It should come as no surprise that cannabis has finally found its way into the the craft beer craze that has dominated world alcoholic beverage markets for the past decade or so. Last week, LGC Capital, Cresco Pharma and Baltic Beer Company announced a joint venture company called CLV Frontier Brands with the goal of developing a full beverage portfolio using proprietary cannabis terpene blends and hemp ingredients.
According to reports, CLV plans on crafting four premium beers (that contain different terpene blends and other “innovative ingredients”) with a global release of the first batch of beer in Spring 2018. While Humboldt Brewery and a partnership between Lagunitas Brewing and Absolute/Xtracts already brew Hemp Ale with toasted hemp seeds and an IPA with terpenes respectively, CLV joint venture represents the first aggressive effort to bring cannabis and hemp-based craft beers to the global stage. CLV plans on building a pilot brewing facility in Tallinn, Estonia and has identified potential distribution partners in Europe, East Asia, Central and Latin America, Africa and Canada/Australia and New Zealand.
Noticeably absent from the distribution list of potential partners is the US. Although terpenes, non-psychoactive cannabinoids that give different cannabis strains distinctive odors and flavors are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and classified as food additives, cannabis is a schedule 1 drug and anything derived from it is illegal at the federal level in the US. Consequently, because the beers will be brewed overseas and require shipping to the US they will not be legally available in the US (even in states where cannabis has been legalized) because interstate shipping is regulated by the federal government. That said, I suspect that some of CLV’s products may make it into the heads of cannabis craft beer enthusiasts!