August 12, 2018
Bethan Rose Jenkins
Canadians may soon be sipping on the world’s first cannabis-brewed beer. Inside a quaint Ontario-based laboratory, scientists have been hard at work discovering different fermentation techniques as a way of bringing their idea to life.
But wait a second, doesn’t the concept of cannabis beer already exist? Of course, it does. But, unlike other Brewers, Province Brands’ brews are not produced using cannabis-infused barley.
“That’s not what we do. Our beer is brewed from the stalks, stem, and roots of the cannabis plant,” said Dooma Wendschuh, who works at the startup cannabis company in Toronto.
Cannabis-based products are growing in popularity
Canada’s cannabis beer industry is predicted to be worth billions of dollars in the near future.
Recreational cannabis sales will kick off on October 17, when the Cannabis Act goes into full effect. Shortly after, cannabis edibles should be given the green light and when this happens, the weed-infused market is set to skyrocket. Analysts predict that Canada’s cannabis-related market and associated services will ultimately be valued at CAD $12-22 billion.
Province Brands is capitalizing on this opportunity at the perfect time by merging the alcohol and cannabis markets. The cannabis-brewed beer is uniquely made by brewing the plant roots, stem and stocks; parts of the plant that would usually go to waste.
“We take them off the grower’s hands, saving them the cost of hiring a licensed disposal company to dispose of them,” Wendschuh explained.
Creator of Canada’s first cannabis beer overcame obstacles
Originally, Wendschuh is from Miami, but he relocated in 2016 to the Toronto area in the hopes of reaping the rewards of Canada’s looming cannabis legalization.
“The idea came from thinking, ‘Can we create something that can serve the role that alcohol serves in our society, and can we do that using this monumental sea change that is happening in our world right now?'” he said. “I don’t think there was anywhere else in the world where we could do this business. Canada is already leading the world in creating an industry around medical cannabis and we expect them to continue to lead the world in trading and industry around adult-use cannabis.”
Things certainly weren’t plain sailing from the get-go, however. Wendschuh and his team were concerned that the original flavor combination “tasted like rotten broccoli.” Thankfully, a chemist was able to help Province Brands produce a delicious blend of cannabis, yeast, water, and hops. The non-alcoholic beer is suitable for people with a gluten-free diet. It tastes “less sweet than a typical beer flavor” and the high “hits you very quickly.”
Don’t expect to be knocked off your feet though. The THC content per beer is 6.5mg and the effects are similar to a single dose of alcohol.
Toronto startup will launch the world’s first cannabis brewery
Province Brands won’t be stopping at cannabis beer. The Toronto-based company plans to construct a brewery worth CAD $50 million. Wendschuh strives to complete the project before any other cannabis brewery in the world is established.
Once the cannabis-brewed beer is ready to be savored by consumers across the country, Province Brands will experiment with alternative cannabis strains for the creation of new cannabis-based stouts, ales, and lagers. Wendschuh affirms that his cannabis beer is healthier than alcohol, not to mention safer. However, he does stress the importance of avoiding over-consumption.
“You should not drink them five times a day, you should not drink them first thing when you wake up in the morning. We’re not saying that,” he said. “If I could create an alternative to alcohol, that’s something that would change the world,” he said. “That’s something I’m very passionate about.”