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Impact Seminar: Canopy Growth CEO David Klein On The Future Of Cannabis Drinks

October 5, 2021

Canopy Growth CEO David Klein spoke last week at M. Shanken Communications’ 45th Annual Impact Marketing Seminar, delivering a talk on “The Extraordinary Potential of Cannabis Beverages.” Prior to taking the reins at Canopy Growth, Klein was the CFO of Constellation Brands and was instrumental in Constellation’s $4 billion investment in Canopy. During the talk, Klein described Canopy Growth’s vision for how cannabis can improve people’s lives, its approach to cannabis beverages, and the economic opportunity cannabis presents for the beverage alcohol industry.

Beginning with how cannabis can contribute to well-being, Klein noted that its use helping people socialize and bond has a history as long as beverage alcohol’s, dating back thousands of years. Now however, Canopy’s technical capabilities allow it to separate the various cannabinoids in the plant and recombine them for specific effects. “That’s the opportunity we have with cannabis drinks,” Klein said. “We can create very different experiences for our consumers.”

This led Klein to Canopy’s vision of 24-hour mood management. With so many effects possible, cannabis products can have a place at more times of day, for more different purposes than simply getting high. CBD during the day could help with focus or workout recovery, while a THC drink for evening socializing could be followed with CBN before bed for deep sleep. “We see cannabis sitting at the intersection of total wellness,” Klein said. “And we see it across day parts, especially if we can use different formats—drinks and edibles—in addition to inhalable formats.”

Speaking to the business opportunity all this represents, Klein observed that cannabis is a $50 billion industry in the U.S., including both the licit and illicit market. “In fact, a lot of the growth you see in the licit market today is really just stealing share from the illicit market,” he said. “I also think that figure probably can double. If it did, that would make it somewhat on par with the beer industry in the U.S.”

With regard to drinks, Klein told the Seminar audience that he sees beverages as the key to unlocking the entire category for new consumers. “Drinks are key to bringing individuals into this category because it’s a familiar format,” he said. “It’s familiar, they understand the can or bottle packaging concept, great flavor profiles, and the ritual of drinking.” The entire cannabis beverage market is expected to be about $2.8 billion by 2025, Klein said, with CBD drinks in the U.S. at $1.5 billion.—Danny Sullivan

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