April the 20th carries significance for a segment of the black-market customer base. Some legitimate businesses attempt to make a bale of money by appealing to this token demographic. In preparation for the date a number of craft breweries in South Florida created new batches of their product with an additive from the cannabis plant to serve on this hazy Friday.
And then the Feds stepped in to harsh their brews.
This week officers from the Federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) sent out cease-and-desist letters to a pair of South Florida brewers which had created new varietals set to be released this week. In Fort Lauderdale one such temperance missive arrived at Invasive Species Brewing, and another was sent to Devour Brewing, in Boynton Beach. (One other area zymurgist — LauderAle Brewing — did not receive letters of this type regarding their line cannabis beers.)
The reason behind the shutdown is a growing trend among brewers seeking to create a product with properties similar to marijuana. At play is the use of cannabis terpenes oil as a flavoring additive to a batch of fermenting beer. This oil is what delivers the notable stark aroma to marijuana, and it becomes an actual taste component in the drink without delivering any of the mood-altering effects.
The terpenes does not contain any Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which delivers the sought after affects of marijuana consumption. Also missing is any cannabidiol (CBD), which is the medicinal chemical that is frequently prescribed for a number of ailments, from pain relief, anxiety, and numerous other applications. It is the absence of these chemicals that led the brewers to believe they were in the clear to formulate new recipes employing the terpenes oil.
And then, like a crusty old Dean clamping down on fraternity shenanigans, the Feds arrived and disrupted the mellow. The reason for the raids (well, the letters) was that the formulas used by the brewers had not been submitted for approval by the agency. The Bureau has a stated Hemp Policy. Despite the lack of any psychoactive elements beers that are made with terpenes have to be vetted because they are still being crafted with an ingredient derived from a controlled substance.
IOW — for the TTB to give the OK any IPA has to be QA’d to check for THC.
These crotchety federales have created a quandary for the brewers, as they had events and parties planned for the 4/20 celebration. At Devour they were tossed in limbo regarding continuing with their events, but at Invasive Species they will forge ahead. The owner stated they were told to suspend production of further batches, but not instructed to stop the festivities.
Meanwhile at LauderAle they are going to serve their product, thus far unencumbered by authority restrictions. The brewer has four styles of beer they are offering created with the hemp oil. This means to sample all their styles you are able to order a beer flight (without getting high.)
For those beyond the reaches of the repressive federal scolds in the bowels of our peninsula, WaPo has a small rundown of other labels available across the country in a similar fashion you may be able to find.
For additional coverage of movies, politics, and generally obtuse culture follow me on Twitter