Don’t want to smoke it? Drink it
Look out, craft beer makers. A new artisan beverage may be coming to Massachusetts: cannabis craft.
TINC has obtained a host agreement to brew non-alcoholic cannabis-infused beverages north of Boston off Tenney Street in Georgetown. The company still needs a state license to operate.
Cofounder Eric Rogers of Middleton and his partner, Troy Brosnan of Rockland, define TINC’s beverages as a new consumer option. Rogers sees the drinks as “fitting into an adult lifestyle.”
“Consumer beverages such as coffee, a glass of wine, or a cocktail all come with an anticipated effect,” Rogers explained. “We have done our research that shows that cannabis beverages will fit well into current consumer and social behaviors.”
In fact, Rogers anticipates cannabis-infused beverages having a use and effect similar to alcohol.
“A consumer drinking a cannabis beverage would feel the effect in 15 to 30 minutes,” Rogers said. “That is faster than the effect from consuming [marijuana] edibles like gummies. Similar to alcohol, the effect would last in the three- to four-hour range.”
Rogers said he believes TINC is the first company to apply for permission to manufacture cannabis-infused beverages in Massachusetts. He and Brosnan looked at similar business models in Colorado and Seattle before developing their business plan for Georgetown.
“We will only be a manufacturer and distributer,” Rogers said. “Consumers will have to actually buy the beverage from a licensed retail outlet.”
TINC must apply to the Cannabis Control Commission for a Recreational Marijuana Establishment license to manufacture the beverages. All the cannabis used in TINC’s drinks must be grown in the state and must conform to state testing standards.
“It is a new market and we are a new entrant,” said Rogers. “Our goal is to be in six [retail] dispensaries in Massachusetts when we get CCC approval.”
A spokewoman said the commission has not approved a license for an entity that has applied to manufacture only marijuana beverages.
While his personal favorite beverage enhanced with cannabis is chocolate milk, the company’s first anticipated product will be seltzer produced in three flavors with 5 milligrams of THC, the maximum allowed by the state. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical that causes the marijuana’s psychoactive effect, or “high.”
“We are also planning to test out a 2.5 milligrams level beverage,” said Rogers, who has a background in marketing and has studied the consumer cannabis marketplace in preparation for the launch of TINC. “It’s something we are open to — feedback on whether or not people want lower strength drinks, too.”
In the future, they may also look at producing coffee and tea-based cannabis beverages.
“We plan to produce 12-ounce bottles of the seltzer beverage,” Rogers said. “It is hard to determine the actual retail cost because we are so early in the process and a lot depends on the cost of cannabis product, but we expect a single bottle to sell in the $8 to $12 range, similar to craft beer.”
The approval process is long, but Rogers said, “TINC feels welcome in Georgetown.”
“We have become known as a cannabis-friendly community,” said Georgetown Town Administrator Michael Farrell. “Because of that, we have received and continue to receive many, many inquiries from cannabis companies looking to do business here.”
The Healthy Pharms medical marijuana dispensary —
which grows its own products on site — already is open in Georgetown. Two other companies, GreenBridge Health and Peak Limited, are currently in the application process to locate facilities in town.
“Our citizens voted in favor of cannabis, we established a marijuana zone along the Route 95 corridor, and our Board of Selectmen feels comfortable in supporting the businesses,” Farrell added.
Under terms of the host agreement signed Dec. 3, TINC will pay Georgetown .5 percent of gross revenue as part of the community impact fee and another 1.75 percent of gross revenue as an annual community benefit fee. The total of 2.25 percent in fees is guaranteed for five years.