The founding brewmaster behind Blue Moon beer has a new beer that delivers a different kind of buzz.
Keith Villa, who invented Blue Moon Belgian Wheat more than two decades ago, next month will launch the first beer from new venture CERIA Brewing Co. But Grainwave Belgian-Style White Ale will be quite different than Blue Moon.
For starters, the beverage has no alcohol and includes 5 milligrams of THC, the high-producing ingredient found in cannabis plants. Made with blood orange peel and coriander, the ale “has a richer, deeper orange character and a little different type of bitterness because of the cannabinoids,” Villa said.
Grainwave Belgian-Style White Ale will initially be available in Colorado in mid-December. But Villa hopes to expand its distribution to California and Nevada soon.
Cannabis-infused beers have become trendy, but so far none released in the U.S. have THC. They typically have hemp, which gives them a taste similar to marijuana.
Federal law prohibits brewers from using marijuana in beer. But CERIA’s beverage doesn’t contain alcohol, so it technically isn’t a beer.
Signs of interest in the marijuana-beer business include Molson Coors’ deal, announced in August, to work with Canadian cannabis company The Hydropothecary Corp. to develop nonalcoholic marijuana drinks for the Canadian market. And Constellation Brands, maker of Robert Mondavi wine, Corona beer and Svedka vodka, last year invested $4 billion in Canopy Growth, a Canadian marijuana firm, with cannabis drinks among future plans.
Villa started Ceria in January after he officially retired from Blue Moon after 32 years. His wife, Jodi Villa, is a civil engineer and the CEO of the company in Arvada, Colorado, a northwest suburb of Denver.
Colorado legalized recreational marijuana four years ago and Villa became interested in its benefits.
“I quickly found that there was a lot of anecdotal evidence, as