Collective Arts branching out into pot-infused drinks

One of Hamilton’s premier craft beer brewers has its sights set on a new frontier: cannabis-infused drinks.
The federal government is anticipated to allow the sale of edibles in October. (Canadian Press)

One of Hamilton's premier craft beer brewers has its sights set on a new frontier: cannabis-infused drinks.

Collective Arts announced Monday that it plans to launch a line of cannabis and hemp-infused drinks in Canada and the U.S.

The group said in a statement the drinks will be sold under a sister company starting in late 2019, "pending anticipated government approvals for cannabis and hemp products."

"We push the boundaries when it comes to making beer and cider, and now cannabis; creativity, quality, and our relationships with our artists are at the core of what we do," said Matt Johnston, CEO and co-founder of Collective Arts," in a statement. "Moving into a territory such as infused cannabis beverages gives us an ideal palate to be innovative, and also creates a new format for social experiences outside of alcohol."

Edibles are expected to be on the legal market by October 17, 2019, and could be a lucrative business.

Collective Arts Brewing Co-Founders Matt Johnston, left, and Bob Russell. (John Rieti/CBC) ( John Rieti/CBC)

Regulation proposal documents from the federal government point to a recent report on U.S. sales, noting an average of 43 per cent of the total cannabis market in Colorado, California, and Oregon between January and July of 2018 consisted of cannabis products other than dried cannabis.

"Assuming the trend is consistent in Canada, the new classes of cannabis will likely represent over time a significant portion of the total market," the regulations read.

Under the proposed regulations:

  • Edibles must be "shelf stable" and not require refrigeration or freezing.
  • Edibles must offer consumers nutritional information, including ingredients and a best-before date
  • Naturally occurring caffeine in items like chocolate, tea or coffee is allowed, but the use of caffeine as an additive is prohibited.
  • Extracts can contain flavouring agents, but no sugars, sweeteners or sweetening agents.
  • Flavours that appeal to youth, such as dessert or confectionery flavours, are banned on packaging and labelling of cannabis extracts.
  • Use of meat products, poultry or fish is banned, unless it is dried by someone authorized under provincial or territorial law.
  • Forms that pose a greater risk to health, such as eyedrops or needles, will be prohibited.


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