Meet The Awesome Women Behind The Scenes of Hemp and Cannabis Beer

Meet The Awesome Women Behind The Scenes of Hemp and Cannabis Beer

It’s quite hard to come across nearly any type of product that doesn’t have a hemp or cannabis component to it yet. Soap, clothing and textiles, desserts and foods, beauty products of all types, medicines, TV shows–even weddings are getting all kinds of danked up. Now, one of the latest in a long line of offerings integrating pot into their manufacturing is beer.

Due to red tape, government restrictions, misinformation and antiquated laws, it has been challenging to find beer a ticket to the toker’s ball. Mixing alcohol and bud may give some people the spins, and it definitely makes the national government spin its wheels on how to keep the two apart. Just like a barrier between forlorn fans, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TBB) just won’t allow the two materials unite.

Many beer companies get round the fact that marijuana and beer aren’t permitted to commingle in the same beverage by making a proprietary formulation that includes certain areas of the hemp plant that their state does allow to be used in brewing. This may include seeds or oils, or in certain cases, such as Hemperor’s HPA, or “Hemp Pale Ale”, hemp hearts, that were approved for use in beer-making in the 2014 Farm Bill. Despite that, Hemperor HPA was prohibited from the state of Kansas.

Because hemp and hops have similar odors, companies also have found ways to play our senses using the natural skunky stink of hops and perhaps a bit of olfactory sleight of hand to make beers that smell like weed without using any true cannabis. Other brewers, like Canada’s Province Brands, work around not letting their cannabis and alcohol signature by creating non-alcoholic beer. This option may prove to be popular.

The beer business is increasingly becoming more and more a woman’s playground, welcoming women into the echelons of upper management. Many breweries are even at the verge of developing beer advertising campaigns targeting women for the first time ever. Heineken USA hired a girl to fill the role of CEO, becoming the first top brewing company to do so. It’s an exciting time for beer, girls, girls in beer, bud (and berry ) in beer, and girls in bud (and berry ) in beer.

We talked to some girls in marijuana and hemp beer about their work and what it’s like to be there at this exciting time. Katie Wallace, the Assistant Sustainability director at New Belgium Ale (which produces Hemperor HPA), a firm that also appears to be employee-owned and founded by a woman, provided her insight, as did several women from Canada’s Province Brands. They filed a patent for the first beers brewed by the cannabis plant, and expect to see it published as early as Fall 2019. Here are a few of the things they had to say about the pioneering work they’re doing in this new frontier of “kind beer”.

Meet Some Of The Awesome Women Behind The Scenes of Hemp and Cannabis Beer

Katie Wallace, 37, Fort Collins, Colorado-New Belgium Brewing Company; Courtesy of Katie Wallace

KW: My focus at the brewery is environmental and social responsibility. With every new beer invention, you anticipate technical challenges, but the regulatory challenges around The Hemperor HPA motivated us to do it. My role is to help free hemp from these ill-informed laws, which would greatly benefit individuals, the planet, and provide our brewers with an exciting new ingredient to work with. I help the team understand the many benefits of hemp, and plug us to the other winners working to legalize the plant. We’ve worked with GCH [a company founded by Willie Nelson and his family], Vote Hemp, and several others doing powerful work behind the scenes. Our objective is to modernize outdated laws about industrial hemp production. It’s inspiring to work alongside these heroes and see the momentum that’s gaining round the new Farm Bill to finally legalize hemp.

Why is hemp beer apart from regular beer?

But the terpenes in the hemp flower and leaves is where we get the most fascinating aromas. Much like hops (hops and cannabis are close cousins), hemp terpenes have many different flavors that are very interesting to brewers. The moment cannabis was legalized in Colorado, our brewers started dreaming up ways to pair these plant cousins for a very different beer. Unfortunately, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), the federal agency that approves all our beer formulas, rejected our original recipe made with hemp as a result of part of the plant we wanted to use. We learned that this was because certain areas of the plant are still considered Schedule 1 from the national government. Instead of throwing in the towel, though, we gathered terpenes from different plants that together mimic the taste profile of hemp.

Is your hemp beer industry a mostly male-oriented enterprise?

But the craft beer industry is predominantly male. This is changing so quickly, though. Most girls I know love beer, and so many rad ladies are getting involved in the brewing one way or another. The Pink Boots Society is helping to elevate this, and they appear to be akin to the Mary Janes: (badass) Women of Weed.

Any final thoughts?

At this time we’re focused on increasing awareness around industrialized hemp. It’s a flexible and sustainable harvest that may be playing a much larger role in our market. While we are very satisfied with the way The Hemperor HPA turned out, we would like to brew this beer with the whole hemp flower that’s currently classified as a narcotic despite its lack of psychoactive properties. A change in these laws could lead to great benefits to agriculture, textile, food and cosmetic industries. And of course beer!

Meet Some Of The Awesome Women Behind The Scenes of Hemp and Cannabis Beer

HT: What is your particular role in working with cannabis beer and PB?

JDT: I am one of the founders of the company. I also serve the company as our Chief Legal Officer and the head of our finance and legal team.

How did you get started on your work with cannabis beer?

In Province Brands, we make spirits and beer brewed from cannabis or infused with cannabis. My speciality has always been focusing on legal issues for startup and emerging growth companies in highly-regulated industries (such as alcohol and tobacco).  I initially ventured into the space a couple of years ago when I was working with private equity firms investing in cannabis and work with celebrity cannabis brands. When I connected with our CEO, Dooma Wendschuh, and caught wind of his brilliant idea to combine adult beverages and cannabis, the synergy with my expertise was immediate and I started working with him to deliver the fantasy of cannabis beer to life.

Do you use cannabis?
I love our merchandise and try to be first in line when the products team needs a guinea pig.

Meet Some Of The Awesome Women Behind The Scenes of Hemp and Cannabis Beer

Caitlin Millay Krapf, 37, Los Angeles, CA — Province Brands of Canada; Courtesy of Caitlin Millay Krapf

HT: What is your particular role in working with cannabis beer and PB?

That means I manage everything related to HR and all of our Project Management.

Do you experience anything of a “grass ceiling” working with cannabis beer?

I’ve been extremely lucky at Province Brands. There was one point where I felt like an employee might not be listening to me because I was a girl. ” I worked out with the employee, but it was incredibly nice to get that immediate support.

What are a few of the most fascinating aspects of working with cannabis beer?

Personally, I love the mixture of science and art. In another life, I actually went to school thinking I would major in Physics. I wound up a Film Studies major. I’ve always liked the creative and the analytical. It’s incredibly fascinating to be able to work with both Ph.D. scientists doing incredible R&D, master brewers crafting the perfect taste, and our Art and Marketing team that’s just doing breathtaking design work right now. It’s also good to be a part of a team which ’s really committed to quality and craftsmanship.

Do you know or have a guess of when cannabis beer will be legal in Canada?

The Canadian government has said that edibles will be legalized within one year following the legalization of dried cannabis and cannabis oils, so the industry is anticipating that by Fall 2019, cannabis beer such as ours will be on shelves – and we’ll be ready the moment that happens.

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