Paul Weaver: The Boston Beer Company's Head of Cannabis On How To Grow The Category
Focusing on making better-tasting products is the most important thing we can do to help grow the category as far as product development goes.
Paul Weaver is a passionate innovator and product developer with over a decade of experience across the alcohol and cannabis industries. He is the Director, Head of Cannabis at The Boston Beer Company, where he leads the Company’s Canadian cannabis division. In 2022, Boston Beer launched TeaPot, a line of refreshing THC-infused iced teas blending specific strains with specific varietals of tea. Prior to joining Boston Beer, Paul was Director of Innovation at Canopy Growth Corporation and previously served as Senior Manager of Innovation at Molson Coors Beverage Company. Paul believes cannabis to be a force for good in the world and dedicates his career to bringing high-quality products to new consumers in a safe, friendly, and consistent manner. He and his family live in Downtown Toronto.
Your Place Of Work
Tell us a little about your background and journey into Cannabis
It’s been a serendipitous journey that led me to Boston Beer. I started in the beer industry with Molson Coors in 2011 becoming their Senior Manager of Innovation. Then in 2017, prior to Canada legalizing adult use, I joined Canopy Growth Corporation as their Director of Innovation. At Canopy, I led the launch of Canada’s first (legal) THC beverage. Then in 2021, I put my two careers together as the Head of Cannabis for The Boston Beer Company.
Explain your current role
In the simplest terms, I am responsible for the research, development, and sale of cannabis beverages for the company. Boston Beer is the brewer behind hits like Sam Adams, Truly Hard Seltzer, Twisted Tea, and Angry Orchard (name drop) so there are some pretty big shoes to fill.
What trends do you see in cannabis beverages?
Better tasting, higher quality drinks! The bar keeps rising.
Image : Boston Beer Co. Launches TeaPot, Cannabis-Infused Iced Tea
What tips do you have on growing the category when it comes to product development?
The taste is 10x more important than anything else.
What are the 3 things that we can educate end consumers more on in growing end-consumer awareness?
1) Weed drinks exist. 2) Weed drinks don’t taste or smell like weed. 3) Weed drinks are a fun and effective adult beverage.
Which states / markets do you think present good growth opportunities for cannabis beverages in 2023-2024
Massachusetts and Canada ;)
What do you think are the current challenges in the cannabis beverage category
Taste. Awareness. Dispensary Distribution.
If you were to give advice to a first-time cannabis beverage consumer, what tips would you give?
A first-time consumer? Start low, go slow, and watch Carl Sagan. You’re good.
Your favourite cannabis beverage brands?
Check out TeaPot first. Then try Sweet Justice, Señorita, and Zèle.
What do you look for when you purchase a cannabis beverage brand?
The flavour then THC potency.
Any out-of-the-box ideas you have for bud-tenders in promoting and educating the cannabis beverage category?
Dry mouth is real.
If you were to make a new cannabis beverage today? What sort of product would you make and why
I have no comment, stay tuned.
If you were to market and distribute that cannabis beverage, what would be your top 3 areas you would focus on?
Flavour first, then packaging, then the (obnoxious) listing process for the market I want to sell it.
Paul will also be speaking at the Cannabis Drinks Expo San Francisco on July 27 and you can secure your tickets here. The 2023 show will focus on helping anyone looking to get into the category learn and develop new products, it will help existing brands expand into other states by meeting other state manufacturers. It will help retailers and distributors find unique new brands and also develop their store-own brands, it will find new ways cannabis beverages can be marketed and sold.
There will be 16 speakers that will take the stage between 8 keynotes and 2 panels during the day giving it an action-pack learning experience along with the expo floor.