'It hits you very quickly': Canada brews first cannabis beer
Canada 'It hits you very quickly': Canada brews first cannabis beer
Entrepreneurs across the country are racing to capitalise on drugâs legalisation
In a small Ontario laboratory, scientists are testing enzymes and experimenting with fermentation. While their techniques are not new, their focus is a first; they are developing what is being described as the worldâs first beer brewed from cannabis.
Most cannabis beers on the m arket are non-alcoholic, brewed from barley and infused with marijuana oil, according to Dooma Wendschuh of Province Brands, the Toronto startup behind the product. âThatâs not what we do. Our beer is brewed from the stocks, stem and roots of the cannabis plant.â
It is a story playing out across Canada, as entrepreneurs race to secure a foothold in what is expected to be a multibillion-dollar market. The country will become the second in the world to legalise marijuana for recreational use on 17 October.
Edibles are expected to become legal one year later, paving the way for cannabis-infused products that range from brownies to honey. At Canopy Growth, North Americaâs first publicly traded cannabis company, researchers are developing a line of cannabis-infused cocktails.
Pointing to Colorado, where the legalisation of marijuana has led to a boom in edibles, analysts estimate marijuana-related products and services in Canada could eventually be worth be tween C$12bn and C$22bn.
Wendschuh, who is from Miami, moved to Toronto in 2016 to capitalise on Canadaâs pending plans for legalisation and to create an alternative to alcohol.
âThe 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?
âI donât 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.â
Initially there were doubts over whether cannabis could be brewed into beer. âThe things that we would come up with just tasted horrible,â Wendschuh said. âThey tasted like rotten broccoli.â
With the help of a chemist, he eventually hit on the right combination of hops, water, yeast â " and cannabis. The result was a non-alcoholic, gluten-free beer that offers a high.
âThe flavour is dry, savoury, less sweet than a typical beer flavour,â he said. âThe beer hits you very quickly, which is not common for marijuana edible.âWhat happened to Tim Hortons? The downfall of Canada's brand Read more
The aim is to create a product that, when consumed, will be roughly equivalent to a single dose of alcohol. So far the companyâs experimental products have averaged about 6.5mg THC a beer.
The recipe is the backbone of the companyâs plans to build a a C$50m facility that Wendschuh hopes will be the âworldâs first cannabis breweryâ. The company is planning to roll out a variety of beers using different flavours and strains of cannabis, mimicking breweries that produce lagers, stouts and ales.
As the beer is brewed from the stocks, stem and roots of the cannabis plant, it offers an alternate use for what is esse ntially a waste product for the industry. âWe take them off the growerâs hands, saving them the cost of hiring a licensed disposal company to dispose of them,â said Wendschuh.
While he believed his product will be safer and healthier than alcohol, he acknowledged that it comes with its own risks. âMarijuana is not good for you and our beers are not good for you,â he said. âYou should not drink them five times a day, you should not drink them first thing when you wake up in the morning. Weâre not saying that.â
Instead, he described his beer as a first step in upending an industry that has become ubiquitous. âIf I could create an alternative to alcohol, thatâs something that would change the world,â he said. âThatâs something Iâm very passionate about.âTopics
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