As the specter of national pot legalization seems like more and more of a certainty in the years to come, companies are increasingly trying to get a foot in the door of the lucrative cannabis market. That includes beer companies, many of which have reason to be nervous—studies have repeatedly shown that states and cities with legal weed see a significant decrease in alcohol consumption as a result. As a result, some prominent beer industry figures have actually jumped ship from one industry to the other, such as Blue Moon creator Keith Villa, who is now selling non-alcoholic, THC-infused beverages that mimic craft beer styles.
Not to be left behind is Lagunitas, a brewery long associated with cannabis imagery and pop culture. In fact, much of the company’s story revolves around weed in a tangential sort of way—such as the much-ballyhooed time when the brewery’s weekly “4:20 party” was raided by the feds in 2005, causing the brewery to be temporarily shut down. The Lagunitas beer Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale is named after the incident.
Now, with pot legal in California, the company can finally embrace what they probably always wanted to do from the beginning—actually put cannabis into their beverages. They won’t be doing it via beer, though—instead, Lagunitas is latching on to another nascent trend among brewers, which is hopped sparkling water.
When we first heard about the concept of “hopped sparkling water” at the Paste office, we were skeptical. But after trying a couple of very tasty examples, we’re officially sold on the concept—they come off like hop-flavored La Croix, with a subtle grassy/citric sweetness despite the lack of calories. To this, Lagunitas will simply add either THC or CBD (or in some cases both) to create their Hi-Fi Hops. It will be available in two doses, only in California—you can see both cans in the image below.
Naturally, the novelty of the product does lead to some weirdness. The product page at Lagunitas features some pretty goofy language, such as calling Hi-Fi Hops an “IPA-inspired beverage,” but we can only assume that the awkwardness will pass with time. Echoing the kind of language you would expect to see in the world of coffee, Lagunitas proudly boasts that the product is made from “the finest, sun-grown cannabis.”
“Hi-Fi is not the first chapter in the love affair between cannabis and Lagunitas, but it is one of the most exciting,” says Maria Stipp, CEO of Lagunitas. “The idea of having a no-calorie beverage infused with cannabis seemed like a perfect next step in our product innovation, and a natural way to marry our past with our future.”
If you live in California, you can try the product for yourself when it hits dispensaries starting on July 30, 2018.