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Heineken releases first marijuana-infused brew

Heineken releases first marijuana-infused brew

Heineken has launched its first brew made with marijuana instead of alcohol, called Hi-Fi Hops. 

The IPA-inspired sparkling water is free of alcohol, calories and carbs and marks the first time a major brewery has successfully and legally been represented in the THC-infused beverage space. 

The drink has been released under California beer label Lagunitas, which Heineken fully acquired last year.

"Hi-Fi Hops is not the first chapter in the love affair between cannabis and Lagunitas, but it is one of the most exciting," said Maria Stipp, CEO of Lagunitas Brewing Company. "The idea of being a part of a no calorie beverage infused with cannabis seemed like a perfect next step in our product innovation and a natural way to marry our past with our future."

Hi-Fi Hops is available from California marijuana dispensaries for $US8 per can. It comes in two dosages, one with 10 mg of THC and one with 5 mg of THC and 5mg of CBD, catering to both casual cannabis dabblers to long-time users.

THC is the ingredient in marijuana that causes a high, while CBD is the non-psychoactive cannabis component that’s thought to be responsible for many of its therapeutic effects.

"We have come to realize that our passion for hops is a big part of our passion for beer," said Jeremy Marshall, Lagunitas Brewmaster. "We often dream of hops and their cannabis cousin partying together at their family reunion and wanted to bring this party to life in a drink. We believe it's high-time that good beer inspired a provocative yet refreshing tasting non-alcoholic alternative – bubbly, aromatic, bitter, fruity and herbaceous with no gluten, no carbohydrates and a smidge of California sun-grown cannabis in every sip."

Constellation Brands is also making plans to move into the marijuana-beer market. Late last year, the company purchased almost 10% of Canopy Growth Corporation. Based in Canada, Canopy is the world's largest publicly-traded cannabis company and plans to work with the grower to develop, market and sell cannabis-infused beverages.

Meanwhile Molson-Coors recently announced that it would soon create a line of non-alcoholic, THC-infused beverages to be sold on the Canadian cannabis market.

“Consumers who want to enjoy cannabis as they would a beer – in moderation – are able to do so, which is quickly driving acceptance and adoption,” CEO Mark Hunter said in a statement. “And, just as generations of beer drinkers have relied on Molson Coors Canada for high-quality products from a source they can trust, cannabis consumers will know they can continue to trust the joint venture as it enters this new market with non-alcoholic cannabis-infused beverages.”