Cannabis beer: grant to study and develop innovative yeasts

Cannabis beer: grant to study and develop innovative yeasts
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Province Brands of Canada, developers of the world’s first and only beers brewed from the cannabis plant, will join with Western University (WU) to study and develop innovative yeasts.

The yeast being developed in this collaboration is expected to be a revolutionary and time-saving technology which can be used in crafting beers made from hemp and cannabis, as well as in many other applications.

The research grant for innovative yeasts of CAN$45,000 (~€30,586.31) is funded by the Ontario Center of Excellence’s (OCE) Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP) program and by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s (NSERC) Engage program.

Bioengineering cannabis beer

Dr Lars Rehmann, Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at WU, said: “Applying cutting edge bioengineering tools and advancement in agriculture to the rapidly evolving cannabis industry is creating an extremely exciting environment for entrepreneurs and new graduates in many business sectors.

“Excellent support for joined projects between universities and highly innovative companies can result in ‘outside-the-box’ solutions to industrial problems, providing a competitive edge to everyone involved.”

Dooma Wendschuh, CEO and Co-Founder of Province Brands of Canada, said: “Province Brands of Canada is very fortunate to be working with Dr Rehmann’s team, which has tremendous experience developing a similar yeast.

“At Province Brands of Canada, we are developing an entirely new brewing tradition.  Not only will this technology help Province Brands and those who choose to brew in our new tradition, but once the patents have been approved, we can share this yeast with the brewing community and well beyond.”

Dr Erin Johnson, Research Engineer and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at WU working with Dr Lars Rehmann, said: “The brewing industry’s guidelines on yeast have been recently expanded to make room for creativity and diversity and I think people are ready for change.”

Over the past two years, Province Brands of Canada has developed a patent-pending process for brewing a premium beer from the cannabis plant. The first steps in the brewing process, milling and ‘mashing’ (i.e. saccharifying or extracting fermentable sugars from the cannabis plant), requires specialised equipment and technology, which would not be found in existing breweries. This could lead to the creation of cannabis beers and hemp beers.

Recreational cannabis use became legal in Canada in October 2018 for dried and fresh cannabis, oil, plants and seeds. The Canadian government will legalise drinks, food, and other edibles containing cannabis by October of this year.

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