AB InBev said yesterday that the partnership was limited to Canada and decisions regarding the commercialisation of the beverages would be made in the future. File Photo: IOL
The World’s leading brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), has teamed up with Canada’s Tilray to research cannabis-infused drinks by investing a combined $100million (R1.42billion) into researching non-alcoholic drinks containing cannabis elements.

Tilray, a global pioneer in cannabis production and distribution, announced a partnership with AB InBev to research non-alcohol beverages containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).

AB InBev said yesterday that the partnership was limited to Canada and decisions regarding the commercialisation of the beverages would be made in the future.

Canada legalised the use of marijuana in October, and adults are allowed to buy, use, possess and grow recreational marijuana.

AB InBev will participate through its subsidiary, Labatt Breweries of Canada, while Tilray will participate through its Canadian adult-use cannabis subsidiary, High Park Company.

High Park Company develops, sells and distributes a portfolio of socially responsible cannabis brands and products in Canada.

Labatt Breweries of Canada president Kyle Norrington said Labatt was committed to staying ahead of emerging consumer trends.

“As consumers in Canada explore THC and CBD-infused products, our innovative drive is matched only by our commitment to the highest standards of product quality and responsible marketing. We intend to develop a deeper understanding of non-alcohol beverages containing THC and CBD that will guide future decisions about potential commercial opportunities,” Norrington said.

AB InBev’s brands include Budweiser, Corona and Stella Artois, and the brewer introduced two Belgian beers, Leffe Blonde and Hoegaarden, into the South African market on Wednesday.

Brendan Kennedy, a chief executive of Tilray, said they were delighted to be joining forces with AB InBev to research how to create enjoyable cannabis beverage products.

“Tilray and AB InBev share a commitment to responsible product development and marketing, and we look forward to beginning our work on this important partnership as Tilray continues to pioneer the development of a professional, transparent and well-regulated cannabis industry,” Kennedy said.

InBev and Tilray are confident of the success based on the strong track records of responsible product development and marketing in their respective industries.

Both companies believe that the legal market for THC and CBD beverages will only thrive if the industry embraces appropriate regulation of adult-use cannabis.

Wandile Sihlobo, an agricultural economist and head of agribusiness research at the Agricultural Business Chamber, said countries such as Canada are making great strides in exploiting cannabis for economic purposes.

“Given that South Africa has an exceptionally high unemployment rate at 27.5percent, any industry that promises job creation should receive some attention from policymakers.

“Be that as it may, the economic prospects must be balanced with the need to ensure public safety. In this regard, legal development is required to specify the conditions under which a responsible cannabis industry can be developed,” Sihlobo said.