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Feb 17, 2017 12:05 PM

Major Hemp's Beer Hits Colorado in February

Though marijuana and hemp are technically the same plant, hemp does not provide a psychoactive effect. However, it has all the nutritional benefits of the herb. Furthermore, hemp's relation to cannabis is actually making it more attractive due to an air of prohibition and exclusivity it carries. That is why it is not surprising that hemp beer has gained such popularity.

Two companies―Sleeping Giant Brewing from Denver and Major Hemp from Colorado Springs―are launching a new craft beer made with hemp seed powder. The first fifty barrels (around 95 kegs) will be distributed in the Denver area, and if the campaign is successful, Major Hemp will deliver their product to other states as well.

At first, hemp seed provider Major Hemp is planning to sell beer in downtown areas, where there are lots of bars and pubs, and see whether there is any interest in hemp beer. Then, if it is successful, they want to go ahead with a significantly larger brew or maybe even produce this beer in cans.

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It was decided to brew beer at Colorado's Sleeping Giant, a brewery that has lots of famous clients, such as Weldwerks, Post Brewing, 38 State, and Black Shirt Brewing. Both companies, Major Hemp and Sleeping Giant, were working on the recipe that would combine hemp and beer flavors in the most attractive way. In the end, they used a proprietary water-soluble hemp powder that complemented the beer taste. The received drink has a soft, pleasant taste and provides countless medical benefits that hemp is so famous for. The product is called Major Hemp Brown Ale. Each twelve-ounce beer contains 100 milligrams of hemp.

Of course, the idea of mixing beer and hemp is not new. Hemp beer was pioneered about twenty years ago, but today it got its “second birth” due to the new marijuana regulations. California's Humboldt Brewing, for instance, started making hemp beer in the second half of the '90s. But Major Hemp believes that today it can become truly popular today. Ted Jorgensen, the president of Major Hemp, is convinced that timing is very important in business and that the time for this particular product has come.

You should not expect hemp beer to make you high: unlike recreational marijuana, hemp does not contain THC, a compound that is responsible for the psychoactive effects. It does not contain CBD oil either: even though many people believe that CBD has a number of health benefits, it is still considered a scheduled drug just like heroin. That is why Major Hemp decided to choose hemp, which is legal to use in the United States.

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It is worth mentioning that according to the Federal Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, CBD and hemp are the same substances. The Hemp Industries Association and the Denver's Hoban Law Group are fighting for the right to launch CBD-infused products. Jorgensen explains that CBD is easier to add to beer than hemp, that is why they will start using it as soon as they get confirmation from the government. Jorgensen also notes that they have already chosen the perfect CBD to add to their beer.

However, for now, Jorgensen is focused on distributing Major Hemp Brown. Tom Jasko, a co-founder of Colorado Craft Distributors that is cooperating with Major Hemp, is sure that hemp beer will be a huge success on the market because it is unusual and does not have a lot of competition. He notes that hemp has been part of the culture for years in Colorado, and that is why this new product can be a nice change of pace.

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Recreational marijuana, which has been recently legalized in four more American states, has already influenced beer sales in Washington, Colorado, and Oregon. According to the latest industry research conducted by Cowen and Company, alcohol demand in these states has decreased by more than 4% this year.

If Major Hemp Brown Ale finds its place in Colorado's market, Sleeping Giant and Major Hemp will launch another 100 barrels of the same hemp-infused brown ale or IPA, which they will deliver to the breweries in California and maybe even Illinois and New York as well.