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04/09/2018 – News / Beverages / Cannabis / Lagunitas / Heineken / US

Heineken launches new cannabis brew in California

Heineken launches new cannabis brew in C

Hi-Fi Hops, from California beer brand Lagunitas – owned by brewing giant Heineken – is produced with marijuana rather than alcohol. The new brew is currently only available in a select number of dispensaries throughout California, where marijuana is legal. Lagunitas, Heineken's fast-growing California beer label, describes its new brew as “hoppy sparkling water.”

It was in 20o5 when the weekly ‘4:20’ party at Laguinitas Brewing Company was ‘busted by the Feds’ as the firm puts it – and the brewery was promptly shut down. In commemoration of the event, Lagunitas would later brew an especially bitter ale, christening it ‘The Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale’. In subsequent years, the legal landscape in California has changed considerably, with cannabis becoming legal for recreational use in November 2016. And this month, the now-Heineken-owned Lagunitas has launched what it refers to as a ‘THC-infused hoppy sparkling water’.


“We’ve often dreamed of hops and their cannabis cousin partying together at the family reunion,” said Jeremy Marshall, Lagunitas Brewing Company’s brewmaster (or ‘Brewmonster’, as he prefers to be known). “We wanted to bring this party to life in a beverage. It’s high-time that good beer inspired a provocative, yet refreshing non-alcoholic alternative. With a smidge of California sun-grown cannabis in every sip.”


High hopes for new beverage


This IPA-inspired sparkling beverage is “made using everything Lagunitas knows about hops – but with zero alcohol, zero calories, and zero carbs,” announces the brewery, who procures its cannabis from local firm AbsoluteXtracts.


The new beverage comes in two variants – ‘5:5’ (THC and CBD levels each of 5mg), and ‘10’ (containing 10mg of THC and no CBD). Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis, while Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the non-psychoactive cannabis component that is believed to have significant medicinal and therapeutic benefits. The hybrid (5:5) version is designed to have ‘more subdued and relaxing effects’, according to the company, which is selling the new beverages at US$8 per can. 


Consumer demand for marijuana products is expanding at a clip in the US, as state-based legalisation campaigns spread across the country and scientific awareness about the drug strengthens. There is also an emerging interest in CBD, the compound thought to be responsible for many of the drug's therapeutic effects, including pain relief.


To date, nine US states and Washington, DC, have legalised marijuana for recreational use (that is, no doctor's letter required) for adults over the age of 21.

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