CLV is working on a premium range of four beers that will contain cannabis terpene blends and “other innovative ingredients,” the company said.
Terpenes are potent, fragrant oils that carry the flavor and aroma of the cannabis plant but without the psychoactive components of THC or CBD. As flavoring agents they are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) which classifies them as food additives.
The first batch of beer will be complete in April or May 2018 and released in a number of global markets this summer.
CLV has identified potential distribution partners in Europe, East Asia, Central and Latin America, Canada, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. It also plans to expand its portfolio into other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages over time.
“We are very confident that the beverages that are developed through this joint venture will be well received,” LGC CEO John McMullen said.
“The worldwide commercialization plan is aggressive and I fully expect it will have a positive impact on the revenue stream for all parties involved."
The joint venture company also plans to establish a pilot R&D brewing facility in Tallinn, Estonia, to beused for developing innovative and proprietary beverage recipes.
Craft beer embracing cannabis
According to Euromonitor, the craft beer category currently has the most to gain if it embraces the expanding legalization of cannabis as both categories appeal to a similar young adult male audience.
A blurring between cannabis and beer has begun with the alcohol industry experimenting with the flavors and aromas of the plant, but widespread availability of hybrid products combining alcohol and THC will not be prevalent in the short-term future, Euromonitor senior alcoholic drinks analyst Spiros Malandrakis said.
Foe instance, Humboldt Brewery brews its Hemp Ale with toasted hemp seeds and Lagunitas Brewing partnered with Santa Rosa-based AbsoluteXtracts to release SuperCritical, an IPA brewed with terpenes for cannabis aroma.
“The language is already happening,” Malandrakis said. “Slang, semantic associations, ‘nose’, and ‘aroma’… All of these are copy and pasted from the alcoholic drinks playbooks.”