Sorry, beer stock bulls. Don’t expect Budweiser-maker Anheuser-Busch InBev to rush into the cannabis-infused drink space with out carefully doing its homework.
“We keep looking in that [cannabis] space. The challenges in the space come down to research and development and making sure that it could be done in a way that it tastes great for people,” Ricardo Marques, group vice president of core and value brands at Anheuser-Busch, said on Yahoo Finance’s ‘The First Trade’ on Friday.
Marijuana not being federally legal is also a key consideration, as are the effects on the body when added to beer.
Nevertheless, Anheuser-Busch InBev set the stage in Dec. 2018 for making a foray into cannabis-infused drinks. The beer maker inked a research partnership with upstart Canadian cannabis producer Tilray.
The joint venture will see each company invest $50 million to research drinks infused with THC or CBD. THC is the compound that generates psychoactive effects. CBD doesn’t have those properties, but some believe it has health benefits.
Marques declined to comment on the progress so far between the two companies or when a cannabis-infused drink would arrive.
No doubt both companies smell potential.
The U.S. market for cannabis- and hemp-infused drinks could grow to over $1.4 billion by 2024, according to food and drink consultancy Zenith Global. Sales for these lines of products only hit $89 million in 2018.