Article by Kristine Owram
Interest from alcohol giants such as Constellation Brands Inc. and Molson Coors Brewing Co. has made cannabis-infused beverages the most talked-about product in the pot industry, but there’s one widely acknowledged problem: they taste awful.
A tiny Canadian company thinks it’s found a solution. Instead of infusing a drink with cannabinoids such as THC or CBD, then masking the oily, bitter concoction with sugar as many beverage makers do in the U.S., Province Brands of Canada is developing beer brewed directly from the cannabis plant.
“The offerings that are currently available are so suboptimal that it’s hard to see a bright future for cannabis beverages, but like anything else it has to start somewhere,” Dooma Wendschuh, chief executive officer and co-founder of Toronto-based Province Brands, said in an interview. Beer probably tasted like mouldy bread at the beginning too, Wendschuh pointed out.
Province’s patent-pending idea is to replace the barley typically used in the brewing process with the stalks, stems and roots of the cannabis plant. Adding hops and water, Wendschuh is convinced he can create a line of non-alcoholic beverages that taste just as good as any beer on the market. It might not get you drunk but it may get you high as it will contain 6.5 milligrams of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
The market has big potential — a September report from Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. estimated that sales of drinks infused with THC or CBD will reach $600 million (U.S.) in the U.S. by 2022. In Canada, edible forms of cannabis won’t be legal until next year.