June 30, 2018
EDMONTON—A new kind of oil is flowing out of Alberta.
A cannabis oil producer based in Clearwater County is pairing up with a Toronto company to give drinkers a Rocky Mountain high with a marijuana-infused, non-alcoholic beer.
Province Brands of Canada is teaming up with Alberta-based Elements GP to brew a non-alcoholic beer infused with cannabis oil. (SUPPLIED)
Element GP will lend its expertise to Province Brands of Canada for the Toronto company’s new line of beer brewed from barley and infused with cannabis oil.
“Your body will be able to absorb and process the extract so the duration in your system will be a similar time (to alcohol),” Element co-founder and chief operating officer Christopher Lecky explained.
Element will produce a customized marijuana oil for the drinks.
The beverages will contain an accelerant to make the intoxicating effects hit faster like alcohol, and a decelerant to bring the effect down sooner than, say, smoking a joint.
“With a lot of edibles in the food and beverage cannabis business, you might have a drink that you enjoy but you’ll only be able to drink one ounce of it and you’ll be screaming high for four hours. Whereas this is something that we don’t want to do,” Lecky said.
He would not elaborate on the accelerant and decelerant, saying that’s “proprietary information.”
While drinks and edibles will still be barred from Canada when legalization takes effect in October, Lecky said the weed beer will be ready to hit shelves the following year, when he hopes the federal government sees fit to expand its list of legal products.
The companies are marketing the drinks as a safer alternative to alcohol.
“With the infused non-alcoholic beers, you don’t have the risk of damage or strain on the liver and kidneys like you would with alcohol,” Lecky said.
“You won’t suffer from a hangover, you don’t have medical risks that are associated with alcohol. It’s just a safer alternative, I think, and I think it’s a better alternative.”
Element GP is building a six-floor, 120,000-square-foot growing facility in Clearwater County, southwest of Edmonton and north of Calgary near the Rocky Mountains.
The company specializes in extracting oils from cannabis plants for medical and recreational markets.
“I think that’s where the future lies,” Lecky said. “If you look at someone that doesn’t smoke, for example, and they want to try cannabis, they’re not going to start smoking joints.”
Province Brands was the first company to launch beers brewed straight from the cannabis plant instead of using grains or barley.
Element GP also has history in alcohol, as Lecky co-founded Pur Vodka and Romeo’s Gin in Montreal.
The Calgary native said he moved back to Alberta when he shifted into the cannabis business, because it was the province with the most business-friendly pot regulations.
“Alberta, in my opinion, it’s ground zero,” he said. “That’s where some real great stuff is going to happen. We have an advantage having a little bit more room to grow and do what we want, without having to have things run and controlled by a government entity.”