Boston Beer Co. plans to launch nonalcoholic THC-infused teas in Canada by July and is tapping marijuana producer Entourage Health to produce the cannabis.
The beer company announced Monday that its Toronto-based cannabis subsidiary, BBCCC, will launch the TeaPot line of canned iced teas in “select Canadian provinces beginning in July.”
The move comes a year after the brewer opened the subsidiary to research nonalcoholic cannabis drinks.
Boston Beer – which makes Samuel Adams beer and Truly Hard Seltzer and Twisted Tea – is among the first major brewers to roll out a THC-infused product.
The company didn’t elaborate on how many stores would carry the teas, though Canada limits marijuana beverage sales to licensed cannabis establishments.
The first TeaPot offering will be a lemon black tea called Good Day Iced Tea, each of which will contain 5 milligrams of THC from a proprietary sativa variety grown in Strathroy, Ontario, by Entourage Health Corp., formerly WeedMD.
Boston Beer is the latest to test cannabis products in Canada while awaiting U.S. marijuana legalization.
“As we await further progress on U.S. regulations, we’ll continue to develop an exciting product pipeline in the federally regulated market of Canada,” Paul Weaver, Boston Beer Co.’s head of cannabis, said in a statement.
Weaver is no stranger to cannabis or beer, having previously served as director of innovation for Smiths Falls, Ontario-based cannabis producer Canopy Growth Corp. and as senior innovation manager at the Molson Coors Beverage Co.
The cannabis beverage category is generating enormous investment interest from beverage companies looking to backfill falling beer sales.
International accounting firm Deloitte called cannabis drinks one of the “hot new cannabis products” after a 2019 survey.
The firm concluded that cannabis drinks wouldn’t supplant other cannabis sales and could “offer another route to incremental growth for the Canadian cannabis market.”
However, the sector has been slow to take off in stores not always suited to selling items that need cold storage.
Infused-beverage sales – including both THC and CBD – amounted to slightly less than 40 million Canadian dollars ($31 million) through the first three quarters of 2021, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada.
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In April, Labatt Breweries of Canada, one of the country’s top beer makers, pulled the plug on its nonalcoholic CBD beverage unit in Canada, Fluent Beverages.
Fluent Beverages started as a collaboration between Budweiser maker AB InBev, the world’s largest brewer, and cannabis producer Tilray, but sales sputtered.
Boston Beer’s cannabis partner, Entourage Health, secured CA$20 million of funding late last year but has struggled to post profits.
Kristen Nichols can be reached at email@example.com.