MJBiz - July 2023 - 43
is the founder
and president of
Novel Beverage Co.
beverage down to its elements, and we
ended up with a streamlined version
that really captures the essence of some
beer qualities, " Lipke said.
The recipe starts with a green tea
base and a bit of sugar, followed by
cold-steeping passion-fruit puree and
West Coast hop oils such as Citra.
The next step is to infuse the
drink with distillate. Hawes said he
prefers distillate because it is more
predictable than whole-plant or fullspectrum
products-and because many
consumers don't like an overt cannabis
taste in their infused beverages.
When working with agricultural
products, Hawes said it's not possible to
" count on getting the same input every
single time. With distillate, we don't
have to worry that there's going to be
variation in the fl avor and the aroma of
the fi nished goods. "
Currently, Novel pays $5,000 per
kilogram of distillate in Massachusetts
and even more in Maine. Hawes
attributes the price difference to
Massachusetts' recreational market
being older than Maine's and
therefore having more supply that
drives down prices.
The distillate's THC concentration
dictates how many bottles it can
fi ll. If 1 kilogram of distillate has a
concentration of 85%, it will contain
850,000 milligrams of THC. That's
enough for 170,000 5-milligram
bottles in Massachusetts and 85,000
10-milligram bottles in Maine.
Before being added to the beverage,
the distillate goes through an
emulsifi cation process that makes it
soluble. Novel hires Washington statebased
Sōrce Technology to emulsify
distillate three or four times per year.
Sōrce sends a mobile emulsifi cation
lab and two technicians directly
to Novel's facilities in Salisbury,
Massachusetts, and Scarborough,
Maine, to emulsify the distillate on site.
" They set up right in our facility. We
give them the raw distillate, and they
spend the day working it through all
their machines, " Hawes said. " When
they leave, it's all emulsifi ed and put
in labeled bottles and then put in a
When it's time to mix the distillate
with the beverage, Novel uses the same
type of tall, stainless-steel vats with
a conical bottom that are common in
breweries. The vats are jacketed so the
liquid inside stays cool.
Novel blends the beverage and
emulsifi ed distillate in the tank,
then uses a Venturi carbonation
process. Hawes noted that it's easier to
carbonate liquids when they are cold.
Cold is also good for packaging.
" Packaging is much easier to do when
the product is held cold. It's a way to
take some of the equipment already in
use in another industry and repurpose
it. It's very similar to packaging soda or
beer or anything like that, " Hawes said.
Launching Novel's smaller Maine
facility cost about $1.25 million, Hawes
said, while the Massachusetts plant cost
closer to $5 million. The two facilities
are only about an hour apart, so they
share the company's 12 employees.
Both Harpoon and Novel have a
lot riding on Rec Weed's success. For
Harpoon, it's " a way to get our brand
in front of some new consumers, "
And for Hawes, it's an opportunity
to bolster the Novel brand. " Harpoon
was such a natural fi t because they're
pioneers in the beer world, " Hawes said.
Omar Sacirbey is senior
writer for MJBizMagazine.
You can reach him at omar.
mjbizdaily.com | July 2023 43
MJBiz - July 2023
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