Kristina Etter   |   June 13, 2018

Brewing Innovation in the Cannabis Industry

This is not your Daddy’s beer. Province Brands developed their own patent-pending process to create the worlds first beer from cannabis itself.
Before becoming a freelance cannabis writer, Kristina Etter, spent 20 years in corporate information technology with companies including Maytag Appliances, Wells Fargo Financial, and DuPont Pioneer. With a niche in mobile technology and…

 

A study released earlier this year showed alcohol consumption in the United States was decreasing and medical marijuana could be the reason. In fact, in states with medical marijuana legalization, data collected on retail alcohol sales show a decline of nearly 15% in sales over the last 10 years. While this may leave the alcohol industry pondering the future, one entrepreneurial spirit in Canada is pioneering his way to the front of the line.

While cannabis-infused beverages are commonplace in legal markets like Colorado, California, and the Pacific Northwest, Dooma Wendschuh, CEO and Co-Founder of Province Brands in Toronto, Canada is currently making waves in the Canadian cannabis market with the world’s first non-alcoholic beer actually brewed from cannabis itself.

 

 

Beer Reimagined

Wendschuh will be the first to admit, in 2016 when the company was founded, “We were the black sheep of the Canadian cannabis industry.” Despite medical cannabis being legal in Canada since 2001, edibles and beverages have never been allowed. Luckily, that all changed in 2017 when the Canadian government announced a plan to allow the production of marijuana-infused beverages and edibles. “Suddenly, we were the whitest sheep of them all,” Wendschuh proclaimed.

Crazy… like a fox

The process of learning how to brew cannabis beer was an adventure. Consulting with master brewers from all over the world, Wendschuh told CannabisTech during an interview, “They all thought we were crazy, they told us ‘You can’t make beer from cannabis!’” However, Wendschuh set out to prove, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Making beer requires grain or barley for the carbohydrates and sugars for fermentation. Cannabis actually contains very little sugar, so Province developed their own patent-pending processes to extract the sugars from the by-products of a cannabis or hemp harvest, the stems, stalks and roots. These sugars ferment the brew, and finally, the alcohol is removed from the beverage through reverse osmosis.

“You end up with a great tasting beverage from the waste products of the cannabis industry,” Wendschuh explained. A great tasting beer which contains approximately 9 total cannabinoids including 6 ½ milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. The THCa in the plant material is decarboxylated during the brewing process, activating the THC and creating the intoxicant.

Fortune 500 Investors See Green

Constellation Brands, one of the largest adult beverage businesses in the world, has made it clear they are interested in the legal cannabis market as well. After the Canadian government announced the plans for legalizing marijuana beverages, the multi-million-dollar firm known for brands such as Corona, partnered with Canopy Growth, a licensed cannabis producer in Canada. The first partnership of its kind. Which leads Wendschuh to believe cannabis beverages are here to stay.

In fact, the Canadian government has also shown a great deal of support for the project providing $300,000 to student researchers at Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario to help develop the alternative to alcohol. The college partnered with Province Brands to research the new recreational beverage, however, in Canada they are limited to using hemp for the time being until cannabis is legalized later this year. In the meantime, some of the product development and consumer testing for the products has been taking place in Colorado where the THC-infused beverages are legal.

The End Goal: A Safer Alternative

Mr. Wendschuh believes the writing is on the wall for alcohol companies. Similar to how cigarette use has declined rapidly over the last several years, alcohol too is now seeing declines as people become more health conscience. Statistics show alcohol poisoning kills six people every day. Of those, 76 percent are adults ages 35-64, and three of every four people killed by alcohol poisoning are men. Consumers deserve a healthier, safer alternative.

 

Image courtesy of The Verdict

Not Your Typical Beer

One of the major issues with consuming cannabis in a social setting is the effects typically take a while to kick in and the duration can last as long as 2-4 hours. Province is engineering this beverage to work more like an actual beer with a faster onset and shorter duration, so they can be consumed more like the traditional beverage. Wendschuh explained, “The effects are really more like that of a sublingual than an edible, except you don’t have to hold it under your tongue.”

In double-blind, placebo-controlled trials the typical consumer feels the effects within about 10 minutes of consuming the beverage, and the effects leave the body fairly quickly as well. “While it’s still in development and getting better, people love it already,” Wendschuh stated proudly.

The cannabis-infused beverage is sugar-free, low in carbohydrates, and lower in calories than a traditional beer. While the effects may seem similar to that of alcohol, cannabis beer doesn’t come with the wide range of negative side effects alcohol presents.

World’s First Cannabis Brewery

About an hour and a half outside of Toronto, Province Brands is currently working on 80,000 square feet of brewing space for this new endeavor when the products can be legally produced in Canada. Wendschuh is proud of their product which he hopes will make a significant impact on the world, giving people a safer alternative to alcohol consumption.

Find out more about Province Brands at www.provincebrands.com.

 

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