Southern Glazer’s Canadian unit, Great North Distributors, signed with medical marijuana producer Aphria to distribute its adult-use cannabis products throughout Canada, following the legalization of recreational use, which is expected later this year.
“With this agreement, Aphria has established an unparalleled sales network and will hit the ground running from the very first day of legal adult-use sales,” said Jakob Ripshtein, chief commercial officer of Aphria. Prior to joining the Ontario-based company in May, Ripshtein was Diageo North America’s chief financial officer. He also has a background in Canada’s pharmaceutical sector.
Great North distributes to every Canadian province from the most populated cities “to the most remote locations,” and under the agreement with Aphria it will create a sales team dedicated to cannabis, Southern Glazer’s said.
“Our decision to become the first beverage alcohol distributor to facilitate the legal distribution of cannabis in Canada reinforces our innovative, first-mover position in the industry,” said Doug Wieland, executive vice president of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Canada.
Meanwhile, Constellation Brands is developing beverages containing cannabis, according to its CEO, Rob Sands. He told Wine Enthusiast that Constellation Brands had taken a 20% stake in Canopy Growth, a publicly traded Canadian company, and expects to be offering beverages containing marijuana in countries where it is legal to do so.
Constellation had originally bought less than 10% of the company, which trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WEED. Its share price has soared more than 115% since the purchase became public in October. It closed on Thursday at C$33.14 (US$25.88). Canopy Growth expects to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange next month.