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Curaleaf Chairman Sees Cannabis Beverages Taking 50% Share In Five To 10 Years

September 20, 2022

Cannabis beverages have only a small share of the overall category to date, but that is likely to change according to one of the top executives in the business.

Boris Jordan, executive chairman of multistate operator Curaleaf—which had revenues of $1.2 billion last year—told last week’s Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference that he sees beverages attaining a 50% share of the total category within five to 10 years.“Beverages are the big prize,” he said. “We just launched our first seltzer in Massachusetts on a test basis, and it sold out immediately. The problem with beverages is you have to build a lot of infrastructure—so you can only build out in states that have a high-density population to justify the investment. Endless Coast is our brand of seltzer. We’re going to take that into other states now as they allow beverages.”

In addition to Endless Coast, Curaleaf is continuing to expand its portfolio with new products and rebrands across its range. “We are focused very much on our own brands,” Jordan noted. “We operate with Select, Grassroots, Curaleaf, Plant Precision, and we’ll continue to bring more and more.”

Further investment is also on the way in the retail segment. “We are going to continue to invest in retail and wholesale distribution,” said Jordan. “Curaleaf is split between its wholesale and retail business about 70-30.” And he added that opportunistic acquisitions are also likely to continue depending on the market. “Curaleaf right now is really focused on tuck-in acquisitions. In many states we still can do that.”

Asked about the involvement of bigger CPG companies from outside the business entering cannabis in the coming years, he opined, “I really think the only strategics that are really focused on this industry for the time being are the drinks companies. They see the opportunity in this area, and I think they really want to be involved … But the minute we get a rescheduling, tobacco companies are going to be known as cannabis companies. They are dying to get out of that business. They see themselves in this sector. But they also understand that they could ruin it if they try to get in now, because they would cause a tremendous amount of dissent in Washington if they tried to get in (before federal legalization).”

Finally, turning to the prospect of federal legislation occurring before the end of the current Congress, Jordan said he believed it would be a topic for the post-election lame duck session. “We have never been closer to getting real cannabis legislation at the federal level. This could be something that breaks the glass ceiling. I’m an optimist, but I really think we’re going to get something.”—Daniel Marsteller

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