Ceria Brewing Makes Colorado History

CERIA Brewing's brewmaster and co-founder Keith Villa, Ph.D. (far right), joins his wife, co-founder and CEO Jodi Villa (far left), in presentation of a four-pack of First Release Grainwave to James S. Peterson, Assistant Curator for Artifacts of the History Colorado Center, the Denver home of the state history museum. (Photo courtesy  ceriabrewing.com )

CERIA Brewing's brewmaster and co-founder Keith Villa, Ph.D. (far right), joins his wife, co-founder and CEO Jodi Villa (far left), in presentation of a four-pack of First Release Grainwave to James S. Peterson, Assistant Curator for Artifacts of the History Colorado Center, the Denver home of the state history museum. (Photo courtesy ceriabrewing.com)

THC Beer Hits Market and History Books

By Emily Moyer

When Keith Villa and his wife Jodi of Ceria Brewing Co. teamed up with the History Colorado Center to preserve the progression of cannabis legalization here in Colorado, it was a moment for the history books.

As James Peterson, assistant curator for artifacts, slipped on his white archivist gloves to accept the First Release Grainwave four-pack, he said, "This donation could help us tell a more inclusive, contemporary story about Colorado's $3 billion craft brewing industry - as well as its trailblazing cannabis industry.”

Ceria’s Grainwave is one of the world’s first non-alcoholic, THC beers. Developed by Villa, a retired veteran of 32 years from Coors Brewing Co., and one of the developers of Blue Moon, Grainwave was released to Denver dispensaries in December 2018 and flew off the shelves within hours. Since then, Grainwave has been shipped to more than 132 Colorado dispensaries, with intentions to expand their operation to other legal-pot states such as California and Nevada later this year. 

The museum has been conducting a contemporary collecting initiative to document and preserve items related to Colorado's historic 2012, voter-approved Amendment 64, which legalized the private consumption of marijuana. This collection includes much of the expected marijuana memorabilia, paraphernalia, clothing and accessories, posters and more. What’s somewhat unexpected in the collection is bottled beer.  

"The big thing for us about being pioneers in this industry, is that there are so many people who have pioneered here in this state,” Keith Villa said. “My wife and I are just so humbled to be a part of that history.”

What makes this beer worthy of historic recognition is embedded into its recipe. Grainwave is brewed as a traditional non-alcoholic beer with blood orange peel and delicious notes of coriander. It is then dealcoholized using a heating process. The beer’s real secret is in the process of micro-dosing 5 milligrams of cannabis into the beverage, which has only 64 calories. Through much trial and error, the Villas had to adopt ways to incorporate THC into the beer without an overwhelming cannabis flavor or oily separation on the top. The result was a water-soluble formula of THC that is added to the beer and leaves no harsh flavor. 

Ceria contributed one of its first-release four-packs  to the museum, along with other materials featuring their logo showing a modern interpretation of Ceres, the Roman goddess of the harvest, upon whose head sits a cannabis leaf and hops crown.

"By infusing a great tasting craft beer with THC, we'll empower all adults over age 21 to tap into the magic of cannabis through this new spin on a Belgian classic," Villa said in a press report.