Clever Root Winter 2018

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8 0 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t Collbortion, Evolution, nd Disruption t CRAFT 1861 Of all the amazing, passionate people I was fortunate enough to meet at the Emerald Exchange, I quickly real- ized that Eric Lujan, Founder of CRAFT 1861, had more zeal in his left pinkie finger than all of them combined. Lujan drew motivation from several sources when he first established his cold-pressed extracted cannabis oil company, but perhaps the greatest driver was Lujan's own family history. "If my family in rural New Mexico with their small piece of land growing fruits and vegetables had had an opportunity to grow organic sungrown cannabis, that income would have been revolutionary and would have impacted generations," Lujan said. "We have to protect farmers, especially because of where this industry is headed. If somebody doesn't lock down a supply chain with the benefit of the farmer in mind, the mom-and-pop farmer will become extinct. And what this means from a quality standpoint is imagine if all the heirloom sungrown tomatoes were wiped out and all we had were conventional Walmart, GMO, mass-produced flavorless, cookie-cutter tomatoes. At the end of the day, you have to respect the legacy and the heritage of the small artisanal family farmer for the benefit of all of us." In addition to Lujan's respect for the farming community, the impetus for CRAFT can be attributed to his analytical expertise and background in technology. Once he and his investors recognized the potential in the farmers of Calaveras County—the area associated with the brand's namesake where gold was discovered in 1861—as well as how to optimize the farmer's role through extensive research, they developed a cannabis product to fill a surprisingly large void on the market for the modern cannabis consumer. According to Lujan, that demographic is "very similar to someone who enjoys food and wine—the Whole Foods demographic." "Cannabis right now is marketed to the young male 'stoner,' yet almost all of California is the new cannabis consumer. They're the 'canna-curious,'" Lujan said. "They don't want to get 'messed up'; they want to use cannabis to help with their pain, help connect with their loved ones, to sleep, to relax, to use as an active, healthy lifestyle choice that removes pharmaceuticals from the equation." To bridge this gap in the market for the upscale, canna-curious aficionado, Lujan and his team needed to develop a product that, one, would eliminate having to experiment with hundreds of strains for a desired effect; two, would be user friendly; and three, would respect the core ingredient—sungrown cannabis. The result? A cold-pressed extracted vape line based on five different moods. "What you have is the full flavor of the sungrown artisanal plant from our farms in a convenient, easy-to-use vape pen that gives you a con- sistent dose and the smoothest pull of any cannabis product on the market," said Lujan, his eyes gleaming with pride. The benefits of the cold-press extraction method are vast—it's environmentally safe and solvent-free, for starters—but suffice it to say the oil contains all the original cannabinoids and terpenes originally found in the freshly-frozen cannabis, thanks to a process that recognizes and respects the efforts of the farmer. One might even say it honors the legacy of the resilient people of Calaveras County. PHOTO COURTESY OF CRAFT 1861 The CRAFT 1861 line of cold-pressed sungrown cannabis oil. TASTING NOTES As a sommelier, I'm happy to dis- cover there is absolutely the same potential for subtlety in cannabis as there is in wine. This notion becomes quite apparent in CRAFT 1861's cold-pressed oils. Although I've quite enjoyed all five of their "moods," here are my tasting notes for RELAX. CRAFT 1861 RELAX Lemon rind, fresh daisy, and purple beet up front. Overall, soft and earthy, like traipsing through powdery red dirt and yellow flowers. Its effect on me personally is a floating sensa- tion that could easily help me drift off to sleep. —Jessie Birschbach, Senior Wine Editor

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