It’s no secret that the cannabis industry has been largely expanding to meet the newest trends in the food and beverage industry. Moguls like Heineken and Marlboro are snatching up cannabis stocks and commodities like they’re going out of style. Maker of Blue Moon beer noticed an opening for cannabis-infused beer in the medical marijuana market and jumped at the chance to experiment with a new product.
CERIA BREWING CO.
Keith Villa, the pioneer behind Blue Moon, began expanding his brewing operation to include a new line of cannabis beers. Ceria Brewing Co., a Belgian style white ale, debuted last December in Colorado dispensaries and sold out in just four hours! The non-alcoholic beer boasts 20mg THC and when asked about the taste, Villa remarked, “You don’t taste cannabis you taste great tasting beer with the effects of cannabis and that’s really critical because we found that the taste of cannabis is really polarizing. Some people love it, but most people don’t really care for it.” Ceria’s product line will also include a non-alcoholic IPA with 10mg each of CBD and THC, as well as a “light beer” with just 2.5mg of THC. The goal is to appeal to young consumers who want to drink casually and still remain in control.
Due to federal restrictions on interstate cannabis commerce, Ceria will distribute the non-alcoholic beer base across state lines before infusing batches with THC in each state ahead of bottling. State and federal law both prohibit combining alcohol and marijuana in beverages for sale. Hence, the non-alcoholic beer.
After the overwhelming support for Ceria in Colorado, Villa will be expanding to California and Nevada in the next three months. Currently, the Belgian-style beer can only be purchased at 16 Colorado dispensaries.
Cannabis is legal federally in Canada right now. In the United States, several states have legalized recreational consumption, though it remains illegal at a federal level. This is why many big business giants are quickly buying stock of Canadian owned cannabis companies. Marlboro makers recently invested a whopping $1.8 billion for almost half of Cronos Group, a cannabis company based in Toronto. All of this comes during a time where big states like NYC are banning CBD in restaurants. There are different rules and regulations when it comes to mixing marijuana with food and drink. Although the cultivation and sale of hemp is legal in the United States, research is still lacking in some areas, making it hard to regulate CBD product sales in the food and beverage field.
EXPANSION FOR SMALLER VENTURES
Good news comes for smaller ventures looking to break into the market with similar ideas. Canada only allows smokable forms of cannabis at the moment, but this October will be ruling to allow drinkable forms of cannabis as well. The one stipulation would be that any existing logos or beverage company names associated with alcohol, like Blue Moon or Coors Light, can’t be used. This exclusion of alcoholic beverage giants makes way for entrepreneurs and smaller startups like Ceria Brewing Co. to establish brand power in an increasingly profitable market.