Keith Villa is about to go where no American brewer has gone before. Roll out a "cannabis-infused" beer that actually gets you high.
We've seen a smattering of brewers, big and small, roll out "weed-infused" beers that smell like weed, taste like weed, but don't get you stoned. (Your editor tried Hemporer HPA from New Belgium in the lobby of the Austin Four Seasons yesterday, and upon cracking open the bottle we immediately turned some heads with the distinct aroma of cannabis -- but it's made with non-THC hemp).
Keith, who is one of, if not the most successful craft brewer in history, as he invented Blue Moon, wants to give consumers the "real deal."
That's what "consumers of cannabis want," Keith recently told Forbes. "Giving them a beer with hemp or CBD is almost like giving a craft beer drinker an alcohol-free Russian Imperial Stout and telling them, 'This is good enough.'"
Ok, but how on God's green earth will Keith get away with this? Two things.
KEITH HAS HIS OWN COMPANY NOW. As you may recall, Keith retired from MillerCoors at the start of the year, and since he parted ways with the company, he and his wife, Jodi, have been working to launch CERIA Beverages, a Colorado-based company that will specialize in cannabis-infused non-alcoholic craft beverages containing THC. Keith Villa will serve as co-founder and brewmaster of CERIA and Jodi will serve as CEO.
THE BEERS WON'T CONTAIN ANY ALCOHOL. And, yes, these cannabis-infused beers from CERIA won't contain any alcohol. The new brand, which has yet to be named, "will be brewed just like an alcoholic craft beer to maintain its beer taste and aroma, but will then be de-alcoholized prior to the infusion of cannabis," Keith said in a release.
[Ed. Note: If we're being honest, when you market a "weed-infused" beer, the beer takes a backseat to the weed. No one really cares what the ABV of the beer is, if it gets you high instead. And added bonus: less caloric due to the elimination of alcohol].
WEED LEVELS WILL RESEMBLE ABV.What's particularly interesting about these products from CERIA is their design "to deliver a consistent user experience with the same onset time as alcohol." Wait, is Keith a weedmaster now or what? No, but he's a super smart dude and has ebbu, "a leading cannabinoid research firm" out of Colorado, helping him out.
ebbu, you see, has developed a set of formulas that "inspire specific sensations, all of which can be consistently dosed and delivered in a true water-soluble format."
Keith's plan is to roll out the cannabis-infused beverage in three strengths -- light, regular, and full-bodied -- by year's end. The initial beers rolling out of CERIA will be "sold chilled in licensed dispensaries, first in Colorado, then in other states where the use of recreational marijuana is legal," per release.
CUSTOMIZATION. As Keith, explained to Forbes, regarding the three different strengths: if consumers "want to watch the Super Bowl and drink a six-pack and not get totally stoned they can just enjoy themselves with our light beer. That way they know they'll be about as buzzed as they would have been if they'd drunk the equivalent in (alcoholic) beer with an ABV (alcohol by volume) between 4-4.5%."
Eventually, Keith hopes that consumers can pick which type of high they want with the beers like "blissful, energetic of relaxed," and can decide what type of beer style they want to obtain that euphoria through, such as "a Russian Imperial Stout or a familiar-tasting, Colorado-brewed Belgian-style wit," Forbes wrote.
Jordan, Jenn, and Harry
"A fellow who is always declaring he's no fool usually has his suspicions." - Wilson Mizner
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