Heineken CMO: Cannabis Drinks Won't Replace Beer

August 16, 2018

By Christian Smith

Bud might seem like the new brew, with so many beer companies investing in cannabis and making THC-infused beverages. But Heineken's future, like its long history, lies in beer.

"We believe that core growth still remains in the beer category itself," Jonnie Cahill, Heineken USA's chief marketing officer said in an interview with Cheddar. "For sure there will be some overlap between the categories, but we know over time beer is a staple of young people and everybody's life."

Constellation, the company behind Corona and Modelo, announced a $4 billion investment Wednesday in the Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth. The news excited consumers, but caused a sell-off in Constellation's stock over concerns the beverage conglomerate paid too much for a 38 percent stake in a company valued around $5 billion.

Heineken has its own entrant in the cannabis-beer crossover market. The company has a 50 percent stake in Lagunitas, which launched in June its first cannabis-infused drink, HiFi Hops. It's an alcohol-free beverage that tastes like beer but with the high-flying effects of THC.

No matter the products, Cahill said, Heineken's strategy for reaching new customers remains the same.

"It's about making people smile, improving their weekends, bringing people together, and socializing."

For full interview, click here.