DENVER, Colo., May 13, 2019- (24/7MarketNews via COMTEX)- Thanks to one of the key provisions in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, hemp is being fast-tracked and seasoned beverage players, including Constellation Brands, Canopy Growth Corp, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Tilray Inc., Iconic Brands, and New Age Beverages Corporation, are positioned to ride the hemp infused beverage wave.
In anticipation of President Trump signing the “farm bill” into law, in December 2018, which reclassified cannabis, or any derivative thereof, with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) level below 0.3%, on a dry-weight basis, as hemp, Corona’s Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ) fired the shot, in the CBD-infused beverage war, by investing $4 billion in Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC) (TSX:WEED), last November.
The move was in large part due to, of the various hemp vehicles, the hemp infused beverage market being projected to become one of the fastest growing segments.
The quickly changing landscape caused many observers to recalibrate their hemp market calculations to drastically change. One of most widely publicized projections was covered by Rolling Stone, which stated that “according to a new estimate from cannabis industry analysts the Brightfield Group, the hemp-CBD market alone could hit $22 billion by 2022.”
Although some experts and detractors criticize the estimate, because it contradicts the conventional wisdom that the cannabis industry, which many predict the American market hitting $20 billion, by 2020, will be the larger industry, the fact is that, since industrial hemp and hemp derivatives are no longer Schedule 1 federally controlled substances, the hemp market has a clearer path to quicker and wider market penetration.
The space’s next move, in December 2018, was Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE:BUD) teaming up with Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY), which called on each company to invest up to $50 million in a research partnership, currently limited to Canada, for non-alcoholic cannabis-infused beverages.
By January, Canopy Growth announced that it’s investing $100-150 million, “to develop a Hemp Industrial Park in New York”.
Iconic Brands (OTCQB:ICNB), which specializes in developing alcoholic beverages, including “Celebrity Branding” and private label spirits for established chains and brands, domestically and internationally, just closed its merger with Green Grow Farms, LLC. Iconic plans on developing liquor based products, infused with Hemp and CBD, to the extent that the law allows.
The merger goal is to process one million pounds of Green Grow’s farming operations biomass into approximately 40,000 kilograms of CBD Isolate, for 2019, and multiply that amount next year. Based on the current stated isolate wholesale market rates, of between $5,000 and $7500 per kilogram, the merged companies could generate $100-150 million in revenues, as soon as this year, with exponential growth thereafter.
The Federal government has been hazy, but the industry is looking to kick the door down this year, as evidenced by New Age Beverages Corporation (NASDAQ:NBEV), which was one of the first to position to enter the space, in 2017, by partnering up with Marley brand licensing of CBD infused “Marley Mellow Mood”. The agreement was just extended until 2030 and New Age expects to commercialize the full Marley portfolio of beverages this year.
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