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Waterloo Brewing gets green light to craft cannabis drinks

Ontario’s largest Canadian-owned brewing company is one step closer to developing a dope line of cannabis drinks.  

Waterloo Brewing announced today it has secured its research license from Health Canada to develop cannabis-infused beverages (CIBs).

“The cannabis market has garnered a great deal of investor interest and after an in-depth review of our strategic options, the company is positioning itself to be a major producer of CIBs and to take full advantage of this new and developing beverage category,” said Waterloo Brewing president, George Croft. “We plan to be the production partner of choice for the beverage cannabis business.”

Last year, the company discussed CIBs with several licensed cannabis producers but details from those discussions have yet to emerge. The market for CIBs is estimated to be $1.5 billion and some large beverage companies have wasted no time getting in.

Beverage companies seeing green in the lead-up to legal cannabis drinks 

  • Molson Coors partnered with Quebec-based Hexo in June to make a variety of non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused drinks for the Canadian market.
  • In 2018 Constellation Brands invested $4 billion in Ontario pot producer, Canopy.
  • The world’s largest brewer, AB InBev, entered into a $100 million partnership with Canadian Cannabis grower, Tilray, to research CIBs.
  • This spring Vancouver’s Sproutly partnered with New Brunswick-based Moosehead to produce cannabis drinks
  • Nextleaf and BevCanna, a bottling facility in BC, have signed a Letter of Intent for R&D and supply purposes.

With many technical infrastructure issues related to the licensing and commercial production of CIBs, Waterloo Brewing COO, Russell Tabata said the company may be one of few beverage production facilities capable of producing cannabis drinks.

“We have the equipment, the scale, the technical know-how and the speed to be able to pull this off in this extremely tight timeframe,” said Tabata. The company is on track to produce its brand of CIBs by 2020.

Waterloo Brewing is a regional brewer of award-winning premium quality and value beers. Additionally, the company is certified under the Global Food Safety Standard.

Founded in 1984, Waterloo Brewing is Ontario’s first craft brewery, credited with pioneering the present-day craft brewing renaissance in Canada. 

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