Molson Coors launches first US CBD drink line

Dive Brief:

  • Truss CBD USA, a joint venture majority owned by Molson Coors Beverage Company and operated with Canadian cannabis producer Hexo, announced the U.S. launch of Veryvell, a line of sparkling, nonalcoholic CBD drinks. The beverage line will be available exclusively in Colorado.
  • The company describes Veryvell as a hemp-derived, adaptogenic, sparkling CBD water with no calories or sugar. Veryvell is available to consumers online and at select retailers in three flavors: grapefruit tarragon, strawberry hibiscus and blueberry lavender.
  • This is the first CBD beverage line that the beer giant is bringing to the U.S. Veryvell is already sold in Canada, along with four other brands from the Hexo partnership. But this line is different from the one in Canada since the U.S. Veryvell drinks only have CBD, not THC.

Dive Insight:

The race for big beverage companies to launch cannabis-infused drinks in the U.S. is on and Molson Coors is hoping to secure an early-mover advantage with this Colorado launch. In April, Molson Coors and Hexo announced their joint venture Truss CBS USA was exploring opportunities for non-alcohol hemp-derived CBD beverages in Colorado. In less than a year, the companies are now launching its Veryvell​ line. 

Pete Marino, president of the emerging growth division for Molson Coors, told Bloomberg News that the company is looking to create a mega-brand in three years and will be discussing later this year whether to expand to more regions.

Hexo and Molson originally formed a partnership to launch beverages in Canada, which started to allow CBD-infused beverages and edibles on shelves in December 2019. That year, Truss Beverage Co., also the name for the joint venture between Molson Coors Canada and Hexo, partnered with Flow Glow Beverages to make and distribute CBD-infused spring water in Canada. The company later added additional brands to its Canadian portfolio. 

Molson seems to be moving quickly on its U.S. launch as it faces increased competition from other beverage giants and Canadian companies in the new year. Canopy Growth, which is backed by U.S. alcohol giant Constellation Brands, said it will be launching cannabis-infused beverages in legal-use markets in California and Illinois this year through its partnership with Acreage Holdings. Additionally, Canada-based cannabis company Aphria bought U.S. craft beer company Sweetwater Brewing Co. for $300 million last year, and then merged with Tilray, which is a partner of AB InBev. Launching Veryvell now could give Molson Coors an advantage in an increasingly crowded market that is expected to grow even more if there is regulatory clarity from the FDA. 

This launch also continues Molson’s strategy of growth for its portfolio. Marino said in a statement that the company is trying to “grow in new spaces beyond the beer aisle.” Starting in January of last year, as part of a reorganization, the company dropped Brewing Co. from its name and changed it to Molson Coors Beverage Company.

Since then, Molson has been working to diversify its offerings with nonalcoholic drinks, including an investment in ZenWTR, a distribution agreement with La Colombe for their RTD line of canned coffees and a stake in nonalcoholic beverage incubator L.A. Libations. This week, Molson Coors also signed an exclusive distribution deal to launch ZOA, a nonalcoholic energy drink made with better-for-you ingredients. Molson Coors has also expanded its alcoholic portfolio beyond the typical brew by launching vitamin C-enhanced hard seltzer brand Vizzy and agreeing to manufacture and distribute Topo Chico Hard Seltzer in the U.S. with Coca-Cola.