By Andrew Brown

Over the past several years, Duncan, B.C. has become a model of progression in terms of a move towards a sustainable community. From regular farmer’s markets in the downtown core (and another in the outskirts), to regular community events, downtown businesses are working together to make the community better for people and better for business—and of course better for mother nature.
But what about hemp? It is one of the plants that can literally save the planet (read Jack Herer’s book The Emperor Wears No Clothes for more on that). Well, Just Jakes and its sister next door, the Craig Street Brew Pub, decided to throw hemp into their menu—and their beer.
It all started at a staff meeting when Service Manager Casey Rose suggested to Owners Lance and Liz Steward that they produce a hemp beer. Being open minded and welcoming employers, as described by employees, they were up for trying it out. At first, the brewmaster was reluctant to jump on board, but eventually warmed up to the idea. What he eventually ended up crafting was a smooth, light to medium body, hemp, honey, and hibiscus ale. (Remember, it’s hemp, it won’t get you high.)
Rather than just leave it at the beer, Just Jakes themed it up throughout the restaurant and pub, both in the decor and food. On Mar. 3, the beer was launched along with hemp infused foods like hummus, pizza, and energy bars.
Casey Rose also saw this as an opportunity to do a little educating, and organized for hemp products like clothes, personal products, paper, and insulation, as well as books on hemp and its many uses, to be there for patrons to peruse. She even did some hemp-themed artwork to hang on the walls. With every beer purchase, patrons also received a hemp bracelet. The evening was a huge success.
“So many people had no idea that you could use [hemp] for all this stuff, and thought ‘oh my god, I thought you could only this’.” Says Casey Rose.
Just Jakes and the Craig Street Brew Pub are fine examples of the direction business need to go. They buy as much local food as possible, grow their own herbs on their patio, and even have a bio-diesel shuttle that runs off of the fryer oil. Hemp is one of the world’s oldest food crops, and needs to be reintroduced into our daily lives, and it is reassuring that the fine people at Just Jakes are leading the charge. Hopefully we won’t need to wait too long for the next batch of hemp beer to be ready!