The alcohol industry has been wringing its hands as more states legalize recreational marijuana. It’s concerned that customers who a few years ago would have chosen to unwind with a six-pack will instead roll a joint at the end of a long day. And while there’s not conclusive evidence that legal weed is a big threat to beer sales, some breweries are taking the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach with cannabis-infused beverages that actually get drinkers high.
Lagunitas, a Petaluma-California based brewery owned by Heineken International, is the latest to throw its joint in the ring with the launch of Hi-Fi Hops sparkling water. In a release, Lagunitas calls Hi-Fi Hops “an IPA-inspired sparkling water in two versions, the first made by infusing THC and the second by infusing THC and CBD.” (THC is the compound that produces a “high,” CBD is produces a physical sensation of relaxation.) Hi-Fi will be available in two dosages: one with 10 mg of THC, and one with 5 mg of THC and 5mg of CBD. It will roll out to California dispensaries beginning July 30.
Those who know Lagunitas will see this as no surprise; the brewery has long had an affection for—and rocky relationship with—weed. (Read all about the drug bust that led to the brewing of Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale here). Or, as the Hi-Fi Hops release puts it: “Since Lagunitas’ founding, marijuana has helped fuel innovations and creativity for many of its most famous brews.”
In other marijuana-brewery news, a cannabis tech-and-food company called Cannabiniers announced it will launch Two Roots Brewing Co., producing non-alcoholic, THC- and CBD-infused beer. Speaking to beer-industry website Brewbound, the company says it brews its beer with traditional methods, then strips the alcohol out of it and adds 2.5 mg of THC, a water-soluble microdose that it says is absorbed by the body within 5-7 minutes. Two Roots beers will launch in Nevada in mid-July before expanding to California and 10 other states. (And let’s not forget Colorado’s Ceria Beverages, the non-alcoholic, THC-added beer line launched by Blue Moon creator Keith Villa and his wife.)
If I was a well-paid industry analyst (I’m not) or a deep-pocketed investor (also nope), I’d bank on breweries launching more of these marijuana-beverage hybrids. CBD-beer was the first frontier, because it doesn’t produce any high. But now that breweries have overcome the THC-beverage barrier, I can’t imagine it’s long before there are multiple brands of non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beer to chose from. Someone should really copyright High-PA, if they haven’t already.