Keith Villa created the popular US beer Blue Moon in 1995 and retired from its parent company MolsonCoors in 2018. He has since founded Ceria Brewing Company to develop cannabis-infused beers and launched its first product in December. Keef Bottling, Sleeping Giant Brewing Company of Denver and O’Fallon Brewing of St. Louis helped bring it to life.
Brewed vs. infused
The Grainwave Belgian-style White Ale is brewed with blood orange peel and coriander, infused with 5mg of THC per 10pz bottle. It’s a traditionally brewed beer that then goes through a de-alcoholization process before infusing the cannabis, similar to the methods Two Roots Brewing Co. uses with its line of ‘cannacrafted’ beers.
“We craft our beers using traditional, proven brewing techniques and high-quality malts, hops and spices for optimal flavor,” said Ceria.
“Once we’ve arrived at the perfect liquid, we take the alcohol out and add the cannabis extract in, carefully metering to get an exact amount of THC in every beer and taking samples constantly to ensure the Ceria you are enjoying is an incredible tasting beer delivering an extraordinary experience every time."
Ceria’s first beer is only available at select Colorado dispensaries. It also plans to release two new beers in early 2019, including an American Lager with 3mg of THC and an IPA with 10mg of THC.
The beers developed by Ceria and Two Roots Brewing Co. are cannabis-infused, an important distinction from cannabis-brewed. Canna-infused products are brewed as regular beer with barley, then stripped of their alcohol before adding the cannabis. Canna-brewed products, like Canada’s Lost Craft Beer , are brewed with the stalks, stems and roots of the cannabis plant.
Colorado network expansion
Ceria announced that the beer will be brewed by craft beer specialists Sleeping Giant Brewing Company, the first and largest dedicated contract brewery in the western US. It will then go through the de-alcoholization process at O’Fallon Brewing of St. Louis, a maker of craft beer since 2000 and de-alcoholized beer for the past two years.
Keef Bottling will handle the manufacturing and distribution throughout Colorado. It already works with cannabis-infused products through its licensed distribution network in Colorado, California, Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, Puerto Rico and Jamaica.
Erik Knutson, CEO of Keef Brands, said “We plan and expect to have licensed manufacturing and distribution in all legalized states and are currently in active dialogue to make certain this comes to fruition.”
Jodi Villa, CEO and co-founder of Ceria, said “We also plan to partner with Keef Bottling and its licensees in northern California and Nevada as our products are introduced to consumers in those markets by second quarter 2019 – there’s already strong anticipation for its availability at licensed dispensaries in those states.”