PETALUMA (KPIX 5) – A successful brewery in the North Bay is getting ready to switch things up, introducing a new sparkling water with a special ingredient: marijuana.
Director of Marketing Ron Lindenbusch has been at Lagunitas Brewing since the very beginning. But he’s about to roll out a completely different type of product that he has never tried before: a beverage infused with THC, the psychoactive ingredient in pot.
“It’s hop infused. It’s IPA inspired. It’ll taste ‘hops’ and you won’t taste cannabis, but it’s in there,” explained Lindenbusch. “It’s not a beer. It’s a flavored hop water.”
But not just water. The psychoactive sparkling water the brewery is calling “Hi-Fi Hops” tastes like a beer, but gives the person drinking it a feeling more like taking a hit off a joint.
When he had the idea to make this different type of beverage, Lindenbusch needed some different expertise.
“This would be very similar to an alcohol still,” said Dennis Hunter with Absolute Xtracts.
Working just 20 minutes away in Santa Rosa, Hunter is on the cutting edge of cannabis chemistry.
“It’s just one more level of distillation, so you end up with a real clean distillate oil here,” said Hunter.
He will take the Lagunitas hop-flavored water and give it the desired dosage. So far there are plans for two different versions of the beverage: one that contains five milligrams of THC and five milligrams of cannabidiol or CBD, and a second that contains ten milligrams of THC and no cannabidiol.
Both beverages will contain zero calories.
“We basically want it to taste like an IPA, but have that nice cannabis sensation,” described Hunter.
One question that came up: was parent company Heineken cool with the idea?
“Yeah. They’re from Amsterdam. Let’s just start there,” replied Lindenbusch.
Of course, state laws regarding marijuana products mean Lagunitas won’t be able to sell Hi-Fi Hops at the brewery or tap room.
“That legally has to be the way it is. Division of church and state, if you will,” said Lindenbusch.
So Hi-Fi will instead end up being sold exclusively in dispensaries. It may very well be a groundbreaking product that is uniquely Sonoma County.
“There’s a term in Sonoma County we call the Sonoma aroma. It used to be cows. Times are changing,” Lindenbusch.
The Lagunitas Brewing Company website has a page with more information on the beverage. While there isn’t a release date set for the product, so far it will only be available in California.