Constellation Brands, the company behind alcoholic beverages such as Corona, Modelo and Svedka, is set to invest nearly $200 million in the production of cannabis-infused drinks, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Constellation has reportedly agreed to take a 9.9% stake in the Canada-based Canopy Growth known as the world's largest publicly traded cannabis company worth $2 billion. According to Rob Sands, Constellation Brands President and CEO, the move seemed like a no-brainer given the rapid legalization of weed across the U.S.
"Our company’s success is the result of our focus on identifying early stage consumer trends, and this is another step in that direction."
Sands predicts that a nationwide legalization of marijuana in the United States is just a matter of time – until then, Constellation plans to test-drive its cannabis-infused drinks in Canada where legal edible and drinkable cannabis products are expected to hit the shelves by 2019.
Historically, alcohol companies have stayed wary of crossing over into canna-biz. But with consumer reports showing a significant drop in alcohol consumption and a steady rise in marijuana usage, brands may have to rethink their strategies. Fortune quotes Vivien Azer saying:
"We believe alcohol could be under pressure for the next decade, based on our data analysis covering 80 years of alcohol and 35 years of cannabis incidence in the U.S. Consumer survey work suggests [about] 80% of consumers reduce their alcohol consumption with cannabis in the mix."
To be fair, only eight states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon) and Washington D.C. have legalized both medical and recreational marijuana meaning the drug is still illegal at the federal level. However, recent Gallup poll shows 64% of the population wants to lift the ban on cannabis, so big change could be right around the corner.