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Maker of Arizona Iced Tea Reportedly Entering Cannabis Industry

Can we get ready for vapes with classic Arizona Iced Tea labels?

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As the panorama of cannabis products on the market continues to widen, a major beverage company is stepping into the fray; a Wall Street Journal article announced Wednesday that Arizona Iced Tea is entering into a $10 million deal with a major Denver edibles company to sell cannabis-infused products.

Dixie Brands Inc. already sells marijuana products in five states. Sources say that its offerings in partnership with Arizona Iced Tea will start with vape pens and gummies, and move into beverages like tea, lemonade, seltzer, soda, and coffee. Sales would begin in the United States, and then expand to Canada and Latin America, if all goes according to plan. The deal, which would entail Arizona buying a large stake in Dixie, is still waiting on the go-ahead from Dixie’s board.

The venture is not the only unique marketing turn that has been followed by the company of late. In July, Arizona Iced Tea launched a pop-up with Adidas, in which it sold tea-branded sneakers for 99 cents. The event was massively popular, with long lines forming before the pop-up opened its doors. But tragedy struck when a 15 year old and a 17 year old were assaulted, and NYPD shut down the event before it had a chance to open its doors. Hopefully the cannabis beverage project goes closer to plan.

Arizona Iced Tea is far from the first major beverage company that has announced its interest in entering the cannabis and CBD markets, though it is the first international corporation that has announced plans to sell cannabis beverages in the United States before the drug is federally legalized. The parent company of Svedka vodka and Mondavi wine made a $4 billion equity investment in Canopy Growth Corp., and Walmart also made headlines with an announcement that it would be investigating CBD products.

In 2018, Coca Cola joined in the chorus of canna-beverage hopefuls, announcing that it was in “serious talks” with Aurora Cannabis regarding the possibility of selling a CBD “recovery” drink. Molson Coors has also discussed its plans to partner with Canadian marijuana producer Hexo Corp. on a line of cannabis-infused drinks called Truss. The project will be aired at Coors’ next quarterly call, and will apparently hit the market when the products get legal clearance, which the companies hope will be later this year.

“Truss’s portfolio of brands will taste great and be scalable because of its infusion technology and flavouring capabilities within its Belleville, Ontario, facility,” said outgoing Molson Coors CEO Mark Hunter. “And Truss’s portfolio will meet an array of consumer occasions.”

California beer company Lagunitas (owned by Heineken) became an early entrant into the cannabis beverage market when it released its Hi-Fi Hops, a mineral water infused with cannabis that comes in 5mg THC and 10mg THC editions.

But not everything may be as rosy in the cannabis beverage market as some of these mega-brands would have you believe. A recent investigation into the market’s “sunny investor forecasts” by Amanda Chicago Lewis looked into some of the limits of the appeal of drinkable marijuana.

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