- Truss Beverage Co., a joint venture between Molson Coors Canada and cannabis producer Hexo Corp., is partnering with Flow Glow Beverages to make and distribute CBD-infused spring water in Canada. The product will be available across the country in December, the company said in a release, and will be the first of six cannabis beverage brands within the Truss portfolio.
- Flow Glow will be available in Goji+Grapefruit and Raspberry+Lemon flavors. Each will contain 10 milligrams of CBD, natural spring water, whole grape extract, organic blue agave and natural ingredients and flavors. The beverages will be manufactured in Belleville, Ontario, and come in 100% recyclable paperboard Tetra Pak containers.
- "We know CBD products are in high demand in Canada, especially within the growing self-care space. The Truss product portfolio will include a range of products with CBD, THC or both," Brett Vye, CEO of Truss Beverage, said in the release.
This product launch could be a smart move for Molson Coors, Hexo, Truss and Flow Glow since Canada will allow CBD-infused beverages and edibles on shelves in December. Besides the first-mover advantage, spring water is an in-demand item, and the brand is already known across Canada for its popular Flow Alkaline Spring Water product.
If this upcoming launch works out, it could be the start of other successful cannabis beverage brands coming from Truss. The Flow Glow drink is just the first of six beverages to come from the new joint venture. CEO Brent Vye noted in the release more than 80% of the company's portfolio will contain a low- to mid-level dose and will be "safe, consistent and unique beverages for every adult consumer and a full range of occasions." This approach could appeal to people interested in trying out the substance — which is a growing number of consumers — and those looking for a reliable dose in each serving.
But Flow Glow won't be alone on the shelf in the rapidly expanding CBD market. AB InBev and Canadian cannabis company Tilray plan to launch non-alcoholic CBD-infused beverages by the end of the year under the Fluent Beverage Co. brand in Canada. The two companies announced their $100 million joint venture to research cannabis-infused non-alcoholic drinks for the Canadian market in December.
Expanding into the CBD space could help boost Molson Coors' volume declines in the North American beer market. In August, former Molson Coors CEO Mark Hunter stepped down shortly after the company announced its second-quarter sales were down 4.4% and net income dropped 22.3%.
The company is diversifying by buying craft beer companies — including a cider manufacturer and a kombucha maker. It established a joint venture in Canada last year with cannabis producer Hydropothecary Corp., now called Hexo, to develop non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages for that market. Molson Coors brings a range of significant operational expertise to these acquisitions.
Forging into Canada's CBD market could help Molson Coors prepare for a U.S. launch. Even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn't approved CBD as an ingredient in foods and and beverages, some companies on this side of the border are moving ahead with plans for CBD products. Bolthouse Farms plans to launch 25 CBD-infused products in January, including some in juice and coffee. Ben & Jerry's has committed to CBD-infused ice cream, and Mondelez may add CBD as an ingredient in its snack lineup.
The market for cannabis products continues to grow. Spending on all cannabinoids, which also includes marijuana and its psychoactive THC derivative, is projected to reach $4.1 billion by 2022 from $1.5 billion last year, according to a report from BDS Analytics. Given the potential, food and beverage companies appear increasingly poised to take advantage of the lucrative CBD market in both Canada and the U.S. Truss could have a leg up in this flourishing market if the Flow Glow CBD water is a hit with Canadian consumers.