Chirag Vyas and Kevin Chipman partnered to create the brewery, St. Johns Brewers. These beverage industry experts have decided to take their talents into the world of Cannabis. They are introducing a line of Delta 8 or D8 seltzers. D8 is a compound derived from the hemp plant and therefore falls under hemp regulations versus cannabis or marijuana depending on the state that you’re in. The creative minds behind DrinkCoolOut.com join us today to educate us on what exactly Delta 8 is and to share the origin story behind their brand.
Chirag Vyas and Kevin Chipman
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Transcript from the Episode:
Welcome back to another episode of Weed Budz Radio and
I’m your host Ry
And today joining me is some
new buds that I’m excited to share with all of
you that are working on some incredible projects and have
already worked on some amazing projects, so you’re going to
love the conversation that we have today.
And today joining us we have Chirag and Kevin from St.
John Brewers and gentlemen, thank
you so much for joining.
Hi, good afternoon. Good to meet you.
Good to be with you.
Yes, thanks for having us. Absolutely.
So first I want to hear where you’re
located and how you two got connected. Chirag
do you want to take this one first this time? Sure.
Jim and I have been friends since college.
We went to school up in the
University of Vermont back in the 90s.
So we were friends from freshman year.
We became roommates with a bunch of other guys in
the dorm and then we just drank good beer from
Vermont at that time and kept in touch after college.
So we both graduated from University of
Vermont and then went out separate ways.
I worked as a scientist for NASA and the space
program out in California for a couple of years and
Kevin was a physical therapist major and he went down
to Boston and worked in the hospital there as well.
So we were both kind of on our career
paths in the early 2000s and kind
of decided that we want to change in life.
Kevin went down to the state to visit a friend
of ours that we knew from college down in the
Virgin Islands and checked it out and he came back
and I said I was interested in moving the Caribbean
and we just thought we’d take a year off and
go down to the Caribbean for a year and then
we’ll get back into career jobs in the future.
We kind of took a leap on life at early
20s and went down to the Caribbean with no
plans, no plan to brew or anything, just to check
it out, bartender, have a good time and then maybe
come back or travel a little more.
So it’s kind of how we got started
and it’s a beautiful place down here.
We fell in love sight on scene and yeah, it was great.
We got some jobs originally just bussing and then
hosting at some restaurants, moved up to bartending.
Everything was great.
But we did realize that we missed beer that we
were drinking up in the States down here it was
just all the light lagers, Caribbean lagers, mainstream domestic beers
that were here and we really wanted some different colored
flavored beers and so just ingenuity kind of struck us
and we bought homebrew kits online and it was a
bit more of a challenge back then.
We’re talking 2001, 2002 so the
internet isn’t what it is right now.
So having to go to the local library with some dial
up for 30 minutes each and do this online research.
But we got them and that was our start and our
lead into craft beer as far as the brewing aspect.
And that was how we got into beverage the very early
stages and really caught the bug as far as brewing.
The first batches I think were pretty typical of
what you experienced, that decent, not teetering on good.
But then we just wanted to really make some good beers
and so we really got into it reading everything that we
could and just really caught that craft beer buzz.
And then finally it kind of got to
the point where we were going to stay
here and start a business within beer.
We had a couple of good recipes that we had
or go back to the States and pursue our careers.
And in particular we were brewing
with mangoes that grew on St.
John and we were talking how people enjoyed
it and we’re like, yeah, let’s give this
a go with this tropical mango beer.
And that was our foray into St. John brewers and
the beer that started us off in this direction.
That sounds delicious because my favorite beers and
my favorite flower and smoke is anything a
little bit citrusy, a little bit tangy.
So that sounds absolutely incredible to me
and I can’t wait to try that.
So I’m curious, two brewmasters, if you
will, where do you go from there?
You establish this great business, what’s next?
What’s on the horizon?
Yeah, so we’ve been brewing beer, like Kevin said, since
the early 2000s, and we started a brewing
company and we brewed different styles of beer.
We also introduced the soda lines, we’ve
done root beers and ginger beer flavors.
This is all packaged products as well as
draft and sold throughout the markets and the
bars and restaurants and throughout the islands.
And so we’ve just expanded our line over the years
and recently got into a hard seltzer that we make
we think better than the ones that are out there.
It’s called Love City.
And it’s available only in the Virgin Islands.
So Celtic was sort of our foray into a
different style of beverage versus the traditional beers like
the IPAs and the brown ales and all the
unique pale ales that we could do.
So we wanted to transition to a little bit
more of the cannabis space where we could bring
cannabis to beverages and the idea of a good
craft beer and a good craft cannabis beverage.
And so the last two years we really been
working on finding great water soluble ingredients to
use in a flavored seltzer that our flavors that
we come up with and put the two together
to make a really quality product that’s entry into
the hemp space and into the cannabis space.
That is so fascinating. Kevin.
Yeah, I was just going to add that it has been great.
All the research that we did
with creating Love City our hard seltzer.
It just really did blend in
well into infusing in Delta-8.
And we have just different flavor profiles that
we have that we’re super excited about.
Our brand’s, Cool Out is our Delta-8 infused seltzer
and we’re leading with a citrus flavor same thing.
I guess we can let you know how we
do our research is that it’s one thing if
we like it, but do other people like it?
So we spend a lot of time bench topping
out our different flavors and then giving it out
to our staff at first and then going more
into our larger audience and customers.
And citrus has got a lot of great reviews and it drinks just like a fresh, clean seltzer.
Our Delta-8 ingredient is wonderful.
We really did a lot of vetting for
suppliers for our Delta-8, and it is
just one of the cleanest ones out there.
Tastes great over ice, straight out of the can.
And we went in a little
bit lighter with the Delta-8.
As far as 10 milligrams, I feel everyone either
has had that experience or knows that someone had
experience of having edibles and having too much because
of that hour wait that takes place and having
it be just too much.
So we went with 10 milligrams.
That still gets you a nice little heavy buzz.
But we also want this to be something
that you can drink more than one of.
We’re beer guys.
We want you to be able to be social with these beverages and
be able to hang out, be in the mix at a party.
Maybe alcohol is not for you and this is just
one of those really good alternatives that can help you
relax and you’re fitting in with the party.
Or if you want to replace out that glass
of wine at the end of a work day
or that beer, this is another great option.
We’re not sugar guys.
We don’t like sweeteners either.
And so we’ve just developed a flavor profile that is
clean, has a lot of robust flavor to it, but
doesn’t have a lot of added features to it.
So our tagline is Cool out. Feel good.
And there’s just a lot of different aspects about
this beverage that can help you feel good.
And a lot of that is what it doesn’t have
in it, which are the sugar, carbs, all that stuff.
So as an individual, that’s often in those social environments that
you were mentioning, I do not drink alcohol, but I love
beer, and so I’ll have a craft beer maybe three or
four times a year, but really only one, because I don’t
really like the way that I feel.
And so I’ve been waiting for that beautiful
kind of craft beer that has more of
the THC components to it than alcohol.
Obviously, I know that with fermentation
you’re going to get some alcohol.
But is there a way to make a good beer with
THC in it versus what we have right now, which seems
to be a lot of juices and sodas and seltzers?
It can be done.
It’s a little more technical.
You have to de alkalize your product
because you can’t have the two together
and sort of a consumer safety perspective.
But you could brew beer, try to get a
no out or low out down there and then
add in your ingredients and then that’s been done.
Particularly in west, we’ve seen a couple of
brands do that and I think that’s part
of where we’re at with flavor.
And we’ve been at this almost 20 years where
complexity of flavor versus simplicity of flavor and not
everyone is an IPA craft beer drinker, even though
it is the most popular style of craft beer.
We sell a lot of our IPAs but that leaves
out a big part of the segment of the population.
We like seltzers and you can see the craziness out there
just because it appeals to a lot more of an audience
that just does not overwhelmed with flavor and taste.
However, we do encourage that we want
to have taste in our beverages.
So that’s our benefit.
Our positive experience is having good flavoring
and good formulation of your product.
We think seltzer is just a great way, but yeah,
it’s been done for sure the beer side of things
and this is a good intro for us.
We feel the tip of the iceberg sort of
thing with Delta-8 and getting into beverage.
So this is our starting point.
As Chirag mentioned, Delta was just fresh with us
as far as one of the latest projects that
we are working on and so it did just
fit nicely into what we are going to do
next, which was experimenting with cannabis water soluble technology.
That leads me you had mentioned something about Chirag,
the kind of craze around seltzer right now.
And I’m curious is that a fad?
Is that a trend that’s here to stay?
If it is here to stay, what’s after that?
There’s a lot of opinions on that at the moment.
I mean, we’ve seen a pretty big skyrocketing
with the big national brands from a small
brewery perspective on an island in the Caribbean.
We’ve done great with our sales
to date and it’s growing.
So I personally don’t think seltzers
are going away by any stretch.
Craft breweries, particularly breweries in general, got into
the business because it was a way to
make a light kind of alcoholic seltzer beverage
versus the traditional beer under the regulations of
breweries versus liquor distilleries.
So there was a bit of that movement going on.
But in terms of a fad, it’s possible just
because they typically the big macro bands tend to
overdo it and it kind of turns people off.
Seltzers have been around forever I think
it’s been over 100 years of seltzer.
It’s clean, it’s refreshing, it’s not for everyone.
Some people want sweeteners and things like that.
But if you have a good
clean shelter, it’s very drinkable.
So I think you’ll be around for a while.
And I’m curious because I realized that
we haven’t really necessarily explained it to
those that have tuned in.
But if you don’t mind kind of breaking down what
the difference is between Delta-8 and Delta-9.
I think that’s something that we really
haven’t talked about on the show.
So Delta-9 would be the THC drive from marijuana.
And it’s just kind of that technical chemical structure
that is where a carbon is double bonded.
So it’s on the 9th carbon in the
molecule, Delta-8 derived from hemp, which the
federal government deemed legal in 2018 Farm Bill.
And that is, again, just where that double bond is.
So it’s a chemical difference.
And then it’s where they’re derived from within the
cannabis family, one being from marijuana, Delta-9, the
other being from hemp based Delta-8. Interesting.
And so I guess the question that I’ve been
asked a lot, I don’t have an answer to.
Is Delta-8 naturally derived or is
that something that’s synthetically formed. Delta is
present in cannabis and in hemp.
In smaller dose or percentages, it can
be derived from the hemp and then
basically converted up into Delta-9.
It’s not synthesized per se from basic chemistry.
It’s derived from the CBD and the cannabinoids
of the hemp and the hemp extract.
When I kind of think of CBD extraction or
THC extraction, if you’re looking at extracting something like
Delta-8, are you able to get the same
kind of return per plant, per hemp stock that
you would THC from a marijuana stock?
Is it a smaller number?
Do you have to kind of use more quantity to get there?
It’s not something that we’ve ever really explored.
That’s a pretty technical question, I feel.
And I’m sure it’s different based on farms
and strains and the style of what’s grown.
We rely on the expertise of the
companies that we’re getting our product from.
We feel that our expertise comes in the
beverage side, using that water soluble technology and
just getting the best beverage that we can
for the hemp that we’re using.
But I’m not sure about that kind of pound for pound.
What is the yield or how that part actually works out.
Now, if I say for myself, more of an experienced Delta-9
consumer, and let’s say beside me I have an inexperienced
Delta-9 consumer, could you kind of explain to us the
effects of Delta-8 on the mind and body?
As cannabis users, we’ve experienced Delta-8
Delta-9 and other cannabinoid CBD. Of course.
And so Delta-8 is referred to as sort of
a milder buzz that doesn’t say that you don’t feel
anything or it’s light, but it tends to be milder
than a cannabis THC Delta-9 high.
However, it is a cumulative
effect, a compounding effect.
If you have a couple more Delta-8s, you
will start to feel a very strong buzz.
So it’s not as if it stays mellow the whole time.
It’s just sort of the onset
and the feeling isn’t as high.
And also the less, if any, anxiety and some of
that kind of panicky that comes with it increased.
You don’t get some of that, or
at least we haven’t heard of that.
Very calming effects in many ways, but not
overwhelming and stretch and everybody’s a little bit
different too with how they get affected.
So I think that’s just where there is some plates
where you start to know your dose and then get
comfortable with it as well, which is very important.
And that’s why we like the beverage space
compared to edibles and smokeables is that you
can kind of pace yourself as you’re drinking
it, and especially the 12 ounce can versus
a shot, because the shots a bit intimidating.
But with a 12 ounce can, you’re drinking
it like you would drink any other alcoholic
beverage where you’re pacing yourself and if you
want to slow down, you can slow down.
And because the onsets within 15 to 20 minutes
due to ingestion liquid form, you feel it sooner.
So you can kind of really do it yourself out and
not feel like you’re going to have to wait an hour
and all of a sudden you’re glued to the couch.
So you kind of get that baseline much sooner
and then you can effectively make a decision on
how much more you would like to consume or
at what pace you would like to consume. Correct.
I would say that the onset is faster
than edible if we’re comparing the two.
And then also the on ramp.
I feel that sometimes when I’ve had edibles, it
hits you all of a sudden everything at once,
where with this as you’re drinking it over 15, 20
minutes and enjoying the flavor and then getting the
experience, there’s more of a gentle kind of ease
into the high compared to just that thump that
you sometimes get with other deliverables.
So gentlemen, I got to ask, being in this space,
in the beverage space for so long, what are some
similarities that you’re finding between what you’ve been doing with
the brewery versus now introducing Delta-8 from, I guess
kind of a 360 view, right?
Like how are you engaging consumers?
What is regulatory look like?
Just what parts are extremely different, but what
parts are like, yeah, we got this.
This is our prior expertise coming in.
I mean, I would start with our expertise
being in the beer and alcohol business.
And we follow all the federal regulations,
everything from labeling rules and such.
So we understand regulations state
to state sales are limited.
You have to register in all 50 states.
So we’ve always been limited in our state
access that we have sold in multiple states.
And so we’ve learned all the regulations behind that.
And of course, the rules have
been changing with hemp and cannabis.
So knowing that we want to merge those two worlds together,
because in the craft beer business, we do have cannabis users
and THC users that would want to also be having in
the same social dynamic as a craft beer party.
So we wanted to merge those two worlds together.
And I think we’re able to do that a
little bit more now based on the current regulations
of how hemp is currently federally approved.
Yeah, and being cannabis users and wanting to bring cannabis
more into the American beverage culture, this has been a
really cool project for us to be working on and
then also bringing in the quality that is craft beer.
It’s something that we always pride ourselves on and that
we’re going to continue on with this new project and
everything else that we do within the hemp space.
We feel it’s very important.
We’re trying to do things the right way, the
best way that we can, best ingredients, all those
things that make a quality brand and a quality
experience for the customer as well. Amazing.
And gentlemen, before we wrap up today, I’m really
curious, what is the cannabis culture and I guess
regulatory viewpoint right now in the US.
How is that kind of functioning right now?
What’s that ecosystem looks like?
Surprisingly not legal yet for cannabis recreation or medicinal,
but as the Caribbean island, as you know, cannabis
has been present for generations and as part of
the culture, and it is not recently not been
legally loosened on the laws there.
So it’s been okay, but there’s definitely not the
regulations in place to have open dispensary sales yet.
Enforcement is friendlier, but fines
are still in place. Correct. Awesome.
Gentlemen, I’m so grateful that you took
the time to meet with me today.
And I’m curious for all those that are tuned in, what’s
the best way to stay connected and to follow you all?
Best way is through our website or social media.
The website is drinkcoolout.com and then our
handles are DrinkCool out as well.
So those are the best channels to follow up. Amazing.
Well, thank you both so much. Thank you.
Thanks for having us.
And of course, we’re so grateful to all of you
that have tuned in to another episode of Weebudz Radio.
Be sure to head over to our website weebudzradio.com.
We’ll have links to connect with all
these fine gentlemen and their website so
you can check out their beverages.
And can you ship, gentlemen, can you ship
to all 50 states or most states?
Most states, yeah.
We’ve got a website you can go to check
it out at drinkcoolout.com and we can ship to you. Awesome.
Well, definitely go check, drinkcoolout.com.
Those links will be in the show notes
and we’ll see you in the next episode.
Thank you so much.