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Thursday 26 April 2018

'We are watching cannabis drinks market closely,' says spirits giant

Pernod Ricard boss Alexandre Ricard is looking into the potential of cannabis in drinks. Photo: Christopher Bellew/Fennells
Pernod Ricard boss Alexandre Ricard is looking into the potential of cannabis in drinks. Photo: Christopher Bellew/Fennells

Bradley Gerrard

The boss of spirits giant Pernod Ricard has revealed that he and his rivals are studying the legalised cannabis market, as the drinks industry weighs the drug's leisure potential.

Alexandre Ricard, who runs the parent company of Jameson whiskey, Beefeater gin and Havana rum, said his company was "watching it closely" when asked about the cannabis sector at a Bloomberg event.

Consulting firm Bryan Garnier suggested if cannabis was legalised more widely, alcoholic drinks makers could seek to use it in their products, creating new ranges that deliver a 'high' for the consumer.

The marriage of cannabis and alcohol exists already, but only at a very small scale.

In 2016, one small brewery in the town of Aurora, Colorado, launched its 'Cannabeer'. Meanwhile, California's Rebel Coast Winery began selling its alcohol-free cannabis sauvignon blanc last month.

A total of 25 countries have legalised cannabis use in a bid to combat the black market and secure income for their respective treasuries. Such countries include Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Israel, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey and the US, where nine states now allow recreational use and 29 medical use.

But ultimately Mr Ricard said he preferred whiskey, a drink his company sells through brands such as Jameson.

Prior to his current role, he worked for several years at the Pernod Ricard subsidiary Irish Distillers, in Dublin.

Irish Independent

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