A new CBD beer is exciting taste buds even as it promotes relaxation.
There are few things in life more relaxing than a cold beer after a hard day at work. Now, what if you infuse that beer with the soothing properties of premium CBD? That’s precisely the idea that friends Carl Boon and Thierry Florit had one evening over a few drinks, which ultimately led to the creation of one of the UK’s first CBD beers.
The result is High Flyer: an India pale ale (IPA) craft beer with a 4.3% ABV and containing 10mg of high-quality CBD in each bottle. Its evolution was far from simple. The two business partners overcame numerous development and legal hurdles along the way.
Editor’s Note: U.S. regulations currently prevent the national distribution of CBD-infused alcoholic beverages. We were especially excited to hear about this new offering in the UK and hope American laws and policies change in the near future. — KO
THE INSPIRED COMBINATION OF CBD AND BEER
Boon runs the successful online CBD company CBDUltra, while Florit is an experienced designer for many major brands. We spoke with them about the long process of turning a booze-soaked idea into a physical product on sale in shops and pubs.
“The idea first came about during a late-night beer tasting session when Carl joked about making a craft beer infused with cannabis oil — essentially a drink that adds nutrients back into the body, rather than just taking them away,” Florit told us, with a laugh.
Like all good ideas, the duo kept returning to it and soon decided to take it seriously. A few weeks later they set up Green Times Brewing as an official company and sourced a unique water-soluble, full-spectrum CBD. Turning to one of Boon’s colleagues, an award-winning brewer, they then underwent the long, but no doubt enjoyable, process of fine-tuning the formula.
“After a year of conducting trials and taste tests, we eventually got the formula and taste profile right,” said Florit. “And came up with with a combination of cannabinoids, terpenes and exotic flavours, resulting in an easy-to-drink IPA with a powerful hop hit and refreshing citrus aftertaste.”
THE LONG PROCESS OF DEVELOPING CBD BEER
As you’d expect, specific details about the CBD beer development process have to remain confidential due to the competitive nature of the market.
“We spent a lot of time testing and trialling so we wouldn’t want to give away all of our secrets,” said Boon.
“The actual production process is exclusive to us, along with the water-soluble CBD. But what we can say is that we work with an award-winning London brewery and follow a traditional brewing method using organic malts and hops. And of course the full spectrum cannabis oil extract, which is also fully organic.”
When it came to the legal side of things, Boon;’s experience in the CBD industry proved invaluable.
“Carl has an excellent knowledge of the regulations regarding the commercialisation of CBD products, though we did have to check with a specialised law firm and all the various UK governmental food and drinks organisations regarding the legalities, to make sure there wouldn’t be any issues when going to market,” Florit said.
This includes ensuring the product contains less than 0.2 percent THC and emphasising on the label that “It won’t get you ‘high’”.
Ironically, considering the stringent restrictions on CBD and cannabis-derived products in UK, the main legal issue came from a very different source.
“We had a problem with the original name, Cloud Nine Brewing. Just as it was ready to go to market it was blocked because it was similar to a wine company in New Zealand,” said Florit.
INITIAL SETBACKS LED TO SUCCESSFUL ORGANIC CBD BEER FORMULA
Undeterred, they used this setback to improve the product. “We re-brewed, rebranded, re-bottled and returned with a new company name. Plus we improved the formula to make it totally organic.”
However, UK laws do have an impact on how CBD is marketed, meaning Boon and Florit have to be careful what they say when promoting the beer.
“Personally, I have been using CBD for some time now,” said Boon. “Mainly for stress relief, to keep zen and for general mental well being — and drinking this beer gives me a real sense of relaxation. But despite all the talk about the potential health benefits of CBD, it is classified as a food supplement so we can’t recommend it for any specific health conditions.”
Anecdotal reports tell a different story, and one that might appeal to those keen to avoid the dreaded morning-after-the-night-before.
“Due to the organic ingredients, fresh hops and cannabinoids, we’ve had customers say that they don’t get hangovers from drinking this,” Boon continued, adding, “But you’ll have to test that for yourself.”
Indeed, these customers may include some famous names considering some of the clients who buy from CBDultra.
“Goldie the drum and bass DJ is an avid fan,” noted Boon. “He uses it to deal with anxiety and hypertension. Another customer using our CBD oil has now come off seventeen different prescription painkillers — he did a YouTube video talking about it and it’s had over 2 million hits already!”
THE FUTURE OF CBD BEER? THE SKY’S THE LIMIT
The pair have big plans for the future. Following a November launch in Manchester, they have many stockists lined up across the country and deal with constant requests from a public who are becoming more educated about CBD, and keen to try it in all its forms.
“People are continually asking every day where they can get it,” said Boon. “So the more distributors and stockists we can get on board the better.”
“With regards to markets, we are currently focusing on distributing to the UK, but we may consider exporting across Europe and other parts of the world as more and more countries change their laws on cannabis use.”
Expanding the range seems likely too.
“More beers indeed!” Florit said. “We’re looking at a gluten-free version, along with a vegan-friendly High Flyer ale. I’ve always been a huge fan of the German-style wheat beers and Carl loves Indian Pale Ales so let’s see who wins the argument!”
Certainly in the UK, beer is up there as our national drink, alongside tea (which you can also find at CBDultra). That explains the excitement around this brew in both the British press and among the public.
Boon agreed. “We’re genuinely enhancing one of the nation’s favourite drinks, so it’s going to be here to stay!”
After tasting the beer — it’s a delicious light ale, with a satisfying kick from the sativa-derived terpenes — it’s hard to disagree. And considering both beer and CBD are two of the world’s oldest relaxation tools, the only question is why hasn’t this combination happened before?
Thanks to two friends sharing a few drinks and sparking an idea, now we know how tasty CBD beer can be.
See more: Green Times Brewing
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