Drizly reportedly eyeing move into cannabis

On-demand drinks delivery service Drizly is reportedly planning to enter the cannabis sector and is also suing its former CEO Nick Rellas over a violation of a non-competition agreement.

According to a recent report by the Boston Business Journal, Drizly has filed a lawsuit against Rellas in the Suffolk County Superior Court.

In the lawsuit, Drizly said it planned to enter the burgeoning cannabis category “later this year”.

Nick Rellas, who co-founded the Boston-based company in 2012, stepped down from his role as CEO in August last year. His cousin Cory Rellas, co-founder and chief operating officer, took over as CEO. Nick intended to stay on the Drizly board but left in October last year, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit alleges that Nick Rellas had violated non-competition and non-disclosure agreements, however many of the allegations have been redacted, according to the report.

Since departing from Drizly, Nick Rellas has founded a cannabis e-commerce venture. The lawsuit claims that Nick was involved in Drizly’s plans to move into the cannabis category, which began in 2017.

According to the filing, the parties were in settlement negotiations.

The Spirits Business has approached Drizly for further comment and is awaiting a response.

Drizly’s rumoured move into cannabis comes as a number of drinks firms have announced plans to move into the category in the last 12 months.

US group Constellation Brands acquired a stake in Canadian cannabis producer Canopy Growth Corporation in 2017 and recently acquired an additional stake worth US$4 billion.

Southern Glazer’s, the largest wine and spirits distribution group in North America, created a subsidiary exclusively for the representation of cannabis products by Aphria in Canada.

Meanwhile, fellow distributor Breakthru Beverage Group formed an exclusive partnership with cannabis producer CannTrust and developed its own cannabis sales platform.

Other leading spirits firms, including Diageo, have been linked to reported cannabis deals, though they have not yet moved into the sector.

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Author: Nicola Carruthers {authorlink}