Article by Kate Robertson, Lift News
Once you’ve spoken with cannabis beer entrepreneur Dooma Wendschuh a few times, his pitch becomes familiar.
“I used to be the black sheep of the Canadian cannabis industry,” he says of his burgeoning weed beer and spirits company, Province Brands. “And now we’re like the whitest sheep of them all. And that’s precisely because Constellation Brands became the first Fortune 500 company to get into the industry.”
For the past three years, Wendschuh has been working non-stop to drum up investment in the company. But edibles won’t be legal in Canada until a full year after dried flower and oils are legalized later this year. And even then, will Canadians be tempted to replace beer with a cannabis brew? And are vape- or smoke-loving cannabis consumers interested in weed drinks?
But Wendschuh says investor attitudes changed after news broke that big booze powerhouse Constellation Brands bought a 9.9 per cent stake in cannabis company Canopy Growth. Suddenly, Province was attracting more interest, bringing in $2 million since October of 2017. They now have 16 full-time and part-time people on staff and he’s filed a provisional patent for its cannabis plant brewing technology. And soon, the company will sign a lease on a brewery about two hours outside of Toronto.
Wendschuh says the beer – which is in development in Boulder, Colorado, where it is legal to develop edibles -– is different from any other cannabis beverage or alcoholic beer on the market: rather than removing the alcohol from a conventional beer and infusing it with cannabis extracts, Province’s products are brewed from cannabis plant stocks and stems. They are alcohol-free, but do produce a “high” from THC in the plant. Hops and cannabis share similar flavours and scents, and some researchers even believe they’re even part of the same plant family. Cannabis replaces the barley typically used in the brewing process, and there are trace amounts of a vegetable oil and starch which accelerate the effects of the THC and CBD. Normally, cannabis edibles can take up to two hours to take effect.