Ben Kaplan: Your awards were chosen by Canada's budtenders from around the country. What does that mean to you and what role do the budtenders play in our industry?
Bernard Yeung: It’s a great honour to be recognized by budtenders across the country! Wow! We’re grateful to have their support across the full brand portfolio. Budtenders play a critical role in curating the retail experience for Canadians. They’re the ones interacting with consumers every day, providing education on products. This is really meaningful to us. We understand the value budtenders bring and we often use their feedback to help drive innovation—they’re the boots on the ground after all. Budtenders play an instrumental role in propelling the industry forward through their education and contributions to innovation.
BK: We've seen the Cannabis Act pass and we've seen Cannabis 2.0 products introduced in our legal marketplace. What's new on your horizon for 2021?
BY: As one of the leading licensed producers, we continue to expand our product offerings across our adult-use brands. We are excited to maintain the number one adult-use market share position in both Alberta and Ontario, but are driven to keep growing. We recently announced the expansion of our 510 Vape offering across our award-winning portfolio.
In November, Solei celebrated its limited release of the new Gather Frosty Mint 510 Vape, our first ever seasonal offer in cannabis. Gather Frosty Mint is a unique twist on the popular Gather 510 vape, with notes of mint and vanilla, and one of my personal favourites! As we look to 2021, we have a strong pipeline of innovation to look forward to. Nothing we can share just yet, so you’ll have to stay tuned.
In addition, earlier this year RIFF launched its own 510 vapes. What’s so unique about these vapes is the duo strain collaboration and cannabis derived terpenes, which provide a true to flower experience. Each duo strain is thoughtfully formulated by our R&D team to create only the best combination of terpenes that work together as one. We’re excited about the future for RIFF, including the national launch of 1g-format vapes over the coming months.
For the first time, Broken Coast is introducing 510 vapes to its product offering, which will be available starting December 2020 nationally (except for Quebec) with the Stargazer, Headstash and Frost Monster strains. I’m excited about Broken Coast's proprietary extraction process, which preserves the terpenes from each strain and reintroduces them back into high-quality THC extract. We think consumers will love Broken Coast’s 510 vapes!
BK: The legal industry was originally faced with complaints about quality, but clearly informed voters are resonating with Aphria. How do you maintain quality as a brand?
BY:Quality is at the core of everything we do here at Aphria. If you don’t have a high-quality product, then you don’t really have a business—it’s as simple as that. We also know that it’s critical as a licensed producer to ensure the health and safety of our patients and consumers, while providing premium products.
BK: Lastly, 2020 was obviously hard on lots of us, in and out of the cannabis community. What's one random act of kindness that restores your faith in humanity both for this holiday and for the year to come? Who, or what, makes you feel good?
BY: Throughout everything that’s happened in 2020, we’ve seen cannabis retailers put their community members first. From fundraising initiatives in support of the city’s most vulnerable, to digital drag shows to support those impacted by the cancelation of Pride Toronto. We’ve seen countless acts of kindness from retailers and budtenders. Despite everything that’s been going on, the industry hasn’t lost sight of its community.
BK: Let’s now drill down on some of your brands. Good Supply won a complete sweep across every cartridge category. What does that mean to you? And: Wow!
BY: Wow is right! It means a lot and proves that our commitment to consumer insights are paying off. We quickly learned that consumers love our take on cannabis aromas (with a twist) and we’ve doubled-down on that approach with Good Supply. We are building a brand that is known for its high potency and high-quality product.
The fact that we swept the cartridge category tells us we’re doing something right with our vapes. Good Supply’s 510 vapes are all high potency at 80% THC and known for cannabis-inspired formulations. We also stand out with our distinct flavour profiles and cannabis-inspired plant-based terpenes, which consumers have come to expect.
We’ve been Canada’s number one vape brand since June of this year according to Headset Canadian Insights and continue to expand our lineup. In the coming months, we’ll be extending our best-selling Pineapple Express and Purple Monkey cartridges into the 1g vape format.
BK: Solei took CBD Brand of the Year, one of the most competitive categories on the market.
BY:At Solei, we know that shopping for cannabis can be overwhelming at times – there are so many categories, brands and products. In that environment, consumers usually look for a brand that resonates with them and one they can trust to have great products. That is where Solei comes in!
With Solei we take a simplified approach when it comes to helping consumers through their cannabis experience. We leverage our curated Moments platform to help people navigate our high-quality products based on their own needs. When you put consumers first and see things through their eyes, it becomes much simpler to create a brand that means something to them.
BK: Broken Coast has been known for their quality cannabis. That the budtenders are responding, what does that mean?
BY:Broken Coast has always stayed rooted in their purpose: grow the best quality BC bud and never compromise on that mission. We believe that the quality our budtenders and consumers have grown to love is due to the team’s attention to detail when it comes to their strains. They recognize the care and consistency that goes into every plant, and for that we are grateful. It’s Broken Coast’s dedication to small batch lots grown in strain-specific rooms that help the brand stand out. Knowing that budtenders respect what Broken Coast is doing is really important to us.
BK: Few brands really earn the respect of Broken Coast.
BY: Quality is at the heart of the Broken Coast DNA, and we feel that’s been key to the brand’s success since the very beginning. They are consumers themselves and won’t send anything out the door that doesn’t meet their own high standards. Broken Coast continues to be dedicated to breeding and cultivating the highest-grade cannabis, which they’re proud to grow on the island in BC. They’ve remained true to their brand roots, and we think that resonates with budtenders and consumers on a national level.
BK: What's next—what's new in 2021? What has Broken Coast stoked?
BY: There is a lot of exciting innovation coming that Broken Coast consumers can look forward to! Currently, they’re in the middle of shipping out their new proprietary strain, Pipe Dream, which is hitting shelves in early December. This is an entirely new genetic strain developed by head grower, Kevin Anderson and the team. We’re thrilled to see what consumers will think of this new strain; it packs a punch!
Broken Coast is also looking outside flower for the first time, expanding into Cannabis 2.0 products. We think Canadians (and budtenders!) will be excited to hear that Broken Coast is introducing their own high-quality 510 distillate vapes. Broken Coast approaches everything with quality and doesn't jump to do something because it’s new or trendy. They’ve really taken time to perfect these vapes, which will give a true-to-bud flower profile, thanks to their extraction process. As I mentioned earlier, we will be introducing Broken Coast 510 vapes nationally (except from Quebec) in December with our Stargazer, Headstash and Frost Monster strains.
We know our fans love to discover new strains and products, so 2021 will be a big year for Broken Coast—stay tuned!
BK: Lastly, lord man, you took a lot of wins this year. What are you going to smoke to celebrate all of this glory?
BY: That’s a tough one! My go-to at times like these would usually be to spark up a joint of Broken Coast’s Ruxton or Galiano. I know what I love, and both of those strains are high on my list. With that being said, I’m really stoked on Broken Coast's latest creation: Pipe Dream! I think that those thick, dark clouds might be the perfect way to celebrate such an exciting moment.
We certainly have lots to celebrate this year and are thankful for all of the support!
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