Bubbly Bud: Lagunitas Debuts Cannabis-Infused Sparkling Water
The Northern California hops masters are ditching ABV for THC and CBD, becoming the first established brewery to make an infused beverage for the legal weed market.
Published on June 27, 2018

Move over La Croix, there's a new player in the booming sparkling water market. Continuing a long history of cannabis crossovers, California-based craft brewery Lagunitas will debut its first THC-infused beverage in Golden State dispensaries next month — an IPA-flavored seltzer water called Hi-Fi Hops.

The first non-alcoholic beverage ever produced at Lagunitas, Hi-Fi Hops will come in two varieties, one featuring 5mg of THC and 5mg of CBD and another with 10mg of THC and no CBD, for a stronger buzz. After releasing beers infused with cannabis terpenes and lending their hops to THC-packed vape cartridges, the IPA-flavored seltzer water will be the first product released by a major brewery in a state-legal cannabis market.

"Hi-Fi Hops is not the first chapter in the love affair between cannabis and Lagunitas, but it is one of the most exciting," Maria Stipp, CEO of Lagunitas Brewing Company, said in a press release announcing the new beverage. "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."

Because California, like the rest of the legal weed world, prohibits the sale of any product containing both alcohol and THC, Lagunitas decided against a traditional IPA, and teamed up with Santa Rosa-based AbsolutExtracts to produce a water-soluble cannabis concentrate, "ensuring that THC is evenly dispersed throughout the beverage – making every drop of the hop-based H20 consistently and dankly delicious."

Over the past year or so, a number of alcohol industry conglomerates and executives have turned their eyes, and bank accounts, towards North America's booming green rush. In Canada, Constellation Brands — the parent company of Corona, Svedka, and other multinational booze labels — invested nearly $200 million in Canopy Growth Corp., the country's largest publicly-traded marijuana producer. Stateside, the brewmaster behind Blue Moon and a former top-ranking manager at Anheuser-Busch have both left the beer industry for investments in legal weed. Most recently, Denver-based Molson-Coors Brewing Co. has put together an in-house team looking to transition the suds giant into Canada's cannabis industry.

"We have assembled a team in Canada to actively explore the risks and opportunities of entering the cannabis space in that market, where it will be federally legal by this fall," Chief Executive Officer Mark Hunter said at an investor presentation earlier this month, according to Bloomberg.

Back in California, the folks at Lagunitas are looking at their non-alcoholic bubbly bud as a jumping off point for even more cannabis experimentation, even if that means leaving alcohol at the door.

"We have come to realize that our passion for hops is a big part of our passion for beer," Lagunitas Brewmaster Jeremy Marshall said. "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. We believe that 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."

Hi-Fi Hops will release next month exclusively in licensed dispensaries across the Golden State.

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Zach Harris
Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.
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