The 64 Store
Apples & Bananas, Bubba Berry
The Dispo
Bubba Berry, Cherry Diesel, Georgia Pie, Grape Gasoline S1, LCS, Marshmallow OG #9, Miracle Alien Cookies, Oui Oui, PAY, Passionfruit, Platinum Kush Breath, SNX, Sherb Crasher, Slurricane, Sugar Rush #2, Tart Pops #4, Triangle OG, Yuk Mouth
The Green Solution
Bordeaux #5, Cherry Diesel, Cherry Hills, Cookies N Cream, Durban Kush #8, Forza Sans Souci #4, Medellin, Miracle Alien Cookies, OG Sin, PAY, Peach Kush #2, SNI, SNX, Sherb Crasher, Slurricane, Sour Diesel, Sour Rado, Street Urchin, Sugar Rush #2, Tart Pops #4, Woosah, Yuk Mouth
The Happy Camper
Divine Kush Breath, Durban Kush #8, Muffinz Breath #1, SNI, Sherb Crasher
The Kind Castle
KPF, LCS, Sour Rado
Third Day Apothecary
Cherry Diesel, OG Sin, Oui Oui, Platinum Kush Breath, Yuk Mouth
Top Crop
Cherry Hills, Durban Kush #8, KPF, SNX, Sueno, Veritas Cookies
Tumbleweed
Divine Kush Breath, Durban Kush #8, Forza Sans Souci #4, SNX, Woosah, Yuk Mouth
Twin Peaks
Bubba Berry, Cherry Diesel, Georgia Pie, Miracle Alien Cookies, Sherb Crasher, Sour Rado, Sugar Rush #2, Triangle OG, Yuk Mouth
ANNA
Black Amber, Cherry Diesel, Georgia Pie, Miracle Alien Cookies, Oui Oui, Platinum Kush Breath, Sour Diesel, Sugar Rush #2, Yuk Mouth
Bud Board
Cherry Hills, Durban Kush #8, KPF, SNX, Sueno, Veritas Cookies
Buku Loud
A-Bay Bay, Apples & Bananas, Bubba Berry, Cherry Hills, Durban Kush #8, Marshmallow OG #9, Muffinz Breath #1, OZ Kush, SNI
COS Confidential
Apples & Bananas, Bubba Berry, Cherry Hills, Durban Kush #8, Oui Oui, SNI
Canna Cabinet
Blueberry Lemonade, Bubba Berry, Cherry Diesel, Divine Kush Breath, Glitter Bomb, Marshmallow OG #9, OG Sin, Oui Oui, PAY, Passionfruit, Platinum Kush Breath, SNI, SNX, Slurricane, Tangidos, Watermelon Sorbet, Woosah, Yuk Mouth
Cannabicare
Apples & Bananas, Black Amber, Bubba Berry, Cherry Diesel, Georgia Pie, Miracle Alien Cookies, Platinum Kush Breath, Sugar Rush #2, Yuk Mouth
Cherry Peak
Bubba Berry, Cherry Diesel, Cherry Hills, Divine Kush Breath, Durban Kush #8, Marshmallow OG #9, Miracle Alien Cookies, OG Sin, Oui Oui, PAY, Passionfruit, Platinum Kush Breath, SNI, SNX, Sherb Crasher, Slurricane, Sugar Rush #2, Triangle OG, Watermelon Sorbet, Woosah, Yuk Mouth
Colorado Harvest Company
Cherry Diesel, Durban Kush #8, Georgia Pie, LCS, Marshmallow OG #9, PAY, Passionfruit, Platinum Kush Breath, SNI, SNX, Slurricane, Sour Rado, Watermelon Sorbet, Woosah, Yuk Mouth
Dark Matter
Cherry Hills, Durban Kush #8, KPF, SNX, Sueno, Veritas Cookies
Denver Kush Club
Oui Oui, SNX, Sour Rado
Euflora
Divine Kush Breath, Passionfruit, Watermelon Sorbet
Green Dragon
A-Bay Bay, Black Amber, Bordeaux #5, Cookies N Cream, Durban Kush #8, Fubar, Georgia Pie, Grape Gasoline S1, LCS, Miracle Alien Cookies, SNI, Sherb Crasher, Slurricane, Sour Rado, Sugar Rush #2, Tart Pops #4, Woosah
Green World
Cherry Hills, Marshmallow OG #9, PAY, Woosah
High Class
Sueno, Veritas Cookies
High Octane
Grape Gasoline S1, OG Sin, SNX, Woosah, Yuk Mouth
Karmaceuticals
Durban Kush #8, PAY, Passionfruit, SNI, Watermelon Sorbet
LivWell- Broadway
Apples & Bananas, Bananaghani, Blueberry Lemonade, Bubba Berry, Circus Act, Durban Kush #8, Malibu Mirage, Marmot OG, Medellin, Melonade #8, Muffinz Breath #1, Oui Oui, Sour Apple, Strawberries N Cream, Turnt
LivWell- Broomfield
Malibu Mirage, Mating Call, Medellin, Melonade #8, Oui Oui, Sour Apple, Tangidos, Triangle OG
LivWell- Buckley
A-Bay Bay, Blueberry Lemonade, Bubba Berry, Cherry Punch, Forza Sans Souci #4, Glitter Bomb, Grape Gasoline S1, Malibu Mirage, Mating Call, Medellin, Melonade #8, Miracle Alien Cookies, Muffinz Breath #1, OG Sin, Oui Oui, Platinum Kush Breath, Sour Apple, Strawberries N Cream, Sueno, Tangidos, Toxic Boo, Triangle OG, Yuk Mouth
LivWell- Central Park
Bubba Berry, Durban Kush #8, Malibu Mirage, Medellin, Melonade #8, OG Sin, Sour Apple, Tangidos, Tart Pops #4, Woosah
LivWell- Colfax/City Park
Blueberry Lemonade, Bubba Berry, Medellin, Strawberries N Cream, Sueno, Turnt
LivWell- Colorado Blvd
Bubba Berry, Mating Call, Medellin, Melonade #8, Strawberries N Cream, Street Urchin, Tangidos, Tart Pops #4
LivWell- Commerce City
Apples & Bananas, Bubba Berry, Glitter Bomb, Malibu Mirage, Mating Call, Medellin, Melonade #8, Strawberries N Cream, Street Urchin
LivWell- Cortez
Apples & Bananas, Bubba Berry, Cherry Diesel, Glitter Bomb, Grape Gasoline S1, Mating Call, Medellin, Melonade #8, Muffinz Breath #1, Oui Oui, Shock Tart, Strawberries N Cream, Street Urchin, Toxic Boo, Triangle OG, Turnt, Yuk Mouth
LivWell- Evans
Blueberry Lemonade, Bubba Berry, Glitter Bomb, Malibu Mirage, Mating Call, Medellin, Melonade #8, Muffinz Breath #1, Oui Oui, Sour Apple, Sueno, Tangidos, Toxic Boo, Triangle OG, Turnt
LivWell- Federal Heights
Apples & Bananas, Bananaghani, Bubba Berry, Fubar, Glitter Bomb, Malibu Mirage, Medellin, Melonade #8, Oui Oui, Shock Tart, Sour Apple, Strawberries N Cream, Tangidos, Toxic Boo, Triangle OG, Yuk Mouth
LivWell- Ft Collins
A-Bay Bay, Apples & Bananas, Bananaghani, Blueberry Lemonade, Bubba Berry, Cherry Punch, Durban Kush #8, Electric Lemonade, Forza Sans Souci #4, Fubar, Glitter Bomb, Grape Gasoline S1, Malibu Mirage, Marmot OG, Mating Call, Medellin, Melonade #8, Muffinz Breath #1, OG Sin, Oui Oui, Pancakes, Platinum Kush Breath, Sherb Crasher, Sour Apple, Sour Rado, Strawberries N Cream, Sueno, Sunset Drive, Tangidos, Tart Pops #4, Toxic Boo, Triangle OG, Turnt, UNI, Woosah, Yuk Mouth
LivWell- Garden City
A-Bay Bay, Apples & Bananas, Bananaghani, Blueberry Lemonade, Bubba Berry, Cherry Diesel, Cherry Punch, Circus Act, Durban Kush #8, Electric Lemonade, Fubar, Glitter Bomb, Grape Gasoline S1, Malibu Mirage, Marmot OG, Mating Call, Medellin, Melonade #8, Muffinz Breath #1, OG Sin, Oui Oui, Pancakes, Platinum Kush Breath, Sherb Crasher, Sour Apple, Sour Diesel, Sour Rado, Strawberries N Cream, Street Urchin, Sueno, Sunset Drive, Tangidos, Tart Pops #4, Toxic Boo, Triangle OG, Turnt, UNI, Veritas Cookies, Woosah, Yuk Mouth
LivWell- Highlands
Cherry Punch, Durban Kush #8, Malibu Mirage, Medellin, Melonade #8, Shock Tart, Tangidos
LivWell- Lakewood
Bananaghani, Bubba Berry, Fubar, Malibu Mirage, Medellin, Muffinz Breath #1, Oui Oui, Tangidos, Turnt
LivWell- Log Lane
Apples & Bananas, Blueberry Lemonade, Bubba Berry, Fubar, Glitter Bomb, Malibu Mirage, Mating Call, Medellin, Melonade #8, Miracle Alien Cookies, Sour Apple, Strawberries N Cream, Tangidos, Triangle OG
LivWell- Mancos
Bananaghani, Bubba Berry, Cherry Punch, Medellin, Melonade #8, Muffinz Breath #1, Sour Apple, Strawberries N Cream, Street Urchin
LivWell- N 2nd St Berthoud
A-Bay Bay, Apples & Bananas, Bananaghani, Blueberry Lemonade, Bubba Berry, Cherry Punch, Circus Act, Durban Kush #8, Electric Lemonade, Fubar, Glitter Bomb, Grape Gasoline S1, Malibu Mirage, Marmot OG, Mating Call, Medellin, Melonade #8, Miracle Alien Cookies, Muffinz Breath #1, OG Sin, Oui Oui, Platinum Kush Breath, Sherb Crasher, Sour Apple, Sour Rado, Strawberries N Cream, Sueno, Sunset Drive, Tangidos, Triangle OG, Turnt, Veritas Cookies, Yuk Mouth
LivWell- N Pueblo
A-Bay Bay, Apples & Bananas, Bananaghani, Blueberry Lemonade, Bubba Berry, Cherry Punch, Durban Kush #8, Glitter Bomb, Mating Call, Medellin, Melonade #8, Miracle Alien Cookies, Muffinz Breath #1, Oui Oui, Sour Apple, Strawberries N Cream, Toxic Boo, Turnt, Yuk Mouth
LivWell- Park Hill
Cherry Punch, Marmot OG, Medellin, Melonade #8, Oui Oui
LivWell- Peoria St
A-Bay Bay, Apples & Bananas, Bananaghani, Blueberry Lemonade, Bubba Berry, Fubar, Glitter Bomb, Malibu Mirage, Medellin, Melonade #8, Miracle Alien Cookies, Muffinz Breath #1, Oui Oui, Sour Apple, Strawberries N Cream, Sueno, Triangle OG, Turnt, Veritas Cookies
LivWell- S Pueblo
Apples & Bananas, Blueberry Lemonade, Bubba Berry, Georgia Pie, Grape Gasoline S1, Malibu Mirage, Mating Call, Medellin, Melonade #8, Muffinz Breath #1, OG Sin, Toxic Boo, Triangle OG, Turnt
LivWell- Tower Rd
Apples & Bananas, Blueberry Lemonade, Bubba Berry, Georgia Pie, Malibu Mirage, Mating Call, Medellin, Melonade #8, Muffinz Breath #1, Oui Oui, Strawberries N Cream, Tangidos, Triangle OG, Turnt
LivWell- Trinidad
Apples & Bananas, Bubba Berry, Cherry Punch, Durban Kush #8, Malibu Mirage, Medellin, Melonade #8, Miracle Alien Cookies, Oui Oui, Sour Apple, Tangidos
LivWell- Uptown
A-Bay Bay, Blueberry Lemonade, Bubba Berry, Cherry Punch, Glitter Bomb, Medellin, Melonade #8, Muffinz Breath #1, Oui Oui, Strawberries N Cream, Turnt, Woosah
LivWell-RiNo
A-Bay Bay, Apples & Bananas, Bananaghani, Blueberry Lemonade, Bubba Berry, Cherry Punch, Durban Kush #8, Electric Lemonade, Forza Sans Souci #4, Fubar, Glitter Bomb, Grape Gasoline S1, Malibu Mirage, Marmot OG, Mating Call, Melonade #8, Miracle Alien Cookies, Muffinz Breath #1, OG Sin, Oui Oui, Sour Apple, Sour Rado, Strawberries N Cream, Sueno, Sunset Drive, Tangidos, Toxic Boo, Turnt, UNI, Veritas Cookies, Yuk Mouth
Livgreen
Black Amber, Bubba Berry, Cherry Diesel, Cookies N Cream, Durban Kush #8, Georgia Pie, KPF, LCS, Marshmallow OG #9, Miracle Alien Cookies, Oui Oui, PAY, Platinum Kush Breath, SNI, SNX, Sherb Crasher, Slurricane, Sour Rado, Sugar Rush #2, Tart Pops #4, Triangle OG, Woosah, Yuk Mouth
Lucky Monkey Buds
Cherry Diesel, PAY, Platinum Kush Breath, Yuk Mouth
Magnolia Rd
Bubba Berry, Durban Kush #8, Grape Gasoline S1, LCS, Marshmallow OG #9, SNI, Sherb Crasher, Triangle OG, Woosah
Magnolia Road
A-Bay Bay, Apples & Bananas, Bordeaux #5, Bubba Berry, Cherry Diesel, Cookies N Cream, Divine Kush Breath, Durban Kush #8, Fubar, Glitter Bomb, Grape Gasoline S1, LCS, Marshmallow OG #9, OG Sin, Oui Oui, PAY, Platinum Kush Breath, SNI, Sherb Crasher, Shock Tart, Sour Rado, Street Urchin, Tart Pops #4, Triangle OG, Woosah, Yuk Mouth
Makena
Durban Kush #8, LCS, PAY, SNI, Slurricane, Sour Rado, Street Urchin
Medicine Man
Durban Kush #8, Forza Sans Souci #4, PAY, Peach Kush #2, Platinum Kush Breath, SNI, Shock Tart, Tart Pops #4, Woosah, Yuk Mouth
Mellow Harvest
Durban Kush #8, KPF, SNX, Sueno, Veritas Cookies
Native Roots
A-Bay Bay, Apples & Bananas, Black Amber, Bubba Berry, Cherry Diesel, Cherry Hills, Divine Kush Breath, Durban Kush #8, Georgia Pie, Glitter Bomb, Marshmallow OG #9, Miracle Alien Cookies, Muffinz Breath #1, OG Sin, OZ Kush, Oui Oui, PAY, Passionfruit, Platinum Kush Breath, SNI, Strawberries N Cream, Sugar Rush #2, Yuk Mouth
Police and Thieves
Durban Kush #8, LCS, SNI, Sherb Crasher, Triangle OG
RoadRunner
KPF, SNX, Veritas Cookies
Rocky Mountain Blaze
Black Amber, Cherry Diesel, Georgia Pie, Miracle Alien Cookies, Oui Oui, Platinum Kush Breath, Sugar Rush #2, Yuk Mouth
Rocky Mountain Cannasol
A-Bay Bay, Blueberry Lemonade, Glitter Bomb, Grape Gasoline S1, Medellin, Tart Pops #4
Rocky Road Remedies
Black Amber, Cherry Diesel, Cherry Hills, Cookies N Cream, Durban Kush #8, Glitter Bomb, Marshmallow OG #9, Miracle Alien Cookies, Peach Kush #2, Platinum Kush Breath, SNI, SNX, Slurricane, Sour Apple, Sugar Rush #2, Tart Pops #4, Turnt
Roots RX
Muffinz Breath #1, Platinum Kush Breath, SNX, Yuk Mouth
Roots Rx
A-Bay Bay, Fubar, Grape Gasoline S1, LCS, Peach Kush #2, Platinum Kush Breath, Sherb Crasher, Tart Pops #4
Simply Pure
Durban Kush #8, PAY, SNI
Skunked
OG Sin, Oui Oui, Peach Crescendo #2, Platinum Kush Breath, SNX
Solace Meds
Blueberry Lemonade, Divine Kush Breath, KPF, Passionfruit, SNI, SNX, Slurricane, Watermelon Sorbet
Spark Dispensary
Divine Kush Breath, Durban Kush #8, Marshmallow OG #9, PAY, SNI, SNX, Slurricane, Watermelon Sorbet
Standing Akimbo
Apples & Bananas, Cherry Hills, Durban Kush #8, Marshmallow OG #9, Muffinz Breath #1, OZ Kush, PAY, SNI, Sudz, WOF, Wedding Crasher
THE GREEN SOLUTION LLC
Sherb Crasher, Sour Diesel, Sour Rado
The 404 Dispensary
A-Bay Bay, Cookies N Cream, Fubar, Grape Gasoline S1, OG Sin, Oui Oui, SNI, Sour Rado, Woosah, Yuk Mouth

January 10, 2017

10 Questions With Mike Leibowitz & Toby Ripsom

Written by:  Kyle Brown

Photos: Brian Kraft

Before they built their brand, both Mike Leibowitz (pictured, right) and Toby Ripsom (left) had already been involved in the Colorado cannabis market for several years. Leibowitz, co-lead master grower for Veritas Fine Cannabis, had signed his first lease for a commercial cultivation facility in 2009.

Ripsom, corporate partner for Veritas, started investing in the cannabis market in memory of his father, who he lost to colon cancer shortly after 2012. Ripsom says he saw “a beautiful side” to how cannabis eased his father’s final year, drawing him in to the legal cannabis market and funding his first investment with life insurance monies.

Leibowitz and Ripsom became friends, and when Colorado legalized adult-use marijuana in 2012, they sensed an opportunity to team up on a new project. They developed the idea for an independent cultivation facility, not tied to a specific dispensary, nor white-labeling their product.

With their license, secured in 2014, they created the Veritas Fine Cannabis brand, now available throughout the state. Cannabis Business Times’ Managing Editor Kyle Brown talked with Leibowitz and Ripsom about building the brand and getting their product in front of consumers.

Kyle Brown: Tell me about your grow.

Mike Leibowitz: We have a 24,000- square-foot facility. Most larger facilities, the way they’ll design their rooms will be much larger. In a 24,000-square-foot facility, they might only have two flowering rooms. We believe we can ascertain the best quality by … having much smaller rooms. We wanted to emulate [the small home grow] in a larger facility. We built 16 rooms. ... [They’re] all very small rooms that we can harvest, thoroughly clean at the same time and be able to replicate the best quality every single harvest by bringing the small-batch theory of growing into a larger facility.

[The rooms are] roughly 600 to 700 square feet each. We put anywhere from 20 to 30 flowering lights in each room. You’re looking at about 100 plants in each room. Nothing too crazy. We believe we can get more from less.

Toby Ripsom (left) and Mike Leibowitz (right) each bring their own expertise to the Veritas brand: Ripsom covers the business side, and Leibowitz handles growing. Giving consumers the chance to get to know the grower was important for the team, so Leibowitz hosts regular meet-and-greet events at local dispensaries.

Brown: How does your team work together to handle the entire operation, from cultivation through business?

Toby Ripsom: As you can imagine, it’s a multi-pronged operation. I oversee the finance and the corporate machinations. Mike and Conor [Scanlon] oversee the product and the cultivation side. And we team up together in the middle there.

Leibowitz: I think we all know what we’re good at, and that’s a big thing in a successful partnership. Just trust people and let them do what they do best.

Me and Conor don’t have a lot of interest, necessarily, in some of the financial and administrative ends of the business, and likewise, Toby and his team — it’s not that they don’t have interest, but they really trust us, because the end result is speaking for itself in the success we’ve had. We have our geeks on one end and our geeks on the other. We all meet once a week and go over everything, and we’re all on the same page.

Brown: How did you know Veritas was ready to start building a brand?

Ripsom: We knew, through the evolution of other industries, that we had something special on our hands. With a proprietary growing process, we could become the industry standard of branding that high-quality cannabis that nobody was going near yet. [Business-owners] were branding their storefronts, and they were moving [white-label] product alongside ours that we felt was different.

And we knew that we had customers that were loyal to storefronts because of our product, and we knew we could separate the two and bring a consistency across the state to the many other places that didn’t have our product.

Leibowitz: We really want to put the power of choice in the customer’s hand. That, to us, is the most distinguishing thing about branding. As you’re aware, you could buy Sour Diesel from 100 different dispensers. But it’s not always going to be the same experience from a consumer standpoint.

The way we grow Sour Diesel, and our specific genetics of it, you’re going to get that consistency within our product. It’s going to smell the same, taste the same, look the same, every single time. We realized that if we could put a brand and a name behind it, the customer would know that that’s reliable. They’re going to get what they experienced before and liked, and hopefully … keep wanting to buy more.

We replicate our product to look the same every time, or we’ll toss it into the trim pile. It’ll go to concentrate if we’re not satisfied with it.

I told you we were geeks before. [We have] a lot of passion and a lot of love for the plant. We’ve spent so many hours understanding it, watching every hour of a 65-day plant cycle to perfect the changes ... from its vegetative state, to its flowering state, to its trimming and curing state.

We strive for our own selves to always grow the best, to ... get better yields and to get better quality by making micro changes. ... And for us, because we’re so passionate about it, because we’re constantly challenging ourselves, we consistently are able to produce a top-of-the-line product.

Brown: Why was branding important for you as a company?

Ripsom: We’re able to link the customer to the product, because that’s the relationship that matters at the end of the day. The end user is paramount to everything else.

Leibowitz: The first people to market with brands were not as concerned, I would say, honestly, with just the quality of the product. … We stood behind the quality of what we were doing and came up with a Latin name that means “truth” to sell our product because … the product speaks for itself.

RIPSOM: It’s that differentiation point that makes you not a commodity, and delivering that consistent [product]. That you’re really something different, something special, and that is what you stick to.

Brown: How does this change the market for you?

Ripsom: We operate in the entire state of Colorado, and we are working on expansion into four other states right now, and open to partnering in future markets. Our world is getting larger.

We see that as the market evolves, taste and tolerance are really hockey-sticking upwards for the customer. … There’s knowledge that’s getting attached to the industry, and greater usage is helping the normalization of the business and increasing it, the same way the craft beer industry changed the alcohol world in the late ’80s and early ’90s.

Leibowitz: In Colorado, we’ve had a market now for seven years. The client is becoming more discerning. They are caring more about quality. In the beginning, people were just so enamored with buying pot it didn’t really matter what it was.

That’s changed. People are recognizing even now that they can get an eighth of Veritas, and that will last longer and fulfill … the highness, the taste, everything they want from it. As that becomes more prevalent and people understand and know what better quality looks like, it’s really starting to shape the entire market.

Brown: Part of your team described Veritas to me as “the Sam Adams of the marijuana market.” What does that mean to you?

Ripsom: We’re very proud to be a small-batch, but mainstream producer with a really keen eye on luxury. It’s a luxury product to the typical executive or upper-middle-class customer, but it’s also a trade-up product to somebody who wants a special experience on a weekend. It’s maybe not their go-to, everyday offering.

Leibowitz: The market itself has a variety of needs. We’re well-positioned to satisfy the discriminating taste of the customer who cares, almost like Whole Foods vs. Walmart or Budweiser vs. Sam Adams. We shop at them both and drink them both, but they each have their own time and place, right?

Once they had chosen the name, the Veritas team looked to other vice industries such as the alcohol and casino markets to find a more “cosmopolitan” look that evoked “a sophisticated, everyday luxury product,” according to Toby Ripsom, corporate partner for Veritas.

Brown: What were your first steps to creating your brand?

Ripsom: You need product identity and consistency. We put the right team in place to handle the marketing, branding and packaging, and integrated it with how we felt about the image of the business: What we wanted to portray to the outer world, and what we thought served the plant best to our customers.

We went outside the industry for the message because we do think this is a mainstream, normalized product now. We wanted to be a little different. We wanted to be more cosmopolitan … for lack of a better term.

We leaned on almost every aspect of the vice markets, whether it be night clubs, alcohol, casinos, that sort of product. We [looked at] the evolution of industries that were once illegal that rose up into mainstream America and have been profitable and world-class ever since, and a valid, major part of American society.

Brown: When you were going through names and logos, when did you know you had the right one?

Ripsom: When we got to 300 names?

Leibowitz: Yeah. [laughs] We wanted it to look sharp, to look like what we were going for: high-end, luxury.

Ripsom: It’s a sophisticated, everyday luxury product that we thought of like a Mercedes or and Audi.

Brown: How did you choose which strains you were focusing on?

Leibowitz: That comes with the experience of certain strains, continuing to challenge our grow staff with a “new hotness” … or just what comes around.

We’ve got a lot of smart people on our staff that do some in-house breeding. We’ve mixed some different flavors over the years. But really, … the hard part isn’t trying to find the strains. It’s trying to reduce them to a manageable number.

As a brand, you don’t want to have too many products. … Our genetic library is probably over 50 proprietary strains. These guys tell me to focus on 10. I like all 50. So, it’s really hard for me to make those choices. We want to have a consistent offering of our top sellers, as well as flavor profiles that are new to the market.

Take Girl Scout Cookies, for example. That was very popular a few years ago, and really had a big intro to the market. Since then, we have worked on about three different strains in our portfolio that are a cross of Girl Scout Cookies that add a certain hype. When they get introduced, ... [the strains] just have a beautiful look, smell and a taste everybody craves.

We have certain strains, like our Sueño or our Headband Kush that are kind of our staple strains that we’ve been growing for such a long time. They’re such popular strains, and we’ll never stop, at least in the short term, growing them.

But like I said, this is a business where we are really challenging ourselves. So, like a craft beer might produce a fall lager, we’ll always keep it fresh and probably have anywhere from three to four new strain offerings a year that we … deem admissible to the market.

Veritas Fine Cannabis has more than 50 proprietary strains, but Mike Leibowitz, co-lead master grower, focuses on about 10 at a time, he says. Some strains, like the top-selling Sueño, will always be in their grow.

Brown: How have you gotten dispensaries to work with you on such a large scale?

Ripsom: We have a wonderful sales staff, and a great product that sells itself, most of the time. However, it’s the dispensary’s job to open the door and put us on the shelf, and it’s our job to get the customers in there buying our product and everyone else’s.

We’ve brought a bit of the vice industry management route. We looked at liquor sales strategies that have worked time and again in almost every market. In the beginning, we did make a lot of sales just from word-of-mouth. But it’s kind of hand-to-hand combat … going into other dispensaries, giving them all kinds of sales support. [They’re doing] everything in their power to move our product faster. The effort on our end is to make it as easy for them as possible. As we like to say, the most expensive pound you’re going to buy is the one that doesn’t move. So it doesn’t matter what it costs. As long as it doesn’t sit on that shelf, everyone’s happy.

We do some meet-and-greet events, where we have Mike and Conor and some of our extended team go to dispensaries. We’ve had quite the turnout. It helps build social media presence, too.

Leibowitz: We hang out at a busy time at the dispensary, on a Friday afternoon or something ... when there will be a lot of people coming in. The reaction we get is often incredible. People come in and say, “Wow, you’re Veritas. We love your Sueño. I drive all the way from over here to come buy it, and it’s phenomenal. How do you do that?”

People pick our brain, we get to meet them, and it’s cool. It’s neat to get a little appreciation for our work sometimes, because a lot of us have been in the shadows — or actually, the artificial light — of a grow room for a long time.

Ripsom: We loved the aspect of putting a face to the brand, and kind of a story. It makes it more a social experience. ... It’s a culture and a lifestyle, and we’re very interactive with our people. We go all out socially and love to keep in touch with all the customers and grow the market.

Leibowitz: When you build a brand, you have to connect with your customers. The best way to interact with them is to know what they like.

How are we really going to know what they love, what makes them say, “Grow more of that. That one is good.” We feel it’s just the best way to continue to improve ourselves. As great as we are, obviously, everyone can always get better. And that interaction allows us to do that.

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