The merry pranksters over at Lagunitas Brewing Company have had a long, well-documented relationship with cannabis. And now the storied counterculture brewery has crafted a THC-infused beverage after nearly two decades of paying homage to weed culture.
The 25-year-old brewery behind the No. 1 selling IPA in the world announced its latest creation, Hi-Fi Hops, an IPA-inspired sparkling water made with hops and infused with cannabis. The beverage is expected to hit dispensary shelves July 30.
“Hi-Fi Hops is not the first chapter in the love affair between cannabis and Lagunitas, but it is one of the most exciting,” stated Maria Stipp, CEO of Lagunitas in a press release.
Lagunitas Brewmaster Jeremy Marshall attributes the company’s passion for hops for the cannabis creation, stating in a press release “we often dream of hops and their cannabis cousin partying together at their family reunion. We wanted to bring this party to life in a drink.”
The party takes the form of a sparkling beverage with no alcohol, calories or carbs, but made with IPA inspired hops and infused with THC from cannabis cultivated in California by CannaCraft, a cultivation and extraction company in Sonoma County.
The partnership between Lagunitas and CannaCraft appears to be more of a friendly collaboration than a business agreement. Marshall spoke at length about the bond between the Lagunitas brewers and the CannaCraft cultivators, how they worked to find the right hops to compliment cannabinoids based off their terpene profile.
“We were actually aiming for something that was kind of uplifting and fruity, and also kind of floral and citrusy,” said Marshall about the intended flavor profile. “We really were thinking about someone who likes the taste of beer but maybe doesn’t drink alcohol. There’s a fair number of these people out there,” said Marshall, emphasizing “the key word here is ‘inclusivity.’”
In the spirit of inclusivity, Lagunitas has introduced two options: A 10-mg THC sparkling beverage and a 5-mg THC/5-mg CBD sparkling beverage. “Personally, I love a little CBD with my THC, but then you have more seasoned veteran [consumers]. A higher tolerance person, someone who dabs, might want the 10-mg high octane.”
“It takes a lot of good weed to make great beer”
Although Lagunitas Brewing Company may not be the first beer company to officially join the THC-infused beer market, but they are the craft brewery with the deepest roots in the cannabis culture.
Founded in Lagunitas, California by Tony Magee, the brewery’s cannabis culture has been present since day one. Lagunitas’ “A High History at Lagunitas” timeline quotes Magee saying “it take a lot of good weed to make a great beer.” This wasn’t just a motto, but a way of life and business for the Lagunitas crew.
Some of Lagunitas greatest hits include:
- Kicking off the wildest weekly office parties, even by beer company standards, every Thursday at 4:20pm beginning in 1999.
- Renaming their “Kronick” beer in 2001 after getting censored for the marijuana reference. The new name? “Censored.”
- A 2006 release of “Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale,” an especially bitter ale brewed in remembrance of a two-month federal investigation and sting-operation, known as the St. Patrick’s Day Massacre,” led to a 20-day suspension of operations.
- Partnering with The Waldos, the originators of 420, for, you guessed it, “The Waldos Special Ale” in 2011.
- Debuting “Supercritical” in 2016. A very limited run IPA made with cannabis terpenes to give it the distinct flavor of flower.
Marshal believes that after a long history and flirtation with cannabis branded beers, this was the right time to unveil a cannabis-infused beverage for several reasons. Considering their very Californian cannabis identity, the two leading reasons come as no surprise: California voted for recreational marijuana, and they believe that they are going to be on the right side of history. The third, comes with a bit of a chipped shoulder: other beer companies are entering the space without the proper cannabis cred.
“It’s not like we got in trouble for cannabis in 2005 in order to have something to brag about, but that’s just what actually happened. We’re seeing our competitors….I look at all this and I’m like ‘these people didn’t grow up going to Grateful Dead concerts like everyone at Lagunitas did.’ These are people getting in for a green back only.”
When it comes to cannabis-infused beer, something may be in the water, but Lagunitas have been walking the walk longer than anyone around — that goes a long way in the cannabis community.