Canadian Brewers Aim to Sell World’s First Fermented Cannabis Beer

The company hopes to replace barley with seeds, stalks and stems.

By Ethan L. Johns
July 23, 2018

Image: iStock

As brewpubs pop up on every other corner, beer and its fermentation have become a hot topic over the past few years. Now, with the legalization of marijuana just around the corner in Canada, one company is looking at intoxicating tipples from a new angle.

Province Brands, a startup based in Toronto, believes it can take the entire cannabis plant—stalks, stems and roots—and turn it into an ice cold brew, no wheat or barley required.

With recreational marijuana relatively new (and still illegal in the vast majority of countries), most infused beverages currently on the market are made by first creating wine or beer the standard way. The alcohol is later removed and replaced with a proportional dose of psychoactive THC.

While Province Brands’ beer will also be devoid of alcohol, it is unique in the sense that it is not brewed with grain, making it technically gluten-free. Cannabis plants are fermented with hops, water and yeast, before the alcohol is removed. What’s left over is THC—an average of about 6.5 milligrams.

In an interview with the Guardian, CEO Dooma Wendschuh talked about the difficulties of developing the beer (“tasted like rotten broccoli”) and how he envisions the future of drinking.

“If I could create an alternative to alcohol, that’s something that would change the world,” he told the paper. “That’s something I’m very passionate about.”

While Wendschuh was inspired by the cannabis industry in Colorado, it’s unlikely that this product will make its way to the U.S. anytime soon, for obvious reasons. Cannabis will be legalized in Canada on October 17th, but it will take a year for edibles to go on sale. When they do, in fall 2019, Province Brands hopes to celebrate with a cold one.

Correction: This article originally misstated the name of Province Brands as "Providence" Brands. It also implied that the beer would be available in 2018, though edible cannabis will be legalized the following year. We regret these errors.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns