Budweiser Heir Wants You To Enjoy A Different Bud

14 September, 2018

Adolphus Busch V — great-great-grandson of the legendary beer pioneer — is launching ABV Cannabis, a Colorado-based startup that sells marijuana vaping pens instead of booze.

“I saw that cannabis is the future,” Busch told The Post in a Thursday interview. He’s the latest heir to an American business empire to turn to weed. In June, Ben Kovler, a descendant in line for the Jim Beam whiskey fortune, took his Chicago-based cannabis cultivator, Green Thumb Industries, public in Canada. Earlier this month, William “Beau” Wrigley Jr., the former head of the Wrigley gum and candy company, teamed up with Jimmy Buffett to launch the “Coral Reefer” cannabis brand.

The US cannabis industry is expected to grow to $75 billion by 2030, according to research from Cowen. By comparison, US alcohol sales totaled roughly $180 billion in 2017, according to combined data from the Distilled Spirits Council, the Brewers Association and Wines & Vines.

The 27-year-old Busch says he pivoted to pot after a failed attempt to get an entry-level gig at Anheuser-Busch upon graduating from college in 2013. Nepotism rules at parent company Anheuser-InBev cited a “conflict of interest,” according to Busch. Already, however, Busch said he had grown keenly aware as a student at Colorado State University of the growing momentum to legalize recreational pot — and the potential to found a business empire.

“I could take all I learned from my pioneering family heritage and create a new legacy for myself in the cannabis space,” Busch said. Initially, “the family wasn’t interested” in a college kid’s idea to sling weed instead of six-packs, he admits. Undeterred, the budding entrepreneur spent the next four years at various cannabis companies.

That included two years at Keef Brands, a maker of cannabis-infused products, where he managed a sales team and learned the ins and outs of regulatory compliance, giving him the confidence to strike out on his own. “Now they see the potential,” Busch said of his beer-brewing elders.

They aren’t alone. Last month, Constellation Brands, the brewer of Corona beer, stunned Wall Street as it poured $4 billion into Canopy Growth, a Canada-based pot grower.

Green Thumb shares, meanwhile, have more than doubled since their debut. Shares of Tilray, a Canadian medical pot supplier that began trading in July, have climbed nearly sevenfold to roughly $115 a share since debuting on the market at $17 apiece. So far, ABV Cannabis’ products are only sold in Colorado, one of the nine states where recreational cannabis is legal. US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, meanwhile, has warned pot companies that cannabis is still illegal at the federal level.