Constellation Brands is on a buying spree. A few months ago, the beverage distributor purchased South Florida's Funky Buddha Brewery for an undisclosed sum.
Now, Constellation has announced plans to become an active part of the legal cannabis market. The company plans to acquire a minority stake in Canopy Growth Corporation. The Canadian firm is traded on the Toronto stock exchange under the symbol WEED and owns several brands including Tweed, a mega marijuana production company. Constellation confirmed the transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of 2018, resulting in a 9.9 percent ownership interest in Canopy for approximately $245 million.
In a news release, Constellation noted the investment is part of its "long-term strategy to identify, meet, and stay ahead of evolving consumer trends and market dynamics, while maintaining focus on its core total beverage alcohol business."
That strategy could mean, according to CNBC, the development of a line of cannabis-infused beverages. In addition to Funky Buddha, the beverage company's portfolio includes Corona beer, Svedka vodka, Casa Noble tequila, High West distillery, and popular winemakers such as Kim Crawford, Alice White, and Mark West.
Will Funky Buddha become a test brewer for cannabis-infused beer? So far, there's no indication, though the Oakland Park brewery could easily be turned into a test facility of sorts. Any action — or announcement of intent — seems to be far off. Funky Buddha did not immediately respond to New Times' request for comment.
Though the announcement stated the company has no plans to sell cannabis products in the United States or any other market "unless or until it is legally permissible to do so at all government levels," purchasing a piece of Canopy Growth Corporation allows the beverage distributor to begin research and development on various products, giving the company an edge as laws change.
In a statement, Constellation Brands president and CEO Rob Sands believes the transaction with Canopy Growth places his company in a pivotal position in the emerging cannabis market. “Canopy Growth has a seasoned leadership team that understands the legal, regulatory, and economic landscape for an emerging market that is predicted to become a significant consumer category in the future," Sands says. "Our company’s success is the result of our focus on identifying early-stage consumer trends, and this is another step in that direction.”