AgraFlora Organics International Inc. (CSE: AGRA) is keen to crack the beverages market and it has increased capacity at its brewery by 30% to 130,000 hl.
The Ontario cannabis producer has teamed up with brewer Brunswick Bierworks to construct the facility in Toronto. It is equipped with a dedicated cannabinoid beverage packaging line equipped with four, six and 12-can capabilities.
The team worked with qualified master brewers when constructing the facility, in order to better replicate the profile of traditional alcoholic beverages. It uses cutting-edge cap technology that allows AgraFloras team to dispense cannabinoids into the drinks in a way that protects the chemical compounds and supposedly results in “superior shelf stability”.
It has already completed production runs for some of the world’s leading beer brands, including Guinness, Augustiner and Innes & Gunn. Product formulation and batch testing of cannabis-infused beverages is expected to begin in Q3 2019, while commercial production is scheduled for Q4 2019, provided it gains the necessary Health Canada approval.
The facility build-out cost will exceed $20 million by the time it is complete. There is also a planned development of an adjoined, dedicated cannabinoid-infused beverage tasting and viewing facility, while the adjacent research and development site will be updated.
Health Canada will begin accepting applications for licensed cannabis-infused beverages for the adult-use market in October 2019, and the first products are set to hit shelves two months later. AgraFlora hopes to be capitalize on demand for these drinks by launching a range of non-alcoholic beers, seltzers and RTDs, all infused with cannabinoids.
“With Canada’s planned legalization of cannabis edibles and beverages later this year, AgraFlora had the corporate foresight to enter the cannabis beverage market early on, thus solidifying the brewing infrastructure, supplier relationships and product formulations required to achieve significant market share,” said chairman and chief executive Brandon Boddy.
He believes the industry faces challenges in creating beverages that “actually taste good” and provide an immediate and controlled dose, but he claims his firm can overcome these challenges.
Earlier this month, AgraFlora upped its stake in Propagation Services Canada, which controls a 2.2 million sq. ft. greenhouse complex in Delta, British Columbia, that should yield 250,000kg of cannabis per year, to 70%.
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