Maine Brewer Creates Cannabis-Infused Beer

A new type of Pumpkinhead beer, typically brewed by Shipyard but being produced under an agreement between Novel Beverage and Innovative Liquid Solutions, trades alcohol for THC

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It looks like a beer, clinks like a beer and tastes similar to a beer, but it gets its buzz from cannabis.

Last week, for the first time, a new type of Pumpkinhead, typically brewed by Shipyard as an autumnal libation, came off the line at Maine-based Novel Beverage.

Under an agreement reached with Innovative Liquid Solutions to use Shipyard's name and recipe, the company is brewing and bottling a beverage that uses beer ingredients, but is infused with five milligrams of THC.

"This has been in the works for a very long time," said Matt Hawes, Novel Beverage's co-founder and CEO, who says he waited years for the nanomulsification technology used in the drink to reach the point that it was capable of delivering THC to the body through a beverage.

There is no alcohol in what's being called "THC Elixir," and Hawes is already brewing and bottling a run of the drink under Sea Dog's Blue Paw label, which the brewery produces as a blueberry wheat ale.

"There are others like it around the country, but only a couple," Hawes said of the elixir.

Asked what someone consuming the THC tinged tonic might experience, Hawes explained they would feel "a combination of smoking [cannabis] and what you would normally get when you eat edibles."

Right now, the beverage is only available at eight adult-use cannabis stores in Maine, at $7 a bottle.

One of them is Brothers Cannabis, which is co-owned by Matt Hawes' brother, Greg Hawes.

"It's awesome," said Greg Hawes of the ability to sell the product his brother co-developed.

He does caution that, like alcohol, new users trying the elixir should pace themselves to prevent a problem.

"My suggestion would be to take it slow, don't dive in and slam multiple of these things down," he said. "I'd rather see somebody take their time, drink half of one and not have any effects than ruin the experience."

Matt Hawes says the elixir's effects can be felt as quickly as 15 to 20 minutes after the beverage is consumed.

They can last as long as two or two and a half hours, which he says can be "a considerably shorter experience" than traditional edible cannabis.

As for the product's future, Matt Hawes believes he is now in a blooming industry.

"We'll continue to see the THC beverage category continue to grow, and it will become a norm to see people at a party or at dinner who, instead of drinking alcohol, are having a THC drink," he predicted.

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