Find Out Why Weed Beer Has Become So Popular!
Consuming weed has become enormously popular over the past few years and new products are showing up on the market every single week. Beverages with cannabis are on the rise causing a major impact. As of late, beer drinkers have crossed over and become the leading consumers of weed beer!
Since 2018 when legislation changed their stance on marijuana, weed beer has grown in leaps and bounds and providers have high hopes for the future. The growth of herbaceous (herb) flavors and low-dose servings have contributed to shared preferences of spirits and cannabis among audiences.
Weedmaps News addressed the leaders of the weed-infused beer world as well as the Advanced Cicerone® to understand the current state of the weed beer industry, where it is heading, and what it offers the larger cannabis community.
According to Kevin Barnes, Executive Vice President of Brewing Operations and the pioneering brand Two Roots Barnes has been a professional brewer for over 10 years, and he said brewers have wanted to use cannabis in their beer from day one. He added this is definitely inevitable.
He said that opinions about cannabis are changing. Even though it’s tempting to see weed beverages as a trend, he points out that the increase of new products is likely to tip the scales with this profitable emerging category and has staying power. Along with major investments from the world of alcohol, cannabis beverages have become a new category in the world of finance.
Just What Is Weed Beer?
Before delving into what weed beer is, let’s find out what it is not. Cannabis is not a typical beer as it does not contain any alcohol. Under current laws, it’s prohibited to mix cannabis products and alcoholic beverages. The category is made of beer-like beverages that are made to taste and be consumed like beer but swapping out alcohol for cannabis-like CBD and THC.
That said, how do beverages taste like beer, look just like beer, and packaged like beer? The process is loaded with legal, brewing, and logistical challenges. Most of these products are under the weed beer category but lack alcohol in the beer. These products like HiFi Hops are not branding themselves as beer but are serving as a bridge between infused water and beer. The first challenge is brewing a beer that is suited for dealcoholization beers. According to Barnes, you cannot make normal beer, you have to brew it differently. There are challenges for crafting a beer that retains its character without alcohol which is one of the main issues for body and flavor.
HiFi Hops are made with hops and cannabinoids to copy the experience of drinking beer. Once the quality of the recipe is set, it has to be infused. The current industry standard is using a flavorless and colorless THC and CBD isolates in liquid form. The compound is generally non-emulsified which breaks down the particles to become water-soluble and stable enough to mix with beer. This process also makes the cannabinoids more bioavailable which is one way of saying the effects act faster and feel stronger. This technology is key to creating beverages that offer mood-enhancing effects in the same time frame as your standard alcoholic beverage.
The beverage also copies alcohol with a fast effect within 10 to 15 minutes then after an hour or so, it dissipates. According to Maikel Van de Mortel, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Cannabiniers, they do not need to ask consumers to adjust their behavior as the producers already have by fitting it to drinkers’ behaviors. Cannabiniers handles all Lighthouse cannabis products.
There is no doubt that technology is the game changer but research and development present its own challenges. One of the leading roadblocks is the number of facilities required for basic production. Barnes explained that they cannot process or handle any cannabis products in their facilities. They have to create a non-alcoholic beer and then send it to a cannabis facility.
Two Roots Brewing makes 5 types of non-alcoholic beer with 5 milligrams of THC in each can. Once production is done, there is the issue of working with the legalities. Outside not being able to call these cannabis products “beer”, there are very limited outlets to find and consume these beverages including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Las Vegas. Even though there are very few consumption lounges, things are starting to pick up in these areas.
While THC beverages can only be purchased at licensed distillers, CBD products are still in a very gray area though there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel. Conventional retail for only CBD product will be opening soon, they are waiting for FDA classification.
As laws continue to change, canna-beer has become a part of the larger cannabis-infused beverage category and offers a unique opportunity for seasoned and new users. THC infused beer offers consistent, predictable, and responsible ways to be engaged with cannabis. One benefit is the serving size. One beer equals one dose and low doses are approximately 5 milligrams of cannabis per beer. This allows consumers to self manage their experience and stay away from the unpleasant consequences of accidentally consuming too much. Not everyone who enters a dispensary knows how to self regulate. It’s a known fact that edibles with 100 milligrams of THC can go wrong quickly while low dose products cater more to a broader audience. 915
On top of offering a low dose of serving, weed beer blends nicely with the overall trends in cannabis. According to research at BDS Analytics, the two leading cannabis trends for 2019 were social consumption and infused beverages. The anticipation of weed beer has been growing for years but will it catch on with the drinking culture?
According to Angela Steil, Advanced Cicerone® and owner of the new 721 Bar in Harlem, New York, she sees consumer trends with natural points of connection which is why she has projected that beer will become one of the largest industries that will drive cannabis laws and consumption in a forward motion.
As someone who is an educator, a consumer and loves beer, Steil is excited to have a non-alcohol and THC/CBD based beverage as part of the larger non-alcoholic trend for additional growth in the industry. She believes that people are moving over and changing their minds about alcohol consumption. It only seems natural that you’d go over to cannabis for a mind and body experience using a delicious beverage.
Beer does seem to have an upper hand over other beverages due to its flavor which has a close relationship with hops and marijuana. Due to the West Coast IPA and the New England IPA trend, the taste is familiar to beer consumers. It’s a no-brainer that the laid-back attitude of the beer industry and an inclusive “everyman” drink culture, it’s well suited to cannabis. The future looks good for cannabis-infused beer but time will tell. The drinking culture is very old and these products are very new., there will be plenty of room for trial and error before it comes around full circle. Questions will circle including Will beer be a significant part of national cannabis consumption? At what point will it replace alcoholic beverages? These questions can only be answered over time but one thing is very clear, it is not a trend, it’s here to stay.
Cannabis-Infused Beer Brands & Two Roots
Two Roots has 5 styles of non-alcoholic beer, each has 5 milligrams of THC per can and are available across California and Nevada. The styles include Enough Said which is an easy-drinking brew, New West which is a hop-forward option, Tropical Infamy is made in the style of a fruit Bavarian wheat beer, RCG which is rich and creamy for those who love port and stout, and Sonder which is a smooth blend beer.
This non-alcoholic beer is made in San Diego, California, and is available in 55 outlets across the state. Each bottle has 10 milligrams of THC and comes in 3 styles. The flagship Pale Haze which is an unflavored ale along with Grapefruit Haze and Blood Orange Haze.
This is a non-alcoholic Belgium style white beer. Grainwave is made and sold in Colorado with plans on expanding to California in the near future. It’s available in one style with each bottle containing 10 milligrams of THC.