Truss CBD USA, a joint venture of Molson Coors and Canadian cannabis company Hexo Corp, is wading slowly into the U.S. market with Verywell, a line of three flavored sparkling waters, each with 20 milligrams of hemp-derived CBD. The drinks are now available in select stores around Colorado and online.
Truss USA general manager Jane Armstrong Hockman says that choosing Colorado for the brand's American launch was a strategic move because of the state's cannabis and CBD product-manufacturing laws, which are relatively loose compared to those in the rest of the country.
"Colorado has an established regulatory framework in place that covers the production, marketing, labeling and sale of CBD-infused products. The joint venture will approach this opportunity in full alignment with our commitment to commercial responsibility, transparency and compliance," Armstrong Hockman says.
Molson Coors and Hexo already have some experience with cannabis drinks, having joined Canada's CBD beverage lineup in 2019, and the regulated marijuana space in 2020. Truss USA's counterpart in Canada, Truss Beverages, currently sells five lines of THC-infused drinks, including a version of Verywell. However, Armstrong Hockman says that the companies "are two separate entities," and that the U.S. branch is only exploring CBD "right now."
She didn't completely shut down the idea of bringing Truss THC drinks to America one day, though. "As appropriately based on legal and regulatory frameworks, Truss CBD USA will continue to assess the brands in the Truss Beverages [Canada] portfolio for the U.S. consumer," she says.
Molson Coors has been sniffing around the marijuana market for several years now, calling legal marijuana a "risk factor" for beer business in a 2018 10-k filing. However, in the same filing, Molson Coors said it was looking into the Canadian cannabis market for potential revenue diversification, and the company announced a partnership with Hexo months later.
"This is part of the strategy to revitalize Molson Coors and grow beyond the beer aisle with wine and spirits, non-alcoholic drinks and cannabis beverages. CBD beverages are a growing segment within the non-alcoholic beverage category, and this joint venture provides us an opportunity to build capabilities in Colorado," Armstrong Hockman says of the most recent move.
The Verywell drinks come in grapefruit-tarragon, strawberry-hibiscus and blueberry-lavender flavors, bearing the names Focus, Mind & Body and Unwind. In addition to CBD, they contain supplemental ingredients like ginseng, guarana, ashwagandha, elderberry and L-theanine to impact energy and mood, according to the company.