The future is bright for Humboldt Terp Council (HTC) as they join the CannaCraft family of brands to position themselves for the future of the cannabis industry.
The Arcata-based top-of-the-mountain concentrate company will continue to manufacture its product in the heart of The Emerald Triangle where they have access to some of the best material in the world for making hash at their fingertips. The biggest change will be integrating their distribution operations with CannaCraft’s Kind House Distribution Company and its access to over 400 dispensaries in California.
Few companies can venture to compete with the pedigree Humboldt Terp Council has built since the market went legal in 2018. Sure, they were already a big name at the tail end of the medical era, but what they’ve been able to accomplish in the years since is what set them apart.
In addition to just existing as a BHO manufacturer, one of the most tightly regulated spaces in all of cannabis, they’ve also won The Emerald Cup twice since it went legal and came in second last year.
CannaCraft is hyped to get their hands on this gem of a company that had bootstrapped it up to this point. But even for the world champs, just existing in cannabis is expensive and CannaCraft gives them a mechanism to take things up a notch.
“Humboldt Terp Council has an excellent reputation in the industry and their legendary products have a dedicated following that we believe we can help expand on,” said CannaCraft Chief Executive Office Jim Hourigan. “Combining Humboldt Terp Council’s expertise in formulation with CannaCraft’s large-scale manufacturing capabilities and distribution footprint will generate greater reach of their popular product lineup throughout California and adds another boutique brand in fast growing categories to CannaCraft’s line-up.”
Robert Gale, HTC’s founder, chatted with us about what the big move means for the company going forward. He immediately dove in, giving us a video tour of the facility and grabbing a jar.
“This is what I’m really excited about. This has been my dream since we started this business. We have solventless and butane live resin from the same farm, the same batch, hitting the shelves,” Gale told L.A. Weekly. “That’s how people can have an honest comparison of what’s better. And now you can try, so we’re gonna have these Rainbow Belts in BHO and solventless. We’ve got Strawberry Jelly in BHO and solventless, and we’ve got Wedding Cake.”
Gale also noted he expected the Rainbow Belts to be competitive at The Emerald Cup this year.
We asked Gale how much of the decision to team up with CannaCraft was just about scaling up? They’d already made it this far on their own.
“Well, you know, it’s funny to me. That’s such a great question. We have kind of kept our Ferrari on idle,” he replied. Gale said they figured out quickly that overproducing what they couldn’t sell, or trying to sell bulk, wasn’t a good path.
“We’ve been perfecting our craft and dialing in farms, and kind of keeping our machine on idle almost,” Gale said. “The fantastic thing about CannaCraft is we’ve been ready to scale up with the same quality. The way that they’re given our brand attention and really treating it like their family of brands, it’s really starting to take off.”
Gale said the offer CannaCraft put before HTC to close the deal represented their chance to keep up quality and naturally increased production to go with the increase in their reach around the state. “So it’s really fit with our incremental stuff. Man, it’s hard to maintain the highest quality,” Gale said. And he’s not kidding.
One of the perils of the transfer to the recreational marker is that it didn’t go as well for everybody as it did HTC. Some of those that attempted to scale up to meet demand suffered a severe dip in quality. But that was never the case for HTC, hence the trophy shelf.
We asked Gale if he was excited to just maintain. The idea of reaching the top, coming back the next year. And who knows, if The Emerald Cup hadn’t been delayed, we may have been talking about a three-peat performance at this point.
“Listen, we know that money’s tight for everybody. And if you’re gonna shell out for a high-end product, we want every single person to be satisfied, you know? It really means the world to us,” Gale said, noting he didn’t want people to just feel like they got their money’s worth, but a wider experience. “The aroma, the high. We’re trying to provide that skeleton key to the entourage effect. And people start to find their favorites and gravitate towards it.”
Gale argues a big part of it is the relationships HTC established back in the day with people who simply loved the plant. But even with their trophy shelf, there is a lot of big money trying to get its hands on the fresh frozen harvests of Northern California. We asked Gale if it’s become harder to fight off that wave of corporate cash.
“It’s extremely competitive,” Gale replied. “There are other extractors out there that have seven or eight-figure investments and they’ve been buying out farm COD that we use to work with. We’ve had other extractors come in and try to take a farm right out from under us, because the resins are so good, by offering them COD and all this stuff.”
In addition to competition flashing giant piles of cash to get material, this year, much of the full-term crop was damaged by smoke. While it can be recovered through Color Remediation Columns, the end product will never be exotic. Not just as a result of the CRC tech, but the trauma the plants experienced during wildfire season. There was no sun for a week.
HTC lucked out. They put a lot of focus on getting their hands on the earliest light deprivation-grown harvests of the year in late spring but prices were still high.
“For farmers to come out with the top-shelf flower, we had to compete with the dry flower pricing,” Gale said. “And so we took a gamble and I think it’s gonna pay off because even though our margins got trimmed down this year, we still have just an absolutely world-class product without a bunch of smoke damage.”
We asked what the split is between the material they are using for solventless compared to BHO. “What we’re doing right now is if we get good material for solventless, we make solventless and if it’s one of those that doesn’t wash, we make BHO,” Gale said. “But as far as right now, we’re being dictated by the dearth of quality material.” Washing is slang for making ice water bubble hash to then press in a heat press into rosin. Yield is just as important as flavor and potency in this kind of setting.
In the end, Gale said HTC was just glad they found someone in CannaCraft that aligns with their mission of respecting the plant, farmer and tradition.