage of the future involves pot, so it’s dropping $191 million into the planet’s largest publicly traded cannabis producer. The Wall Street Journal reports that it will acquire a 9.9 percent stake in Ontario-based Canopy Growth Corp. (ticker symbol: WEED) specifically to “develop and market cannabis-infused beverages.” For a variety of fairly obvious reasons, Constellation can’t just start flooding 7-Elevens nationwide with a line of pot drinks, but it argues that the investment definitely gives it “a first-mover advantage.”
To be clear, this won’t be pot-spiked alcohol. That Four Loko–on–steroids concoction would never get TTB approval, even in states where recreational marijuana use is legal. Instead, Constellation’s efforts will focus on sodas, ready-to-drink coffee, fruit elixirs, and other “drinkable cannabis products that don’t contain alcohol,” CEO Rob Sands tells the paper. States like Colorado and Oregon already have those on the market, and he thinks it’s “highly likely” the rest of the country will follow soon. Constellation could also theoretically launch pot drinks in Canada, assuming it legalizes use as expected by 2019.
There’s been a lot of recent talk about how legal pot is going to wreck beer sales. Craft breweries — a group consumers reward for edgier products — have already released marijuana-flavored beers using the non-psychoactive parts of the plant, but the DEA ultimately had a problem even with that. For Constellation’s part, Sands says pot isn’t a serious threat yet, but they’re “not going to stand around twiddling our thumbs.” If weed-laced drinks are going to join beer, wine, and hard liquor, it wants a foot firmly in all four.