Cannabis Beer – August 2018
Four years ago, we wrote about the opportunities for patenting cannabis inventions. At the time, patenting cannabis technology was a novel idea.
Since that time, the cannabis industry has grown exponentially. And, several companies have developed cannabis technology. Most notably, Colorado-based ebbu has opened up a whole new area of formulated cannabis products, which use specific combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes to optimize the users’ experience.
Similarly, we predicted that a cannabis beer industry would emerge, creating a landscape for cannabis beer patents. Here’s the simple logic:
- Cannabis technology is patentable;
- Food technology is patentable; and
- Beer technology is patentable.
- Accordingly cannabis foods and beverages represent a categories of overlapping patentable subject matter.
Recently, several players have entered the cannabis beer space. Below are updates that have been in the recent mainstream news.
Cannabis beer update: Hi Fi Hops
On August 8, 2018, Business Insider wrote an article about a new beer (Hi Fi Hops by Lagunitas/Heineken) that is brewed with marijuana. See also The Wall Street Journal. The Lagunitas brew is currently available in two varieties. The beer is available in two varieties, neither of which contain alcohol. One is purely THC, with 10mg per can (roughly the same as you’d find in an edible like a gummy); the other is a hybrid variety with 5mg of THC and 5mg of CBD.
CERIA – Cannabis Beer by Blue Moon’s Inventor Keith Villa
Heineken is not the first beer company to develop cannabis beer. In January of this year, Forbes Magazine reported that Keith Villa, inventor of Blue Moon left Molson Coors in order to develop a new cannabis beer company called Ceria. According to Ceria’s website, Mr. Villa’s new creation will leverage the proprietary cannabinoid science of ebbu (see above).
The partnership between ebbu and Ceria is interesting. Combining the idea of (A) cannabis beer with (B) purposefully designed cannabis formulation will allow Ceria to create next generation cannabis beer products that do not suffer from the inherent chemical variability of cannabis plants.
Province Brands – Brewing with Waste Material
Other companies appear to be pursuing a more conventional approach of using cannabis plant material in the brewing process. One notable spin on a conventional brewing approach comes from Michael Wendschuh and Province Brands.
Province Brands uses cannabis waste material as an ingredient within the brewing process. They are literally brewing beer with garbage. According to an article in the Guardian, Province Brand’s beer “offers an alternate use for what is essentially a waste product for the industry.” According to Michael Wendschuh, “we take [the waste] off the grower’s hands, saving them the cost of hiring a licensed disposal company to dispose of them.”