Molson Coors and Hexo Joint Venture Launches Cannabis-Infused Beverages in Canada

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A joint venture backed by Canadian cannabis firm Hexo Corp. and beer maker Molson Coors has announced the launch of several new cannabis-infused beverages across Canada.

In a news release, the two companies said five CBD and THC-infused beverage brands have begun rolling out across Canada in hopes of appealing to canna-curious consumers that don’t want to inhale.

The Molson-Hexo JV — which is called Truss Beverage Co. and was first established in 2018 — cited May research from DIG Insights which found that 71% of Canadians view smoking as “the primary barrier to consuming cannabis.”

The five new brands, most of which are low-dose and contain between 2.5 mg and 5 mg of both THC and CBD, will look to compete with a handful of cannabis-infused offerings already being sold by competing Canadian marijuana firms, including Canopy Growth Corporation (backed by Constellation Brands) and Tilray (backed by Anheuser-Busch InBev), among others.

In a news release, Truss Beverage president and CEO Scott Cooper — who previously spent 12 years with Molson Coors and most recently served as the company’s global chief innovation officer — said the current portfolio of 16 SKUs is “designed to bring adult Canadians products that taste great and provide the consistent experience they need to enjoy responsibly.”

The five non-alcoholic brands include the House of Terpenes, Little Victory, Mollo, Verywell and XMG labels, and are sold individually.

Though packaged in similar bottles, the House of Terpenes drinks are described as “sparkling tonics” infused with “botanically sourced terpenes,” while the Little Victory offerings are considered “naturally flavored” beverages.

There are two House of Terpenes SKUd — one that incorporates myrcene and another that has limonene — each containing 5 mg of THC and 5 mg of CBD. Meanwhile, the Little Victory drinks contain 2.5 mg of THC and 2.5 mg of CBD, and come in four flavors: dry grapefruit, dry lemon, sparkling dark cherry, and sparkling blood orange.

A third brand, Mollo, resembles a beer and is packaged in stubby brown bottles. Its flavor profile is described as “crisp with an easy drinking taste.” There are two SKUs — both formulated to contain equal parts of THC and CBD — containing 2.5 mg and 5 mg, respectively.

A fourth product line, called Verywell, includes a lemon black iced tea with 2.5 mg (each) of CBD and THC, as well as a line of extract drops.

Truss Beverage’s most potent offering, a noncarbonated and canned drink called XMG, contains 10 mg of THC and comes in mango pineapple and tropical fruit flavors.

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According to a survey commissioned by Truss Beverage, 43% of consumers who tried an infused beverage did so because they could “still consume cannabis without smoking it.”

Similarly, the DIG Insights data shows that 74% of Canadians find “the smell of cannabis on their clothing” to be a problem.

The Truss survey also found that 76% of potential customers don’t consume cannabis because “traditional methods” do not offer enough control.

“This data shows just how ready Canadians are for a new cannabis experience that better fits their preferences and lifestyles,” Truss head of marketing Lori Hatcher said via the release. “Frankly, it shows how game changing cannabis beverages can be for consumers.”

Speaking to Molson Coors’ “Beer & Beyond” blog, Pete Marino — the president of the beverage company’s emerging growth division who also serves on the Truss board of directors — described the cannabis-infused beverage landscape in Canada as “an exciting new frontier.”

According to Deloitte, which last year examined the potential of the cannabis 2.0 (edibles, drinkables, vapes, etc.) market, infused beverages could be worth more than $400 million (C$529 million).

Indeed, earlier this month, Hexo competitor Canopy Growth — which was slow to release its Tweed-branded drinks after 2.0 products were legalized last December — revealed that 1.2 million infused beverage units had already been shipped across Canada since March.

Beyond those who don’t like sparking up, who are the most likely consumers of cannabis-infused beverages?

During a call with investors and analysts this month, Canopy CEO David Klein indicated that his company was actively looking to recruit beer drinkers.

“There’s an awful lot of units to be had by sourcing a small share from the beer market,” he said.

For its part, Molson Coors — which earlier this year rebranded from a “brewing” company to a “beverage company” — could be looking to do the same as it strives to deliver products that “focus on great taste, consistency and choice for consumers of legal age.”

Those aspirations might feel as if they were taken straight from the pages of an international beer company’s playbook, which should provide a clue as to how the Molson-Hexo JV is approaching the cannabis-infused beverage sector in Canada.

Speaking to BNN Bloomberg, Cooper said Truss views itself "more like a beverage company than a cannabis company." 

"We're coming at it from 'What are the beverage occasions and how can cannabis be part of those?'" he told the outlet. 

In the U.S., meanwhile, Molson Coors and Hexo have established a separate JV called Truss CBD USA that is tasked with exploring opportunities in the hemp-derived beverage category.

Additional information about the new Truss Beverage products is included in the release below.

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Truss Beverage Co. Reveals Portfolio of Cannabis Beverages for Canadians

TORONTO — When it comes to consuming cannabis, Canadians are starting to swap smoking for sipping. According to a new study from Truss Beverage Co., 71% of Canadians of legal age cite smoking as the primary barrier to consuming cannabis1, with 74% saying the smell of cannabis on their clothing is an issue1.

As the cannabis industry continues to evolve in Canada, the introduction of cannabis beverages has been a welcomed option. Today, Truss Beverage Co. took the industry to new heights, introducing one of the widest cannabis beverage portfolios in the Canadian market with five new brands.

Backed by 150 years of beverage experience, Truss Beverage Co. is committed to developing a range of cannabis beverages that focus on great taste, consistency and choice for consumers of legal age. The CBD and THC products are full of natural flavours that provide Canadians with a unique cannabis experience:

  • Little Victory: Vibrant, naturally flavoured sparkling beverages to toast to any of life’s little victories.
  • House of Terpenes: A range of sparkling tonics with botanically sourced terpenes that celebrate the flavours of cannabis.
  • Mollo: Crisp with an easy drinking taste.
  • Veryvell: A complete lineup of products to support your self-care journey.
  • XMG: Bold and high intensity flavoured beverages.

The Truss Beverage Co. portfolio has been developed with consumer input at every stage of development.

“We’re thrilled to be introducing Canadians to new beverage options and leading the cannabis beverage category with our variety of products,” said Scott Cooper, President and CEO, Truss Beverage Co. “This well-rounded portfolio is designed to bring adult Canadians products that taste great and provide the consistent experience they need to enjoy responsibly.”

The Truss Beverage lineup signals a new way to enjoy cannabis that Canadians have been waiting for. Data from Truss Beverage Co. studies of Canadians of legal age shows: 

43% of those who tried a beverage did so because it meant they could still consume cannabis but without smoking it. 2

A growing number of cannabis consumers (46% of light users) 1 choose cannabis in various formats as a way to have fun with friends.

However, one of the main barriers to enjoying cannabis in a social setting is the smell of smoking it, as 74% don’t like the lingering odor of cannabis flower. 1

76% don’t consume cannabis as they don’t feel that traditional methods offer enough control. 1

"At Truss, we’ve built our brands by listening to consumers, so it was important to us to hear directly from Canadians about what they’re looking for from their cannabis consumption experience,” said Lori Hatcher, Head of Marketing, Truss Beverage Co. “This data shows just how ready Canadians are for a new cannabis experience that better fits their preferences and lifestyles. Quite frankly, it shows how game changing cannabis beverages can be for consumers.”

Proudly made in Belleville, Ontario, each Truss Beverage product has been crafted to ensure a consistent and enjoyable experience for the consumer. All CBD and THC beverages within the portfolio offer a controlled dosage, with many having a low to medium dose of THC (2.5mg- 5mg), to be sipped responsibly. For Canadians starting to wonder about cannabis beverages, Truss Beverage Co. advises starting with a small amount and adjusting as necessary as everyone’s relationship with cannabis is personal to them.

Products from the Truss Beverage Co. portfolio have begun to roll out and will continue to do so throughout the next several months. To learn more, visit www.TrussBeverages.com.

About Truss Beverage Co.

Truss Beverage Co. is a joint venture between MolsonCoors Canada and HEXO Corp., a licensed producer of cannabis products in Canada; formed to lead innovation in the development of non-alcoholic, cannabis-beverages for the Canadian market. Produced through Truss/HEXO Cannabis Infused Beverages, a division of HEXO, the Truss portfolio will have a range of products for Canadian consumers of legal age, providing a variety of taste experiences for multiple beverage occasions.

Truss Beverage Co. will deliver on its promise to be the cannabis beverage specialist through extraordinary products and marketing that reinforces its commitment to responsible adult use.

1Cannabis Culture Report 2020: Cannabis Usage & Attitudes, DIG Insights, May 2020

2Findings of a survey conducted by Truss Beverage Co. from June 24, 2020 to June 26, 2020 with a nationally representative sample of 1,500 online Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum.

About the Angus Reid Forum:

The Angus Reid Forum is Canada’s most well-known and trusted online public opinion community consisting of engaged residents across the country who answer surveys on topical issues that matter to all Canadians.


Tags: Beverages

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