AB InBev, which is the world’s largest brewer with brands such as Budweiser, Bud Light and Stella Artois in its portfolio, will partner through its subsidiary Labatt Breweries of Canada.
Tilray is a medicinal cannabis company, which researches, cultivates, produces and distributes cannabis and cannabinoids. Its products go to tens of thousands of patients in twelve countries across five continents. Tilray will partner through its Canadian adult-use cannabis subsidiary High Park Company, which already sells a portfolio of cannabis brands and products in Canada.
AB InBev and Tilray will invest up to $50m each, for a total of up to $100m.
The partnership covers Canada only, and AB InBev says any decisions on commercialization of beverages will be made in the future. The two companies say the cannabis beverage market can only thrive if the industry embraces appropriate regulation and responsible marketing, sales and consumption.
Kyle Norrington, President, Labatt Breweries of Canada, said: “We intend to develop a deeper understanding of non-alcohol beverages containing THC and CBD that will guide future decisions about potential commercial opportunities.
“As consumers in Canada explore THC and CBD-infused products, our innovative drive is matched only by our commitment to the highest standards of product quality and responsible marketing.”
Carving out the Canadian cannabis market
Earlier this week Tilray also announced a global partnership with Sandoz AG, a division of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG, to develop and distribute medical marijuana across global jurisdictions where approved or pending approval.
Canada legalized recreational cannabis in October this year, with edibles set to follow in 2019.
Beer giant Molson Coors has created a joint venture called Truss with with Canadian cannabis producer HEXO to develop non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages for the Canadian market.
Beer and wine company Constellation Brands, meanwhile, has made a $4bn investment in Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth, seeing opportunities in both cannabis beverages and broader markets.