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Tilray and Anheuser-Busch InBev enter partnership to research cannabis drinks

The two companies will each invest up to $50 million to conduct research on non-alcoholic beverages containing the cannabis derivatives THC and CBD
cash and cannabis
The investigative work will prepare the companies for the commercial launch of cannabis drinks

Anheuser-Busch InBev SA (NYSE:BUD), the world's largest brewer, is taking a gamble on the cannabis market by entering a research partnership with Tilray Inc (NASDAQ:TLRY), the cannabis producer.

The new partnership will be forged via Anheuser’s Canadian subsidiary Labatt Breweries while Tilray will get involved through its subsidiary High Park Company. The two companies will each invest up to $50 million to conduct research on non-alcoholic beverages containing THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), the cannabis derivatives.

The idea is that the investigative work will prepare the companies for the commercial launch of cannabis drinks.

READ: Tilray revenue soars 85% in 3Q as company takes aim at cannabis expansion

"We intend to develop a deeper understanding of non-alcohol beverages containing THC and CBD that will guide future decisions about potential commercial opportunities,” said Kyle Norrington, president of Labatt Breweries of Canada.

The venture will only be carried out in Canada. Anheuser Busch’s push into the cannabis sector follows its rival Constellation Brands Inc (NYSE:STZ), the maker of Corona Beer’s move last August to invest $4 billion in Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC), another major Canadian cannabis company.

READ: Tilray adds Howard Dean and others to newly formed international advisory board

Investors applauded the tie-up, sending Tilray shares up 11.8% to $79.38 before Thursday’s opening bell while Anheuser Busch shares jumped 1.45% to $69.80.

Headquartered in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Tilray is one of a handful of cannabis companies to list in the US.

AB InBev, which is based in Leuven, Belgium, offers an array of beers including Stella Artois, Beck’s, Hoegaarden and Budweiser.

Contact Ellen Kelleher at [email protected]

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