FEBRUARY 12, 2018
Canadians can look forward to consuming cannabis in different ways, once the plant’s legalized for adult use this summer. One of those ways could be as a beer, thanks to the innovation of Province Brands. The company’s working on the world’s first beer brewed from cannabis—which is also alcohol-free. If approved, the beer will hit the market about a year after marijuana is legalized, along with other cannabis edibles and beverages.
A New Form of “Near Beer” With Health Benefits
While other companies selling similar products infuse cannabis into already-brewed alcoholic beer, Province ferments cannabis to make its beverage.
Normally, when brewing the alcoholic beer we’re all familiar with, barley, rye or other grains are fermented and mixed with yeast to make the alcohol; hops are then added for flavor. When Province makes its marijuana beer, it uses the cannabis plant instead of grains—and it also remove the alcohol. This way, the consumer will feel altered from marijuana and not alcohol.
“By doing this we can create a safer and healthier alternative to alcohol,” says Province co-founder and CEO Dooma Wendschuh.
A quick visit to Province Brand’s website, and it’s clear the company’s interested in making a beverage without the negative health effects of alcohol. It’s intent on espousing the health benefits of marijuana. Province says that its cannabis beer is healthier than coffee, citing the downsides of caffeine. And it even ponders how its product could help those who are looking to stop drinking alcohol altogether.
“We’re creating a new brewing tradition,” proclaims Dooma. He says the product, for which Province has recently filed a technology patent, will be in the same category as “near beer,” the non-alcoholic beverages sold at grocery stores. However, since it will contain marijuana, it’s still not clear how and where marijuana will be sold, or where cannabis beer will fit in the marketplace.
Tastes Like Beer, Acts Like Cannabis
Dooma describes the drink as having a “rich, nutty flavor, and a little savory,” that ultimately tastes like a beer, since it’s made with hops. The physical effect from the beverage will be more like that of smoking marijuana, rather than consuming it as an edible. It’s also low in calories and sugar, an ideal choice for diabetes sufferers or those who don’t want to consume unwanted extra calories with their marijuana.
Big Investments in the Canadian Cannabis Industry
Dooma says the first Fortune 500 company to get involved in the cannabis sector wasn’t tobacco or pharmaceuticals: It was a beverage conglomerate.
Last October, Constellation Brands, the $43 billion beer and wine company behind Corona and dozens of other beverage brands, invested $240 million in Canada’s largest cannabis producers, Canopy Growth. Constellation is also said to be developing a line of marijuana beers. That investment cemented Dooma’s confidence in his product, proving that there will be a demand.
“The fact that a giant company is getting involved in our exact industry is amazing for us,” he says. “When you’re launching a new product category, you have to teach people what it is and how to use it. You have to educate people on it, so having a large company educate the consumers is going to be very helpful.”