Molson Coors Beverage Co. and Quebec-based Hexo Corp. (TSX: HEXO) have entered the U.S. CBD market for the first time by launching infused drinks in Colorado.
On Wednesday, the companies said a new line of sparkling CBD beverages will be available in three flavors and sold under the brand Verywell through their joint venture Truss CBD USA.
In a blog post, Molson Coors said it’s been looking to expand beyond the beer aisle, and Colorado will be a testing ground for the cannabidiol beverage brand.
While production and distribution for the drinks will be kept within state lines, Molson Coors is exploring other states with established regulatory frameworks for hemp-derived CBD in food and beverages.
The beer giant partnered with Hexo in 2018, when the Quebec-based cannabis producer bought a 42.5 per cent stake in the Truss joint venture with Molson Coors.
Hexo introduced Verywell weed-infused drinks in Canada last August, along with four other beverage brands. But unlike those options, the U.S. Verywell drinks won’t contain the psychoactive ingredient THC.
“Our joint venture with Molson Coors Canada saw Truss Beverage Brands become the No. 1 choice for consumers in Canada, and we are expecting similarly great results in the U.S.,” Hexo CEO Sebastien St-Louis said in a statement.
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Hexo says it plans to invest capital to support the expansion of the Truss CBD line, as well as other potential consumer packaged goods partners in the U.S. outside the drink sector.
It’s the first major alcohol company to offer CBD beverages inside the U.S., Molson Coors says, and it’s “well positioned to quickly expand distribution of Verywell and other products produced by Truss as the regulatory environment evolves.”
Several large Canadian cannabis firms have also stated plans to enter the U.S. CBD beverage segment.
Last year, Aphria Inc. (TSX: APHA) bought U.S. craft beer company Sweetwater Brewing Co., and then merged with Tilray Inc. (Nasdaq: TLRY), which had partnered with Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2019. Additionally, Constellation Brands Inc. has teamed up with Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX: WEED), which sells CBD products stateside under several brands.
Top image via Truss CBD USA