Boston Beer brings cannabis-infused iced teas north

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The maker of Twisted Tea and Sam Adams is launching Teapot here as it awaits U.S. regulatory progress.

The Boston Beer Company is looking to make a splash in the Canadian cannabis-infused beverage space with its own endeavour into the category, an iced tea product it calls TeaPot.

The cannabis-infused beverage market sits at an approximated value of around $100 million, and includes players such as Truss – a leader in the space – as well as the Collective Project, an offshoot of Collective Arts, and Averi. The Boston Beer Company is now wading in north of the border, looking to “deliberately develop a cannabis beverage pipeline here in Canada while we await regulatory progress in the U.S.,” says Paul Weaver, director and head of cannabis with the company.

“Our aspirations as a company are to continue to expand, and our mission as a company is to be the world’s most innovative beverage company, and that extends beyond alcohol,” he explains.

“We know that right now, consumers’ relationships with alcohol is evolving and, meanwhile, around the world access to and acceptance of cannabis is expanding. We see American cannabis legalization as all but inevitable … so the timing is right for us to really take our time in Canada where the market is federally regulated and extend our product development capabilities into cannabis.”

But it isn’t easy to market within the tightly-regulated Canadian cannabis space, where attractive packaging and strong brand visualization is made difficult by regulations on what the products can look like. That means, Weaver says, “you really have to have an excellent drink to stand out.”

TeaPot2 (1)

“It’s not easy to execute, but our strategy is simple enough: we want to make an amazing-tasting drink, and we have to design the branding in such a way that it entices new consumers to actually want to walk into a dispensary. We want TeaPot to be the first cannabis product our consumers have ever bought on their own,” he adds.

In that respect, Boston Beer feels it has hit on something special – but it is also going the extra mile and doing “the little things to get props from the OGs.”

“We have to acknowledge the budtender in the shopping experience, because they are the gatekeeper and own the last 10 feet,” says Weaver.

“We provide in-store education and selling tools there, and we use high-quality ingredients like real tea and single-strain extracts to give budtenders something to talk about and promote when they’re talking about our drink. And we host tours of our production facility in Windsor, and samplings of the drink there on site for budtenders.”

“We know not everyone working in the cannabis industry necessarily loves alcohol companies, and we have to be mindful of the nuance,” he expounds.

“But we do everything we can to be undeniably dope.”

The brand intends to court those who are looking for a way to bring cannabis into their social occasions.

“We know both intuitively and data-wise that cannabis beverages are the most social form of cannabis consumption. They’re most likely to be consumed in groups of five or more, they’re very inclusive and not about the intimidating form factors and paraphernalia,” Weaver says.

“It’s not about the solitary stoner going outside and then coming back to join the party – these beverages are part of the party. They’re welcome in the occasion.”

The creative vision for TeaPot was led by Meghan Andersen, CD at Boston Beer. Toronto’s Arrivals & Departures developed its website, while Stout Design in San Francisco developed the brand and logo. Craft is leading PR and influencer relations for the Canadian launch.

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