Pabst Labs Opens Cannabis-Focused Beverage Factory, Triples Capacity for THC-Infused Drinks
Part of the appeal of Pabst Blue Ribbon is the brand's underdog story. Practically forgotten by the turn of the millennium, a groundswell of support helped bring the brand back to its current prominence. And yet, though the Pabst beer brand has faced a rocky road over the years, the Pabst Labs line of cannabis beverages is hoping to lead from the front.
Among Pabst many innovations over the past few years — including hard coffee, hard seltzer, hard tea, and whiskey (no "hard" needed) — in 2020, Pabst granted the rights to Pabst Labs to begin making the non-alcoholic but THC-laced Pabst Blue Ribbon Cannabis Infused Seltzer.
Though not the first cannabis beverage with a beer pedigree, the hope was that the PBR brand would have crossover appeal with the marijuana crowd. And apparently, Pabst was right. Last week, Pabst Labs announced they were opening a new "cutting edge manufacturing facility and distribution center" in Desert Hot Springs, California — further described as "one of the few dedicated cannabis beverage facilities in America" — which will allow the company to more than triple its production capabilities.
"Leveraging over twenty years of beverage manufacturing experience, the goal while building our factory was to establish a standard for quality and efficiency that would set the bar in all cannabis infused beverages facilities for years to come. It's a game changer," explained Chuck Barlick, Pabst Labs' director of production. "[The new factory] will operate under customary world-class manufacturing practices such as HACCP, SQF, GMPs, Lean Manufacturing and Visual Work Instructions."
Beyond its eponymous Pabst Blue Ribbon 10mg High Seltzer, Pabst also produces Not Your Father's Cannabis Infused Root Beer and the St. Ides Cannabis product line (which includes their 100mg infused four-ounce shots). Other brands will be allowed to access the facility through co-packaging relationships, as well, which Pabst says should help "raise beverage quality and opportunity across the industry."
Pabst said data shows that THC-infused beverages are seeing a 40 percent growth rate, the fastest growing category in the cannabis industry, according to the Cannabis Beverage Association (CBA). Additionally, data from the cannabis-focused analytics company Headset suggests that PBR High Seltzer is one of the top-selling THC-infused carbonated beverages in California.
Editor's note: This article has been amended to clarify the distinction between the Pabst Brewing and Pabst Labs.