Photo for: Cheers! Why the Future of Cannabis is in Beverages


Cheers! Why the Future of Cannabis is in Beverages

Hill Street Beverage CEO, Terence Donnelly will explain why cannabis-infused beverages are ready to take off as a new product category


Terence Donnelly Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Hill Street Beverage Company

The legalization of cannabis in Canada is already having an impact on beverage producers, with many of them now eager to test out new cannabis-infused beverages as a way of winning over Canadian consumers. In fact, says Hill Street Beverage CEO Terence Donnelly, cannabis-infused beverages will be the primary way that Canadians will use cannabis post-legalization. At the upcoming Cannabis Drinks Expo in San Francisco, Donnelly will highlight what companies should be doing now to prepare for this coming wave of cannabis-infused beverages in the marketplace.

Most notably, says Donnelly, the cannabis industry has already started to make significant investments in the beverage space. For example, his company - Hill Street Beverage Co. – recently announced three new partnerships with other companies specializing in technology, packaging and compliance support. These partnerships are part of a broader initiative to be one of the Canadian companies at the forefront of the cannabis drinks product category.

A partnership with Lexaria Bioscience Corporation, for example, will give Toronto-based Hill Street Beverage unprecedented ability to infuse wine and beer products with cannabis, as well as to provide those same types of services to Ontario wineries and breweries. Another partnership, this one with Vin First Innovative Packaging, will enable the company to bring these products to market in a variety of different formats. And finally, given the importance of regulatory compliance to any company within the cannabis drinks space, Hill Street Beverage also partnered with Cannabis Compliance Inc., which specializes in licensing and compliance.

The goal now is to leverage these partnerships with the company’s current inventory of alcohol-free products, in order to bring innovative new products to market. For example, Hill Street Beverage already offers a premium collection of award-winning, alcohol-free wines (Vintense Wines, VinZero Wines), as well as a bestselling alcohol-free craft beer (Hill Street Lager). It’s only a matter of time, says Donnelly, that his company will be able to produce a line of cannabis-infused beverages, including both beer and wine products. On the Hill Street Beverage website, for example, consumers are told that these products will be coming in Fall 2019.

So what steps can you take now in order to also get in on this trend? As part of his presentation at the Cannabis Drinks Expo, Donnelly will explain how licensed producers and investors can participate in the growth of the segment. Drawing on his more than 30 years of experience in marketing and advertising, he will also explain exactly how to market these products to consumers in a way that is compliant with state and federal guidelines.

The key factor to keep in mind, says Donnelly, is that wineries and breweries are showing a real interest to test out new technologies and creative packaging innovations. If your company is not getting involved in the cannabis-infused drinks category, it’s likely your competitors are. With that in mind, you need to make sure that you are at the forefront of your industry, and not playing a game of catch-up. If you are curious about ways to take advantage of the unique new opportunities involving cannabis-infused beverages, you will want to attend the upcoming Cannabis Drinks Expo in San Francisco.