After the recent court decision to allow the private use of cannabis in South Africa, a craft brewer in that country is taking advantage of the opportunity to market a cannabis beer called “Durban Poison Cannabis Lager”. The brewer, Poison Beer City Brewing, which launched in 2015, produces five different beers, including this latest addition.
Durban Poison is named after a popular strain of marijuana known around the world for its distinctive smell and relatively short flowering period. The beer is blended with hemp instead of the more traditional hops, which is used to flavour beer. Both hemp and hops are part of the Cannabaceae family.
Graeme Bird, the co-founder of Poison Beer City Brewing, was quoted by Africa News as saying, “The easiest route into the market was to go with beer.”
Although hemp and cannabis are from the same family of crops, hemp does not contain the psychoactive chemical agents found in marijuana.
“The characteristic that would differentiate Durban Poison from the other beers we make is definitely the hemp seeds. They give a really nice nutty flavour, something you don’t often find in beer,” said Matthew Monteiro, a brewer at Red Rock Breweries, as quoted by Reuters.
So far the lager has met with mixed reviews. Some people say the cannabis connection made them want to taste the beer, but it was average. In addition, the lack of a taste or smell to deliver on the “cannabis” experience threw consumers off.
Although Durban Poison craft beer is ahead of the curve, there is still some way to go in creating “authentic” cannabis products before lawmakers review the law in two years. It will be interesting to see what else entrepreneurs come up with.