The owner of Dad & Dude’s Breweria shocked loyal customers over the weekend by announcing on Facebook that the brewpub would serve its last 420 Pizza and its last Dank IPA at dinner on Sunday, October 21.
The news will also come as a surprise to people who follow the beer and cannabis industries, as Dad & Dude’s said last March that it had been purchased by Cannabiniers, a California-based beverage manufacturer that specializes in making non-alcoholic beer infused with THC and other cannabis products.
“It’s a very long story, but I will post more shortly,” Dad & Dude’s co-founder Mason Hembree wrote on Saturday. “Some people are coming together to keep the concept going at its current location, but we are focusing our energy on asset recovery and preparing for relocation.”
Hembree didn’t respond to Westword‘s requests for an interview.
Founded in 2010 by Hembree and his father, Thomas Hembree, the Aurora brewpub — which had a marijuana theme to many of its beers and menu items — first made a name for itself outside of Denver’s eastern suburbs in 2016 when it became the first, and only, brewery in the country to gain approval from the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) for a beer infused with CBD, a non-psychoactive hemp extract.
Tom and Mason Hembree.
Dad & Dude’s Breweria
The beer, General Washington’s Secret Stash, was a huge hit at the Great American Beer Festival in 2016, where it attracted attention and long lines at the brewery’s booth. But later that year, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration declared that it still considered cannabidiol (CBD’s full name) and hemp extract — even if non-psychoactive — to be Schedule 1 substances, just like marijuana.
As a result, the TTB asked Dad & Dude’s to surrender its formula. Although Hembree stopped brewing the beer, he refused to surrender the recipe and hired a lawyer to fight back against the DEA and the TTB.
Then, in late 2018, Congress passed the Farm Bill, which removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act (where it had been classified, along with marijuana, since 1937), something that made it legal for farms to grow it as a crop and for states to regulate its cultivation and sale. Although its future, along with CBD’s, is still uncertain, that move kickstarted a CBD- and THC-infused beverage industry nationwide, and Dad & Dude’s began brewing General Washington’s Secret Stash again, using its patent-pending process.
In March, San Diego-based Cannabiniers revealed that it was buying Dad & Dude’s, along with the brewery’s unique intellectual property: that first and only federally approved formula for brewing beer with CBD, and the patent-pending process for infusing CBD into beer in a cost-effective way.
“It’s a no-brainer,” Cannabiniers vice president Kevin Love said then. “They have this formula that no one else has, and they really opened our eyes to how we could get behind it with the mass of our organization.”
Cannabiniers had previously purchased San Diego’s Helm’s Brewing, a traditional craft brewery, in early 2018 and then launched Two Roots Brewing, which makes non-alcoholic beers — some that are infused with THC, which is the stuff in cannabis that does get you high, and some that are more traditional. Recently, the company said it was close to buying Michigan’s Rochester Mills Production Brewery.