New Belgium’s buzz-worthy new hemp and hops beer, The Hemperor, which is now available on draft in almost every state in the nation, has been banned in Kansas…and here’s why.
In spite of the advances that recreational pot has made (at least on a state level), hemp as a beer ingredient remains largely taboo.
And ironically, the fact that hemp is the fiber and stalk part of Cannabis Sativa plant (it’s the THC laden buds that are commonly referenced as marijuana) and that it’s largely non-psychoactive, wasn’t the primary reason that The Hemperor was approved by the TTB.
The government’s gatekeeper for beer labels and formulations, The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) has final say on any brew that wants to add hemp or its byproducts.
And according to The Cannabist the TTB won’t approve formulas or labels for products that contain controlled substances, and defers to the US Drug Enforcement Administration for their interpretation of the Controlled Substances Act.
So with those constraints how did New Belgium receive approval for their hemp and hop fusion?
The Colorado-based brewery found a workaround in the 2014 Farm Bill which legalized hemp heart. And that’s what New Belgium used to craft their HPA which they also reportedly brewed with “a proprietary process utilizing compounds from other materials that emulate the aromatic terpenes found in hemp.”
That’s right, The Hemperor’s aromatics don’t come from hemp even though the beer was brewed with hemp!
Which brings us to why you won’t be drinking The Hemperor in Kansas anytime soon…
Even though hemp is almost entirely non-psycho active (try smoking a hemp stalk or stem to get high!), it can still contain trace elements of the plant on a micro-level.
“Because the beer had a trace of hemp in it, it is not allowed in Kansas, and the registration request was denied pursuant to an opinion issued by the Kansas Attorney General,” said Rachel Whitten, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Revenue.
So as things stand now, some Kansas City resident’s will have to cross over the river into Missouri to get their The Hemperor fix this spring, but we’re thinking it will be well worth the journey.
Big H/T to The Cannabist for their help with our coverage…