Canadian cannabis beer startup Province Brands targets Caribbean resorts

A Canadian drinks company specialising in non-alcoholic cannabis beers has struck a distribution deal with a new chain of hotels set to launch in the Caribbean in 2021.

Province Brands — which is developing 0% ABV beers infused with the plant’s psychoactive compound, THC — has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Caribbean distribution of its products with Ayre Resorts, a new collection of five-star properties opening its first resort in Antigua in 2021.

The startup, which is currently unable to sell the THC beers in Canada while the country’s cannabis legislation comes into force, also makes Cambridge Bay Imperial Pilsner; an alcoholic hemp-based beer.

The announcement comes as lawmakers in both Canada and Antigua are preparing to fully legalise recreational cannabis use.

An amendment to Antigua’s Misuse of Drugs Act, which was published in March this year, states that a person who is “in possession of a maximum of 15 grams of the drug Cannabis or Cannabis resin is not guilty of an offence.”

The amendment stopped short of legalisation, and there are still legal penalties for the sale of cannabis.

(Photo: Province Brands)

Currently, only Cambridge Bay, Province Brands’ hemp-based pilsner in place of barley, would qualify for distribution under these restrictions.

Although Canada’s lawmakers legalised recreational use of cannabis earlier this year, the country’s edibles industry has yet to become legal, causing a number of false-starts for small businesses and leading some manufacturers to sell their products illegally online.

Although Province filed a patent for a cannabis-based beer back in 2017, the company struck a deal with craft brewery Yukon in November so it can sell a pilsner brewed with cannabis next year, while it continues to develop its original, THC-laced beer.

“It’s very rare for a beer brand at this early stage in the life cycle to have an opportunity like this,” Rob Kevwitch, Province Brands’ master brewer, said.

“We’ve put two years of hard work into developing the process and technology by which to create the world’s first beers brewed from hemp and brewed from marijuana.

The company is currently building a 123,000 sq ft cannabis brewery in Grimsby, Ontario, which will enable it to “meet initial forecasted product demand in each province and territory.”

“There were some nights when even I thought we would never get this to work,” Kevwitch added, “but now folks in the Tropic of Cancer will be able to order a premium Canadian beer named after a town in the Arctic Circle.”

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