The former head brewmaster of Blue Moon Brewing Company is launching CERIA™ BEVERAGES, which aims to introduce a line of cannabis-infused non-alcoholic craft beverages.
Keith Villa, who created Blue Moon and set the stage for the craft beer industry, serves as co-founder and brewmaster of CERIA after retiring from MolsonCoors in January.
“I’m ready to introduce another high-impact brand to the industry again, this time with a new line of custom cannabis-infused craft beers. Today, the opportunity and the demand are here, inviting Americans to enjoy a more social way of consuming cannabis – by drinking rather than by smoking it or through ingestion of edibles,” Villa said in a press release.
CERIA beverages will be offered in legalized cannabis states by the end of 2018 in at least three strengths – light, regular, and full-bodied.
“CERIA will be brewed just like an alcoholic craft beer to maintain its beer taste and aroma, but will then be de-alcoholized prior to the infusion of cannabis,” Villa said.
Other non-alcoholic cannabis beverages are in the works. CBD-infused and THC-infused sparkling water is coming to gas stations and convenience stores across the western United States this year as Mountjoy Sparkling finalized an agreement with Green Reef Distributing in January.
CERIA is working with ebbu, a Colorado-based cannabinoid research firm, to develop cannabis formulations that inspire specific sensations like “chill, bliss, and energy,” according to the release.
The new beverage company is also working with leading beverage industry advisement firm, InterContinental Beverage Capital (IBC), to assist in setting up business operations and in the development of its strategic and commercialization plans.
Major beer companies have been noticing the potential of cannabis. In October, American-based Constellation Brands, the firm behind major beer brands Corona and Modelo, announced it purchased a 10 percent stake in Canadian cannabis giant Canopy Growth Corporation. The $190 million acquisition prepares the company to market cannabis drinks in Canada after recreational adult-use cannabis legalization this summer.
At a National Beer Wholesalers Association meeting last year, Heineken USA CEO Ronald den Elzen mentioned the potential for cannabis to compete with the beer market, saying “Wine and spirits are not sitting still and marijuana is being legalized in many states across the country. We have to act now and we have to do it together.”
In 2017, Lagunitas partnered with CannaCraft AbsoluteXtracts to make SuperCritical, “infused with NorCal’s Finest Cannabis and Yakima’s Finest Hops.”
Humboldt Distillery released “Humboldt’s Finest” in 2016, a limited release premium small batch vodka infused with legal U.S.-grown hemp. Colorado’s Dude’s Brew also sold “General Washington’s Secret Stash,” another cannabis-infused beer, in 2016.