Keith Villa isn’t a household name, but in the beer world, he’s the guy with the Midas touch. In 1995, at the MillerCoors’ SandLot Brewery inside Coors Field, he invented Blue Moon, the now-ubiquitous witbier that’s been a decades-long success for the brewery. Three months ago, Villa left MillerCoors after more than 30 years, leading to much speculation about what he’d brew up next. Now we have an answer: He’s launching a line of THC-infused, booze-free beer.
According to a release, Villa and his wife/business partner Jodi will launch Ceria Beverages, a line of non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beer headquartered in Arvada, Colorado. THC is the psychoactive compound within the cannabis plant, the one that produces the high. Villa also tells beer-industry site Brewbound some of their beers may contain CBD or cannabidiol, another compound in cannabis that produces a relaxed feeling, but not the high.
“We can dial in exactly the sensations that people want,” Villa tells Brewbound. “If people want a CBD sensation where they feel sort of tired and chilled and relaxed, we’ll be able to give them that. If they want a really great THC experience—it’s the end of the week and they want to relax responsibly with their friends and party—we can deliver that too.”
The announcement comes amid sometimes tense relations between the brewing and legal cannabis industries. For years, the beer industry has debated whether legal medical and especially recreational marijuana will have a negative impact on beer sales. Villa himself previously opposed legalized marijuana, but says he’s since since the light.
Ceria beers will first launch at dispensaries in Colorado, according to the company’s website, and will then expand to other states where recreational marijuana has been legalized.