Just not cricket: Australian charged $68,000 for a beer in Britain

SYDNEY (Reuters) – An Australian cricket journalist in Britain for the Ashes test series is claiming to have drunk “the most expensive beer in history” after being charged nearly A$ 100,000 ($ 68,120) for the tipple.

Peter Lalor, chief cricket writer for the Australian newspaper, said he stopped for a drink at a bar in Manchester, northwest England, on Sunday ahead of the fourth Ashes test at Old Trafford.

Relaying the tale on his Twitter account, Lalor said he was not wearing his glasses, so he did not check the bill for the bottle of Deuchars IPA he ordered before handing over his bank card.

The rude shock came a few hours later when Lalor’s wife, at home in Australia, alerted him to the fact that A$ 99,983.64 had been stripped from their joint account. Adding to the pain, he’d been slugged another A$ 2,500 as a transaction fee.

Some sleuthing revealed that instead of entering 5.50 pounds ($ 6.78), bar staff charged him 55,000 pounds for a single beer.

The operator of the bar, the Malmaison Hotel, was not immediately available for comment, but a spokeswoman told the Guardian newspaper it was investigating.

Lalor said the funds were drained from his mortgage offset account and he was surprised not have received any notification from his bank, which he did not name.

The transaction fee has already been refunded, but Lalor will have a “massive hole” in his finances for the nine working days it will take the larger amount to be returned.

As for the quality of the ale itself, which has won a number of awards, Lalor was ambivalent: “It was good, but not that good.”

Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Jane Wardell

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Beer with the prince: Liechtenstein marks 300th anniversary

VADUZ (Reuters) – The tiny principality of Liechtenstein celebrated its 300th anniversary on Thursday as an island of peace and prosperity in an unsettled world — and a place where citizens can go drink a beer with their monarch.

Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein takes a beer from a waitress during a party celebrating the country’s 300th birthday in the gardens of Schloss Vaduz castle in Vaduz, Liechtenstein August 15, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

“It is a privilege for me to be able to do that,” said Johannes Allgaeuer, 26, after quaffing a cold one with Prince Hans-Adam II at a garden party outside his castle, perched above the capital Vaduz.

He noted that it was hardly as unusual as, say, an American meeting up with Donald Trump: “We are one big family here. We see a lot of one another. You run into one other a lot.”

What made Thursday’s state holiday so special was that it marked the 300th birthday of Liechtenstein, which nestles in the Alps between Switzerland and Austria and is the world’s sixth-smallest country, with a population of around 38,000.

Some Liechtensteiners had a problem with the ruling dynasty when Hans-Adam, whose wealthy family owns LGT Bank, threatened in 2003 to abdicate if his subjects did not grant him more constitutional powers in a spat over judicial nominees. He won the vote easily.

Now, most citizens solidly back the monarchy, said Manfred Frick, 39, dressed up in a brass band’s uniform.

“Politicians come and go, but the princely dynasty is here forever,” he said.

Prince Alois, the 51-year-old acting head of state and heir to the throne, struck the same tone in a speech to thousands of flag-waving compatriots assembled in an Alpine meadow.

“Our country is among the safest places in the world. The rule of law is firmly established. There is hardly any other country where the individual has as much say in politics,” he said. “We enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world,” he added, recalling the land was a poor backwater three centuries ago.

German is the official language, though residents mainly speak an Alpine dialect of it among themselves, rather than the formal version. The currency is the Swiss franc. Four out of five residents are Roman Catholic.

Along with Norway, Iceland and Switzerland, it is part of the European Free Trade Association of countries that belong to the European single market without being part of the EU.

The biggest employer is Hilti, a company that makes power tools. The economy is also boosted by financial services, and becoming a hub for crypto-currencies.

Alois, a graduate of Britain’s Sandhurst military academy, is the son of Hans-Adam and grandson of Franz Josef II, who moved the family from Vienna in 1938 to lands an ancestor had bought to gain a seat on the Holy Roman Empire’s council of princes.

The prince’s veto power makes the monarchy one of the few in Europe with political authority, although Liechtensteiners have the right to hold a referendum to revoke their confidence in the prince should at least 1,500 citizens support the idea.

Thursday’s official celebration caps a year of festivities that include a contest to pick an anniversary song. The winning entry was “This is Where I Belong”.

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Are Cannabis Users the Next Target For Non-Alcoholic Beer?

Cannabis legalization has not only spurred a wide variety of new industries, but it’s reinvigorating some old business models. Noticing the growing interest around terpenes — plant compounds found in cannabis and hops (and fruits, flowers, coffee and pretty much anything else grown on Earth) — Niki Sawni decided to start a line of non-alcoholic beverages geared toward cannabis users.

Using terpenes to make non-alcoholic IPAs, sours and even wines, Sawni’s beverage company, Gruvi, has been able to breathe new life into sober drinks; Gruvi products are now on the shelves of 45 liquor stores and craft breweries around Colorado. We recently sat down with Sawni to learn more about how drinking terpenes without the booze can affect our experiences with cannabis.

Westword: What makes these drinks similar or different from a non-alcoholic beer like O’Doul’s?

Niki Sawni: Gruvi and O’Doul’s are similar in that they are both non-alcoholic beers, but that’s essentially where it ends. O’Doul’s, owned by Anheuser-Busch, has been around for many years but was missing the taste and quality of the craft beers we all love. Gruvi is focused on creating craft NA beer that actually tastes like beer. We have the only NA IPA, Berliner Weisse and Prosecco in Colorado! Most other non-alcoholic companies brew their beer to full-strength, then boil off the alcohol, leaving a watered-down and oddly sweet beverage. Gruvi uses a different process, called arrested fermentation, where yeast is monitored and cooled to prevent the sugar from fermenting into alcohol. This allows Gruvi to retain flavors and maintain a full body.

How can drinking straight-edge beverages with terpenes affect one’s experience with consuming cannabis?

Marijuana Deals Near You

As cannabis consumption continues to evolve into more social spaces, we noticed many people needed beer- or wine-like beverages to feel comfortable in a social setting. However, we all know that mixing too much booze with cannabis can have some rather undesirable effects. With Gruvi, cannabis consumers can still have an equally social experience while maintaining a safe and healthy cannabis experience.

Gruvi’s drinks are brewed with natural terpenes to complement cannabis. Similar to essential oils, terpene aromas and flavors have different effects on the body, especially when combined with THC or CBD. For example, our Berliner Weisse has the terpene limonene (citrus), which has been found to elevate mood and energy. We’ve chosen terpenes that are the most common in various cannabis strains to create exciting complement and pairing options.

Gruvi founder Niki Sawni.

Gruvi founder Niki Sawni.

Courtesy of Gruvi

You’re already in quite a few liquor stores and craft breweries. How have you carved out this new-yet-old niche with retailers?

Carving this “new” niche has honestly been pretty easy here in Denver. Retailers and bar managers are noticing an increase in customers seeking good NA options, and have been very open and supportive to carrying Gruvi. They see this trend that consumers are looking to lead a healthier lifestyle but still remain socially active. Gruvi is the perfect drink to make that happen.

What varieties of drinks does Gruvi make? What are your favorite pairings?

We have a Gruvi IPA, brewed with Citra, Mosaic, Galaxy and Ekuanot hops. The IPA is a light-but-hoppy
alternative to heavy beers. Packed with humulene from those hops, this IPA is great for relaxing and suppressing hunger. It pairs well with any dank indica strain, like Death Star. Then there’s our Gruvi Weisse, a lightly tart and sour beer based on a Berliner Weisse and boasting only 26 calories. If La Croix and sour beer had a baby, this would be it. Brewed with lemon peels, the terpene limonene will energize and elevate mood. It pairs best with a citrus strain, like Super Lemon Haze. And we also have a Gruvi prosecco, a sweet and bubbly NA treat! The prosecco is gluten-free and made with real wine grapes. Grape skins contain the terpene linalool, which has been found to reduce anxiety. It pairs well with any sweet berry strains, like Member Berry or Purple Urkle.

Why not add THC or CBD to the drinks?

We really liked the idea of allowing our customers to consume THC or CBD in their own preferred way and quantity. While some prefer edibles, many other cannabis consumers prefer oil or flower instead. We just want to be the drink that is sipped alongside cannabis, no matter how that person likes to light up or consume.

Like many Coloradans, you’re a transplant. But you came here shortly after Canada legalized cannabis countrywide. Why make the move here when you did?

We chose Denver because the people of Denver love their pot and their craft beers! There couldn’t be a better place for us. The local cannabis community has been so amazing in helping us grow and spread the word. We’ve met some amazing people and have had some great feedback so far. Stay tuned for an exciting Gruvi pop-up event in the fall!

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Liquor Stores Try CBD to Soothe Fading Beer Sales

Hemp-derived cannabidiol is being used across the country to treat anxiety, pain, inflammation and skin disorders. Now two metro liquor stores are hoping that CBD can also alleviate falling beer sales.

Total Beverage‘s megastores in Thornton and Westminster were feeling the heat from nearby grocery stores that can now sell full-strength beer in Colorado, according to store manager Rick Morgan, so he and fellow executives starting brainstorming.

“We were trying to explore new options for the store. With the loss of beer sales to grocery stores, we wanted to see what else we could do that other places weren’t,” he explains. “We’re still experimenting right now, but it seems to be one of the next up-and-coming things.”

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Since March 22, both Total Beverage locations have featured CBD sections, which stock vaporizers, gummies, popcorn, drinks and even pet treats infused with the cannabinoid. Some of the drinks can be used as a mixer for cocktails, like the alcoholic bitters or CBD-infused sodas, while the relaxation shots — 5-Hour Energy-looking drinks with vitamins and 15 to 20 milligrams of CBD — could be used for a hangover the day after.

Total Beverage isn’t the only booze-toting business to push CBD in an effort to lure more customers: The Nickel bar inside of Hotel Teatro serves a small list of cocktails garnished with CBD oil, and it will add it to other drinks upon request, while Argonaut Liquors also sells CBD bitters in the store’s mixer section.

Larger corporations want a piece of the action, too. Alcohol giants such as Molson Coors and Constellation Brands have already inked billion-dollar partnerships with Canadian companies that make cannabis-infused drinks, while Aurora brewery Dad’s & Dude’s Breweria and its CBD-infused beer recipe were purchased by a San Diego-based cannabis company in February.

Marijuana Deals Near You

Although CBD’s medical benefits can be oversold by product manufacturers, the compound has surged in popularity since industrial hemp was legalized late in 2018 — especially in Colorado and other states where recreational marijuana was already legal. Amendment 64 gave in-state hemp and CBD companies a head start at making all the infused goodies that Coloradans are free to buy today, while states such as New York and South Dakota still wrestle with hemp and CBD regulations.

Today even liquor distributors are dabbling in CBD-infused sparkling waters and magical hangover cures, and Morgan expects some to contact him now that the Total stores have their new sections.

“We’re trying to capture some of that audience of people who want to try CBD but don’t want to go to a dispensary, or don’t know where to find it,” he says. “I anticipate that we’ll hear more now that we have these up.”

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Cannabis Company Buys Colorado Brewery and Its CBD Beer Formula

For the past three years, Mason Hembree has been working on a difficult balancing act. He’s a craft beer brewer who feels more at home in the cannabis industry, a Libertarian iconoclast who is nevertheless trying to work within the system, and the owner of a tiny company who wants to play ball with the big boys.

Now, Hembree, who co-founded Dad & Dudes Breweria in Aurora in 2010, may have finally found the perfect nexus of those things. In late February, Hembree and his father, Thomas, sold their brewery to San Diego-based Cannabiniers, a company with big plans for growth.

The Hembrees also sold their unique intellectual property: the first and only federally-approved formula for brewing beer with CBD (a non-psychoactive hemp extract), as well as their patent-pending process for infusing that CBD into beer in a cost-effective way.

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“We are a group of rebels who have this great experiment going and now we have new allies who understand our intention. We are happy they saw the value in it,” says Mason, who will continue to run the brewery. “Even though on paper, it is an acquisition, we really view it more as a merger.”

“It’s a no-brainer,” adds Cannabiniers vice president Kevin Love. “They have this formula that no one else has, and they really opened our eyes to how we could get behind it with the mass of our organization.”

Cannabis Company Buys Colorado Brewery and Its CBD Beer Formula

Dads & Dudes Breweria

Cannabiniers is a beverage marketing company that bought San Diego’s Helm’s Brewing, a traditional craft brewery, in early 2018 and then launched Two Roots Brewing, which makes non-alcoholic beers infused with THC, which is stuff in cannabis that does get you high. The company is currently in negotiations to purchase at least three other breweries around the country, Love says, including two with large brewing capacities.

The eventual goal is to sell Two Roots in every state that allows marijuana sales, but also to run traditional beer breweries and to make non-alcoholic beer.

“We are following consumer trends in adult beverages. We had those three verticals, and hadn’t planned to get into THC beer with alcohol,” Love says. But since CBD doesn’t have psychotropic effects and is often used by people for its health benefits, Love says there are “no adverse complications” there. And with Dad & Dudes TTB approval and pending patent, the opportunity was just too good to ignore.

Back in September 2016, Dad & Dude’s became the first — and only — brewery in the country to gain approval from the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) for a CBD-infused beer. The bureaucratic process took about a year, because the TTB required a thorough analysis of the beer’s ingredients and its recipe before it would grant formula approval.

The beer itself, George Washington’s Secret Stash, made quite an impression, drawing long lines at the Great American Beer Festival, and Hembree announced plans to distribute it in other states. (It was named for Washington because the first president had grown hemp for its textile uses.)

Cannabis Company Buys Colorado Brewery and Its CBD Beer Formula

Dads & Dudes Breweria

But in December 2014, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration surprised the CBD and hemp industries by declaring that it still considered cannabidiol (CBD’s full name) and hemp extract — even if non-psychoactive — to be Schedule 1 substances, just like marijuana. As a result, the TTB asked Dad & Dude’s to surrender its formula.

Hembree refused to do that and hired the same law firm that has been representing the Hemp Industries Association in an ongoing federal lawsuit against the DEA that came about as a result of the agency’s December decision. He did stop brewing the beer, however.

Last December, Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act  (where it had been classified, along with marijuana, since 1937), something that made it legal for farms to grow it as a crop and for states to regulate its cultivation and sale. But its future, along with CBD’s, is still uncertain, as other federal agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, have raised concerns.

Hembree, however, wasn’t waiting around. Last July 4, after an eighteen-month hiatus, Dad & Dude’s quietly began brewing George Washington’s Secret Stash again, using its patent-pending and TTB-approved process. “We are announcing this now because we believe the dam is breaking for antiquated cannabis laws,” Hembree said at the time. The beer, an IPA, is infused with 4.2 milligrams of CBD per pint.

Cannabis Company Buys Colorado Brewery and Its CBD Beer Formula

Dads & Dudes Breweria

Over the past year, several small breweries across the country have brewed CBD-infused beers without formula approval from the TTB — and received letters telling them to stop. Some of these cases, in Florida and California, in particular, received media attention. Since Dad & Dudes does have formula approval, however, the federal agency can’t exactly tell them the same thing.

“They [Dads & Dudes] are the only ones who are allowed to do it,” Love says. “It’s a huge opportunity and the intellectual property is going to be well protected for the next few years, I would imagine.”

He also notes that Cannabiniers will rely on the Hembrees and their staff to keep pushing things. “They are the DNA of Dad & Dudes, literally, and their greatest asset. It was their ability to be brave and go out and get approval from TTB, and to fight to maintain it…that got that organization to where they are today.”

Both Hembree and Love say they don’t plan to make an immediate changes but that the eventual goal is to scale up production of Dad & Dudes CBD beers, perhaps at the one of the breweries that Cannabiniers is currently in negotiations with. “We plan to move with diligence and thoughtfulness,” Love says.

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Craft Brewing Inches Closer to THC and CBD Beer

Craft brewers are known for their collaborative spirit. But that’s within the walls of the beer world. When it comes to other vices — like wine, spirits and cannabis — some industry leaders have been a bit standoffish.

Boston Beer Company, the biggest “craft brewery” in the country, for instance, warned in early 2016 that marijuana legalization could hurt breweries if people spent their dollars there, and the Brewers Association has been so uncomfortable around the subject that the industry trade group has barely mentioned it in past years — though it did offer some analysis of that competition in early 2017.

But that’s changing. In July, Brewers Association economist Bart Watson surveyed members about what they are making “beyond beer.” Among the ten questions on the survey were specific queries about flavored malt beverages, hard seltzer, sake, kombucha, cider, wine and spirits. The final two questions took on the subject of cannabis directly: Are you, or would you make a beverage containing THC or CBD?

Apparently, the overwhelming response was yes.

In a letter to members this week, BA board chairman Eric Wallace — the founder of Longmont’s Left Hand Brewing — said that the organization is considering a change to its controversial three-pronged definition of what it considers to be a craft brewery, according to Brewbound, an industry blog. While the limits on size and independence would stay intact, he wrote, the BA is thinking about dropping a requirement that the majority of a craft brewery’s total production volume come from “traditional or innovative brewing ingredients.”

After evaluating 1,000 answers to Watson’s survey, the BA realized that “an increasing number of craft brewers are already experimenting with non-traditional beer offerings such as flavored malt beverages and hard seltzers. A growing number of BA members have also expressed interest in creating beverages infused with THC and CBD,” Wallace wrote, according to Brewbound. “Nearly half surveyed said they would consider producing beers containing CBD or THC should the regulatory structure change federally around those potential products.”

Coincidentally — or maybe not so coincidentally — the BA is also seeking someone to author a book on the “history, regulatory environment, agriculture, chemical properties, and use of cannabis and hemp in brewing craft beer and other beverages through an era of social change.”

While there is speculation that a change could be a thinly veiled attempt to keep Boston Beer Company in the fold (the maker of Sam Adams has moved more and more into other kinds of alcoholic beverages, like cider and hard tea), the BA itself denies that, saying the change is just reflective of changing times.

Currently, the federal government doesn’t permit breweries to make beer with THC or its non-psychoactive cousin, CBD, though there are some non-alcoholic “beers” that contain either or both. If the feds every change their minds, THC and CBD beers would probably still fit within the definition of “craft” beer.

If the BA changed its definition, though, it would certainly make room for a variety of new alcoholic beverages to be considered craft, including those with THC and CBD. BA spokeswoman Ann Obenchain stresses, however, that “no decisions about the new definition will be made until the board has weighed and discussed input from the voting members at its November 29 board meeting.”

In Colorado, Dad & Dude’s Breweria legally made a CBD-infused beer for a short time before having to discontinue it after the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau changed its mind.

New Belgium Brewing currently makes The Hemperor HPA using hemp hearts (the meat of the seed, minus the shell), “as that is all the federal government will allow,” says brewery spokesman Bryan Simpson.

“My personal take is that the BA is thinking more broadly than that as brewers get ever more experimental with their portfolios and start looking into ciders, FMBs [flavored malt beverages] and other potential hybrids,” he adds. They have recognized that “brewers are bringing a wider array of potential ingredients into their mix, and it would appear they are looking to foster that creativity.”

A proposed Farm Bill that will go before legislators in Washington, D.C., in 2019 includes a provision that would make the entire hemp plant legal for production. “The BA could well be preparing for that possibility,” Simpson says.

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Slightly Less Lame Kansas Now Allows Sale of New Belgium Hemp Beer

It took long enough, but the country is finally starting to come around to hemp. Kansas is just taking a little longer than the rest of us.

The non-psycoactive cannabis plant and the oils, fibers and cannabinoids derived from it have seen a huge boom in consumer interest over the past few years and grew 16 percent in sales from 2016 to 2017, according to a recent analysis from Hemp Industry Daily. Hemp has even become an ingredient in beer, with Fort Collins-based New Belgium Brewing Company (the fourth-largest craft brewery in the country) releasing a pale ale in March that is brewed with hemp seeds to extract cannabis-like flavor and aromas.

Mixing beer and cannabis — even a harmless hemp seed with no THC or CBD — was sure to raise some uneducated eyebrows, but most of the country was pretty cool with Hemperor HPA (hemp pale ale), despite initial apprehension from a few states, according to New Belgium CEO Steve Fechheimer. In fact, 49 states allowed it to be sold within their borders shortly after the beer’s release. The only state that didn’t? Kansas.

According to New Belgium, the beer was rejected earlier this year by the Kansas Alcoholic Beverage Control agency, which cited hemp as a banned ingredient in any alcoholic beverages. The state agency changed its mind in September, however, after New Belgium requested a review of the decision and Kansas state laws regarding industrial hemp. (The Kansas ABC didn’t respond to requests for comment.)

Although not quite as square as the attorneys general of Oklahoma and Nebraska, both of whom sued the State of Colorado in federal court in 2014 for legalizing cannabis, Kansas AG Derek Schmidt still isn’t as woke as pot advocates would like. Before reversing himself in June, he’d deemed all hemp-derived CBD products illegal within the state, and once said this about Colorado to the Kansas City Star: “But doggone it, they have done something that federal law says they may not do, and it’s Kansans who are paying a price for that.”

I’ve met many fine people from Kansas, and I’m sure there’s more to the state than endless flatlands and dozens of billboards praising Donald Trump, Jesus and University of Kansas basketball. But the people running that state need to get real. You can buy hemp seeds at King Soopers for your morning yogurt, and my girlfriend’s mom uses hemp-seed oil for her poodle’s skin condition. This was an easy 2+2 equation, yet somehow state regulators turned it into algebra.

New Belgium appears to be happy and lighthearted about the news. “We’d like to think Kansans could no longer bear living life without experiencing the Hemperor’s game-changing union of hops and hemp,” spokesman Jesse Claeys says. “It could also be that Kansas, like many other states in our glorious union, finally got a whiff of how versatile and sustainable of a crop industrial hemp can be, and how it could play a much bigger role in our economy.”

Cheers to hemp and cannabis, Kansans — even if you still can’t smoke it.

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Adolphus A. Busch V Talks About Branching Out From Beer to Buds

When Adolphus A. Busch V, the great-great-grandson of Eberhard Adolphus Anheuser Busch, announced the launch of his Colorado-based cannabis brand on October 10, there were plenty of easy assumptions to make about big alcohol’s infiltration of legal weed. But the Colorado State University graduate says Budweiser and its parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, have nothing to do with his new venture, ABV Cannabis Co.

According to the Adolphus V, he started his company thanks to a “small investment” from his father, Adolphus Busch IV (the last Busch to control Anheuser-Busch), and that came after several years of grinding through the the beginning of Colorado’s recreational pot industry. Now he’s selling CO2-extracted hash pens across Colorado, with plans to expand into flower sales and jump into other states soon. To learn more about his background and plans in pot, Westword caught up with the young Busch.

You’ve been working in legal cannabis for some quite some time. How’d you get your start, and why’d you decide to start your own brand?

I started applying for jobs in the cannabis industry right after I graduated. Through a networking connection, I met the CEO of BioTrackTHC and began a consumer-relations and sales role for the company. After a couple of months, I moved on to Lightshade to learn the retail side of the industry. At the 2015 X Games, I met some investors in Keef Cola, and they introduced me to the owners. I started with Keef in February of 2015 and stayed with them as a sales rep, and then as a sales manager and account manager. I stepped out of Keef at the end of August 2017 to start my company.

I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I wanted to start a business of my own since high school. I was working on business plans in college, but knew it would be smart to work in the industry and learn the ins and outs before I went down my own path. My goal is to create a legacy of my own similar to how my great-great grandfather created Anheuser-Busch.

What was your family’s response when you jumped into legal cannabis?

My family has always been very supportive. My mother and sisters questioned the industry when I first got into it, but they still supported my decision. My father was on board from the moment I got into the industry. He saw the potential and knew that this would be the industry I could create a legacy in.

I see that you were denied a job by Anheuser-Busch. Why was that? Will the Busch family or Anheuser-Busch be involved with ABV Cannabis Co.?

Anheuser-Busch implemented a nepotism law. They would no longer hire Busch family members after the sale of the company [in 2008]. I applied in 2012-13 and was told the interviews went well and things were looking up. I received a call two weeks later letting me know that they could no longer hire Busch family members.

My father has invested a small amount into my business. It is funded solely by me and my father so far. Anheuser-Busch is not involved.

How will your name help you in legal cannabis? Is there any way you think your last name could hurt you?

We are dedicated to creating consistent, quality products, just like my family did for so many years in the beer industry. I hope that when people see my name and my company, they’ll think of consistent, quality products for the everyman.

There will always be people with their opinions, assumptions and false facts. The facts are that I paid my dues in this industry to get to where I am, I have self-funded my company (other than my father’s investment), we are not affiliated or otherwise associated with Anheuser-Busch InBev and haven’t been since 2008, and my goal is to create a company of my own and to give back when and where we can.

Why do you choose CO2 oil instead of BHO or distillate?

We are currently filling our disposable vapes with CO2 oil because we believe in our full-spectrum CO2 oil. Full-spectrum, CO2-extracted cannabis oil is going to give most consumers a more desirable high that will mimic the high of the flower it was extracted from.

Distillate is pure THC. A pure distillate has been ripped of all other cannabinoids. This is not to say we will not be getting into distillate products — we are — but we wanted to start with a simple formulation that consumers can enjoy for an affordable price. We use natural, strain-specific terpenes for increased flavor and effects. Each one of our disposables will taste the same every time you buy them.

What are some of your favorite strains?

I prefer indicas, as I tend to consume more frequently at night to unwind from a long day, or to help me sleep. Grand Daddy Purple has always been one of my favorite indicas, and it sure brings back memories.

How do you get your cannabis? Is it grown in-house, or do you get it from other growers?

I have a licensing agreement in place with Pure Greens, located in Salida. I have an incredible relationship with this group. They are some of the most professional businesspeople I have met in this industry, and it is a pleasure to get to work with and for them. We hope to grow together as a team.

Sorry, but I have to ask: Any plans for a THC-infused beer in the future?

There are currently no plans to create a THC-infused beer. However, there has been a lot of internal talk about creating other beverages in the cannabis and CBD spaces.

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Molson Coors to Develop Non-alcoholic, Cannabis-infused Beer for Canada

DENVER (AP) — Molson Coors will attempt to sell cannabis-infused drinks in Canada, where consumable marijuana will become legal in 2019. Molson Coors Brewing Co. is based in Colorado, which along with Washington, were the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana. Recreational marijuana becomes legal in Canada on Oct. 7, 2018, but consumable […]

Drinking Beer, Toking Up and Driving With Adams County Deputies

It’s never a good idea to smoke weed in front of a police officer, let alone get behind the wheel right after — but that’s exactly what people were doing with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office on Monday, July 16.

During this truly unique event, Adams County sheriff’s deputies invited participants to drink beers, smoke joints and then test their driving skills in order to determine how impaired they really were. The challenge was the brainchild of cannabis consulting firm Dacorum Strategies, which partnered with the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, Lyft and Colorado NORML to raise awareness about driving while impaired.

Drivers were split into three groups, with one designated for cannabis consumption, one for alcohol, and another for texting while driving. Each driver smoked a joint or drank a pot-infused soda with ten milligrams of THC, or had a beer, or texted while driving with a driving instructor, while observers counted the number of cones hit by their cars. After the cannabis and alcohol users were done with each round of driving, an Adams County sheriff’s deputy conducted a roadside impairment test.

“I think there are a lot of myths about what marijuana impairment looks like and what it does behind the wheel,” says Adams County Sheriff Michael McIntosh. “It’s an education process, and it doesn’t matter what side of the legalization argument you’re on. For law enforcement, it’s our job to ensure the safety of our community.”

The sale of recreational cannabis has been legal in Colorado for over four years, but state and local law enforcement agencies continue to struggle with how to identify drivers who are impaired from cannabis use. Because cannabis can’t be measured through saliva or breath, as alcohol can be, cannabis DUI charges strongly depend on subjective roadside testing.

The driving challenge took place at the Adams County Sheriff's Flatrock Training Facility.EXPAND

The driving challenge took place at the Adams County Sheriff’s Flatrock Training Facility.

Thomas Mitchell

McIntosh considers alcohol and cannabis consumption major safety risks for Colorado drivers. While he says he believes that texting while driving is even more dangerous, the sheriff also thinks that new consumption methods and the potency of legal cannabis products have created big misconceptions about the safety of driving while stoned. Even worse, most of the drivers who are pulled over in Adams County for texting, drinking or consuming cannabis tend to be mixing one violation with another, according to McIntosh.

“It’s all pretty fascinating to find out, as we’re still in this experimental stage,” McIntosh explains. “People are a little freaked out that the cops are hanging out with people as they smoke or drink beer and then drive — but they’re not as afraid as they used to be. It’s easier to talk about it now.”

Dacorum Strategies founder Todd Mitchem says he was motivated to organize an event like this after the Colorado Department of Transportation released a study in April that said nearly 70 percent of cannabis users admitted to driving while high in the past year. Mitchem enlisted the help of his friends at My 420 Tours — a cannabis tourism company that drives buses for social cannabis consumption — to enroll a handful of driving guinea pigs, while Lyft provided free rides home for the alcohol and cannabis users after the event was over.

According to Mitchem, the texting drivers performed the worst on the course, hitting the most cones while driving. They were followed by cannabis users, then alcohol drinkers. But Mitchem also points out that cannabis users passed most of their initial roadside impairment tests by sheriff deputies, while alcohol users routinely failed them despite having performing better on the driving course.

“People were a little bit more nervous while driving on the cannabis side. They were slower to respond to directions in the car from [the instructor]. They’d be confused about where exactly they were going. People didn’t feel impaired, but they clearly were, even though most of them passed roadside tests,” Mitchem says. “The alcohol drivers would pass the course part of the test, but when it was time for the field sobriety test, they’d be obliterated.”

Alcohol users were more confident and tended to drive faster, he notes, while cannabis users were “overly focused” for much of the time. “People were either stoned or drunk. It was just ludicrous — as we expected,” he concludes.  “I think a lot of the marijuana folks were kind of in denial about how impaired they were. If you’re a tourist or a brand-new consumer, that risk is just not worth it.”

Toke of the Town

Blue Moon Founder Wants to Create THC-Infused Craft Beer

Keith Villa was working at Coors Brewing in 1995 when he created an unfiltered, Belgian-style beer that became the inspiration for the Blue Moon Brewing Company, which got its start as a special division in Golden and soon spread to locations at Coors Field and then RiNo. When the brewmaster retired from what’s now MolsonCoors early this year, he hinted that he had a plan to create a new beverage with “cutting-edge” ingredients.

And now we know what those are: Villa and his wife, Jodi, have partnered with an established Colorado cannabis extraction lab to start Ceria Beverages, a new line of THC-infused drinks with the “same onset time as alcohol,” according to a press release announcing the company’s launch.

Using technology from its partnership with Ebbu, an extraction lab known for its water-infusing technologies, Villa promises that his new drink will be “brewed just like an alcoholic craft beer” in order to maintain a beer taste and aroma, but any alcohol will be removed before the liquid is infused with THC. In Colorado, it’s illegal for any brewery or licensed cannabis infused-product manufacturer to make a beverage with both alcohol and THC.

“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,” Villa says in the announcement. “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.”

New Belgium Brewing and Dads & Dudes Breweria have both made headlines in the past with their CBD-infused and hemp-infused brews, but Ceria maintains that this creation is unique because it will be the first drink to be brewed like a beer without losing the THC. And with terpenes — plant compounds that affect the smell, taste and way your body reacts to THC — also heavily present in hops, the possibilities of mixing the two are exciting.

“We have always loved what Keith stands for — great-tasting mainstream beers that really kickstarted the entire craft beer movement,” Ebbu CEO Jon Cooper says in the announcement. “We are honored and thrilled to partner with Keith, Jodi and CERIA to bring this groundbreaking new product to cannabis consumers in legalized states.”

The Villas named Ceria after the university campus in Brussels, Belgium, where Keith received a doctorate in brewing science. Naturally, Keith will be the brewmaster for the company, while Jodi will serve as CEO. The drinks will only be sold in cannabis dispensaries, not breweries. There’s no solid distribution date yet; a spokeswoman for Ceria says she expects them to be on store shelves “later this year.”

Toke of the Town

Tony Magee, Lagunitas CEO, Sees Similarities Between Beer and Pot

Lagunitas Brewing Company is one of the five largest craft-beer companies in the country, and founder and CEO Tony Magee says a lot of that has to do with culture. A big part of the Lagunitas culture is the drug test. “We have a drug-testing policy: You have to test pot,” he told a laughing crowd at the National Cannabis Industry Association‘s Seed to Sale Show on Wednesday, February 7. “If you don’t like it, you don’t have to try it again.”

The brewer was invited to kick off the trade group’s largest meeting of the year in Denver at the Colorado Convention Center. Magee, who founded Lagunitas in 1993 on his wife’s stovetop in their Bay Area home, sees a number of similarities between his company’s beginnings and the start of many of the businesses whose owners were in the NCIA audience; some had started their cannabis operations when they were still illegal. Amendment 64, the measure that legalized recreational cannabis in Colorado, references regulation similar to  alcohol regulations numerous times in its language, and Magee has dealt with issues relating to both substances.

His brewery’s Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale was created in honor of an undercover police investigation into Lagunitas for alleged cannabis consumption on the premises in 2005, and it’s not the only pot-inspired beer in the lineup. Lagunitas has also brewed a SuperCritical Ale infused with cannabis terpenes and The Waldos’ Special Ale, a beer released every year in honor of 4/20. Magee sees the brewer and cannabis breeder as kindred spirits, in part because of their connection through terpenes, compounds found in both cannabis and in hops that are responsible for certain smells and flavors.

Lagunitas founder and CEO Tony Magee at the NCIA Seed to Sale Show Wednesday, February 8.

Lagunitas founder and CEO Tony Magee at the NCIA Seed to Sale Show Wednesday, February 8.

Courtesy of the National Cannabis Industry Association

“I don’t know anyone in craft beer who doesn’t smoke weed,” Magee said, explaining that the citrus, piney qualities of Citra of Simcoe hops are much like the notes of Cali Orange or OG Kush. Magee’s personal connection to cannabis runs even deeper: He thanks High Times magazine for being the only place he could buy home-brewing kits before President Jimmy Carter legalized home brewing in 1978, and he believes the plant helped him curb attention-deficit issues when he was growing up. However, he told the crowd of potrepreneurs that their industry could learn from craft beer’s inclusiveness.

“It’s about bridging the gap between you and your customers,” he said. “Never do these [bold] things to pursue money. You want to pursue experiences and journeys for your customers.” Pointing to the free tours and samples that many craft breweries offer customers, Magee told the group that he thinks dispensary owners should continue fighting against over-regulation while creating ways to connect with their customers. If not, the cannabis industry could face the same growth and contraction that have affected many of Laguintas’s competitors.

There were over 3,000 breweries in the United States around 1870, Magee noted, but around the same time, corporations such as Heineken, Coors and Budweiser were formed, and consolidation soon followed. When Prohibition began in 1920, the number of U.S. breweries had declined by around 50 percent, and the total sat at just 51 breweries in the years immediately after Prohibition was lifted. Magee, who sold 50 percent of Lagunitas to Heineken in 2015, believes that craft beer is going through a contraction period similar to the one before Prohibition — something that state-licensed cannabis businesses may have to deal with if federal legalization occurs.

“In the emergence of craft [beer], there have been many cycles. Right now you’re all in a boom cycle. It’s locally ruled with no wide distribution,” he told conference attendees. “But I see a future with Corona Extra Buzz or Redbull Relax. … A business is a cash flow, but a brand has value.”

The NCIA Seed to Sale Show, a conference showcasing new technologies and strategies in the cannabis industry, will continue today, February 8, at the Colorado Convention Center.

Toke of the Town

Portable Czech brewery brings home-made beer garden dreams a step closer

PRAGUE (Reuters) – For beer lovers who dream of brewing their own pint, a portable brewery from the Czech Republic may be just the thing – if they have $ 124,000 to spare.

Fitting into a standard shipment container, the “Smart Brewery” made in Prague by the Well Service company can produce up to 525 hectolitres of beer, or 2,000 pints a week.

“We wanted to make a brewery that would be mobile, possible to deliver anywhere in the world, with a simple use and not space-demanding,” Pavel Pozivil from the Well Service said.

“You can put it anywhere on a solid surface, link to water and electricity sources, and you can start brewing,” he said.

Radek Spacil, co-owner of the “Smart Brewery”, brews a beer in a portable brewery built in a standard shipping container, in Prague, Czech Republic, September 2, 2017. Picture taken September 2, 2017. REUTERS/David W Cerny

The complete set costs 2.7 million crowns ($ 124,000).

Well Service has already agreed a delivery to Russia, and it is in negotiations in Thailand, Tanzania and other countries.

Slideshow (8 Images)

By capacity, the Smart Brewery ranks far below even the mini-breweries that have sprung up in dozens of Czech towns in recent years. But it could suffice as an additional offer on tap, as it does for the owner of the Gourmeta pub in Prague.

“When you follow the procedure and you have a good recipe, then it is no problem to brew an excellent beer,” said Radek Spacil, a co-owner of Gourmeta, which completed its first brew with the Smart Brewery on Sept 2.

($ 1 = 21.8030 Czech crowns)

Reporting by Jiri Skacel; Writing by Robert Muller; Editing by Hugh Lawson

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Prost! German beats his own world record for carrying beer steins

(Reuters) – A new world record has been set for carrying mugs of beer in southeastern Germany.

In Bavaria, which is also home to Oktoberfest, the world’s biggest beer festival, Oliver Struempfel cradled 31 beer-filled tankards stacked up in two tiers, walked 40 meters and then set them down.

But two tipped over at the last minute, so that the record is 29 jugs, or more than 69 kg (152 lb) of beer and glass.

“I first did 27, because I wanted to be sure and then at the end I said, ‘Let’s add another one and get over 30’,” Struempfel said. “Unfortunately it didn’t quite work, but having managed to put 29 down … I think it’s amazing.”

To prepare for Sunday’s attempt, Struempfel said, he has trained at the gym three to four times a week since February.

“When I think about it, it’s 200 hours for about 40 seconds of walking,” he said after the feat.

He had set the previous world record of 25 jugs in 2014, Munich daily Merkur said.

Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Himani Sarkar; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Reuters: Oddly Enough

New Mexican-U.S. beer mocks Trump as frowning mariachi

Mexican and U.S. brewers have reinvented U.S. President Donald Trump as a gun-slinging mariachi folk musician to promote a new beer celebrating cross-border cooperation.

The label of the new Amigous Cerveza craft beer, showing a frowning Trump in a sombrero, his trousers held up with a swastika belt buckle, mocks his divisive campaign rhetoric against Mexico and his pledge to build a border wall.

The rear label declares that the 71-year-old New Yorker belongs “in a mad house, not the White House.”

“We knew that a Trump label was going to be controversial, but it’s been selling extremely fast,” said Luis Enrique de la Reguera, chief executive of brewery Casa Cervecera Cru Cru.

Launched in May, the beer that misspells “amigo” to poke fun at a bad American pronunciation of the Spanish word for friend, surprised its creators. The original batch of 1,200 bottles and 400 liters on tap sold out in the very first week.

A kind of New England Indian Pale with a dash of mango, the beer was dreamt up by Cru Cru, Mexican partner Error de Diciembre and Epic Brewing of the United States shortly before Trump’s election victory on Nov. 8.

Trump sparked dismay in Mexico by saying the country was sending rapists and drug runners across the border, and angered business groups by threatening to tear up a joint trade deal.

(Reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Dave Graham and Richard Chang)

Reuters: Oddly Enough