^
Keep Westword Free
4

A Popular Cannabis Beer Won't Be Back at GABF This Year

GABF attendees loved George Washington's Secret Stash.
GABF attendees loved George Washington's Secret Stash.
Westword file photo

Judging by the long lines that snaked away from the Dad & Dudes Breweria booth at the Great American Beer Festival the past two years, just about everywhere in Denver has tried cannabis beer. Last year's version, called George Washington's Secret Stash, was an IPA infused with cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive hemp extract.

The beer made national and international headlines and set the brewery up for a major investment from an outside company that was interested in distributing the beer nationwide.

But the Aurora brewery stopped brewing General Washington's Secret Stash and other CBD-infused brews in December after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration published a rules update that classified hemp extracts as Schedule 1 drugs, just like marijuana. That move has since been challenged in court by the Cannabis Industry Association on behalf of numerous business that sell hemp products nationwide. The case is slowly making its way through the federal courts and is expected to see some movement in November.

The DEA rule also convinced the federal Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which had granted formula approval to Dad & Dudes a year earlier, to rescind its approval. The bureau gave the brewery ten days to surrender its formula, Dad & Dudes owner Mason Hembree said then. He refused and then hired Denver’s Hoban Law Group to help fight the TTB. Hoban, not so coincidentally, is also representing the Hemp Industries Association.

A Popular Cannabis Beer Won't Be Back at GABF This Year
Dad & Dudes Breweria

As a result, Dad & Dudes isn't making the beer anymore, and it won't be attending GABF, which hits town October 5 to 7. But Hembree says the lack of his attention-grabbing flagship beer isn't the reason that the brewery isn't returning. Rather, he now feels like the venue doesn't match his goals.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

"As far as using GABF as a platform for launching the beer and educating people about why CBD should be included in alcoholic beverages, I don't think that event is a good place to educate anyone," he says. "When you're running around drinking a lot of alcohol, you're not going to be paying attention to politics and culture, you're not really going to remember it. So I don't think we want to be part of it."

Hembree also feels that the Brewers Association, which runs the festival, wasn't welcoming. "One BA guy just shook his head when he walked by us. He didn't greet us or say anything."

As a result, Hembree says Dad & Dudes has resigned its membership in the BA and is instead focusing on the Cannabis Industry Association, which has welcomed the brewery. "We joined earlier this year, and they have shown an outpouring of support," Hembree says. "We wanted to align ourselves with an organization that better represents our core values and the views of the future that we have."

Hembree says that Dad & Dudes "had a lot of fun with GABF and had a lot of attention the last few years," but that he doesn't plan to return until he senses a change in how cannabis-infused beers are perceived there.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.

 

Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.