From Brews to Budz with Chirag and Kevin of St. Johns Brewers and Cool Out Delta8

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 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

Ry Russell
WeedBudz RadioSupport the show

Transcript from the Episode:

Hey friends.

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.

Zero calories.

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.

Virgin Islands?

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 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

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 and we can ship to you. Awesome.

Well, definitely go check,

Those links will be in the show notes

and we’ll see you in the next episode.

Thank you so much.

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