Since August of this year, several of North America’s most notable companies have made major moves in the cannabis industry, which could go a long way toward transforming the public’s perception of the plant and cannabis companies in general. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of these billion-dollar businesses operate in the alcohol industry, which is now experiencing slower sales in response to the legalization of recreational cannabis. Yet it’s not just booze brands hoping to make waves in Big Green. Here’s a look at eight up-and-coming cannabis companies to keep an eye on.
According to recent reports, the world’s largest beverage company — and most recognizable brand — is working with Edmonton-based Aurora Cannabis Inc. to develop a line of CBD-infused soft drinks. And while Coca-Cola has yet to announce any concrete plans for such a product line, the company did issue a statement expressing interest in the beneficial effects of cannabidiol.
The name Altria might not ring a bell for everyone, but this Virginia-based conglomerate owns cigarette-manufacturer Philip Morris USA along with significant amount of stock in Anheuser-Busch InBev. The latest addition to the company’s massive portfolio will likely be Canadian cannabis company Aphria Inc., in which Altria is currently in the process of purchasing a minority stake.
Last year, the brewer of Corona, Pacifico, and Ballast Point beers paid $190 million for 10 percent ownership of the Ontario-based cannabis company, Canopy Growth. And in August, just in time for Canada’s nationwide legalization of recreational usage, Constellation Brands upped its investment in Canopy with a whopping $4 billion and announced plans for products including cannabis-infused sleep aids and beverages.
After William Wrigley Jr., the former CEO of the famous chewing gum company that bears his name, recently led a $65 million fundraising round for Surterra Wellness, the Florida-based dispensary chain named Wrigley their own chief executive officer and chairman of the board. With this new influx of cash, the company plans to conduct clinical trials with cannabinoids to treat anxiety, pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
When Adolphus Busch V, the heir to the Anheuser-Busch brewing company, was told he couldn’t work for the business his family founded, the 27-year-old entrepreneur didn’t waste any time figuring out his next move. In September, he launched the ABV Cannabis Company and announced plans to market a new line of disposable vaporizers in Colorado and beyond.
This past June, Heineken subsidiary Lagunitas Brewing Company announced a partnership with AbsoluteXtracts. Just one month later, they unveiled a line of hoppy, cannabinoid-infused sparkling waters. Hi-Fi Hops is now for sale in select stores and is available in two varieties: one containing 10mg of THC and the other containing 5mg of THC and 5mg of CBD — each with zero calories.
The Canadian arm of the Molson Coors Brewing Co. recently joined forces with cannabis producer the Hydropothecary Corporation to create a new joint partnership now known as HEXO. HEXO’s goal is to pursue opportunities to develop non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages for the Canadian market; the cannabis company plans to launch its first product sometime in 2019.
Peter Thiel might not exactly be a household name, but this co-founder of PayPal and libertarian tech tycoon is perhaps the most infamous venture capitalist on the planet. Thiel controls a substantial portion of Privateer Holdings, a cannabis-centric private equity firm that owns more than 75 percent of Tilray, a Canadian marijuana company that recently received approval from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to import cannabis products for clinical study and medical research.
These individuals and enterprises represent the first wave in what will likely be a long-term trend of big-name brands migrating into this industry. And while there’s no telling which businesses will be next, as long as there’s money to be made, expect more and more companies to make the move to cannabis.
Can Your Brand Compete?
Like it or not, the commercialization of cannabis is shaping the future of this industry. If your business is going to stand a chance against these billion-dollar brands, you can’t afford to wait for their products to reach dispensary shelves. Now’s the time to connect with consumers via a memorable marketing message and a highly visible online presence. If you don’t want to get left in the dust, count on 4Blooms.Guru to help you every step of the way.