Toronto-based Province Brands has filed a technology patent for the production of a “beer” which it says will be the first in the world to be brewed entirely with cannabis rather than barley.

The so-called marijuana-powered beer — rather than the more common marijuana-infused beer — is alcohol-free, but is said to have a similar “dose-response curve” to alcohol, which means a similar power to intoxicate the drinker.

It is low calorie, low sugar and most of the company’s beers are gluten free.

In October last year, the Canadian government announced it will be legalising recreational cannabis in edibles and beverages from mid-2019.

Canada was the first country in the world to legalise medical marijuana use in 2001.

Earlier this year major alcohol brand Constellation bought a 10 percent stake in Canadian marijuana company Canopy Growth Corp for £141m.

The idea is to make cannabis-infused, alcohol-free drinks.

Province expects cannabis drinks as a concept will become more acceptable to the public and investors due to the backing of big corporates.

What was said:

Dooma Wendschuh, CEO of Province Brands, said:

The fact that the first Fortune 500 company to invest in the cannabis space was not a tobacco giant like so many had predicted but was, in fact, Constellation Brands, one of the largest and best run adult beverage businesses in the world, truly validates our efforts and proves the market for beverages like those Province has been brewing.

We have developed great-tasting beers, but we also have valuable intellectual property, incredible developments in the pipeline, and a world-class team with decades of combined experience in the adult beverage industry, and, importantly almost two years working together.

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What this means:

The main aim of Province Brands in creating cannabis beer was to create a “safe and healthier alternative to alcohol”.

The company is at the forefront of a $1trn challenge to the established alcohol industry.

Colorado-based consultancy, Cannabiz Consumer Group, has estimated that legal cannabis in North America could cost the beer industry up to $2bn in retail sales – 27 percent of beer drinkers have already substituted pot for beer or would make the switch if weed became legal in their state.

The US cannabis industry was worth $6bn in 2016 and is forecast to reach $50bn by 2026.

Statistics Canada has revealed that Canadians consumed up to $5bn worth of cannabis in 2015, and is predicted by Deloitte to be worth $22bn in the next few years.

Background:

Province Brands began developing its marijuana-powered beer producing capacity from 2016, when Canada had legalised medicinal marijuana and when only eight US states had legalised its recreational use.

The company spent $75m of venture capital raised from its co-founders’ previous businesses on developing its production methods.

It filed a provisional patent in July 2017 for the world’s first beer from the cannabis plant.

Province Brands is now developing a second product to sober people up. This, Wendschuh claims, will get the high out of people’s systems in 30 minutes.

A recent report from the Cannabiz Consumer Group, a Colorado-based consultancy, estimates that legal cannabis in North America has the potential to cost the beer industry up to $2bn in retail sales.

Twenty-seven percent of beer drinkers, says the report, have already substituted pot for beer or would make that switch if weed became legal in their state.

In 2016, Canadians spent $22.1bn on alcohol — beer made up 41.5 percent of total alcohol sales.