The man who made Blue Moon is going marijuana green. Keith Villa, who created the Belgian-style beer for MillerCoors, recently launched a company called Ceria Beverages that will make a line of non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused craft beer.
Ceria will be headquartered in a Denver suburb near Coors Field where Villa created the original Blue Moon. Villa’s location is important, because his new product will use THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis, not CBD, the relaxing but non-psychoactive compound in marijuana.
“CBD is not the component that most consumers look for,” Villa told Brewbound. “It certainly has its merits, but the THC is what gives people that buzz, which is similar to the alcohol buzz that people get from beer, spirits and wine. A lot of consumers of cannabis look for that buzz.”
Villa, who left MillerCoors late last year, told Brewbound that he and his wife have invested a “significant” amount of money into the company to get it up and running.
The approach is similar to what Rebel Coast Winery in California did with its THC packed Sauvignon Blanc. Rebel Coast’s non-alcoholic wine tastes like wine, and essentially serves as a wine that gets you high rather than drunk. Villa has had his work cut out for him making the process work for beer, though, telling Brewbound, “It’s tough to make good tasting non-alcoholic beer.” He’s been working on test batches using different types of cannabis extracts, some with a full-on weed flavor and others without. Once production starts, he’ll have the beer contract brewed at another brewery, remove the alcohol himself and then send it to a marijuana dispensary to infuse the THC and other cannabinoids.
Villa’s products will be available in Colorado by the end of 2018, with plans to expand to other states where recreational cannabis is legal. Cracking a cold one with friends in Colorado will soon be even more chill.