The largest beer company in the world is charging into the cannabis business. AB InBev has signed a research agreement Canadian marijuana company Tilray.
The companies will each put up $50 million to study cannabis-infused beverages. According to The Financial Times:
Under the latest partnership, which will be confined to Canada, ABI will work on a joint venture with Tilray in London, Ontario. Each company will invest $50m to research how recreational cannabis drinks might be brought to market, exploring factors including flavouring and the length of the high.
In an interview, Tilray chief executive Brendan Kennedy said: “We’re in the middle of a global paradigm shift. We’re seeing an entire industry develop and really transform, transitioning from a state of prohibition to a state of legalisation.”
Cannabis legalisation was “disrupting” several industries, including pharmaceuticals as well as alcohol, he added. There was evidence that “cannabis was a substitute in some settings for alcoholic beverages”.
Kennedy tells CBS MarketWatch he’s eager to get started with research. According to MarkeWatch:
The joint venture will run through Anheuser-Busch’s BUD, -0.65% subsidiary Labatt Breweries of Canada, and each company intends to invest up to $50 million to research beverages infused with tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and cannabidiol, or CBD. THC is the compound that produces psychoactive effects, whereas CBD does not — though it has other properties some see as beneficial.
Tilray TLRY, +5.73% said that the partnership is limited to Canada, and that the two companies will make decisions about developing products from the research in the future.
“For us, it’s early days in this industry and research feels like the right place to start,” Tilray Chief Executive Brendan Kennedy said in a telephone interview Wednesday morning. “At Tilray, we’ve been performing research and develop for almost five years on lots of different aspects of cannabis and cannabinoid delivery.”