Canadian cannabis-infused drink makers eye potential half-billion-dollar market

Canadian companies are preparing to roll out cannabis-infused beverages to tap a market estimated to reach half-a-billion dollars.

British Columbia-based The Valens Co. announced the launch of a line of cannabis-infused beverages in Ontario this week, produced under a white label agreement with Iconic Brewing subsidiary A1 Cannabis Co.

It is one of the first companies to launch cannabis drinks in Canada.

Quebec’s cannabis regulator, Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC), launched its first cannabis drink this week – a CBD beverage made by Fluent Beverages, a Canadian joint venture between cannabis producer Tilray and AB InBev.

Valens’ new products include CBD- and THC-infused beverages and are expected to be available in some stores this month.

The market for marijuana-infused beverages is forecast to reach 529 million Canadian dollars ($470 million), according to accounting firm Deloitte.

Experts predict cannabis-infused beverages will apply pressure to an already-downtrodden beer industry.

The beer market suffered its biggest decline in years in 2019.

And that was before cannabis beverages hit the market.

A survey by Deloitte found that one-third of likely cannabis consumers see marijuana beverages as an alternative to alcohol.

The white label agreement between Valens and A1 Cannabis Co. will see a minimum of 2.5 million cannabis-infused beverages will be produced over five years.

Shares of Valens trade on the TSX Venture Exchange as VLNS.