Delivering Delicious, Elevated Experiences Every Time With Nathan Johnson

Delivering Delicious, Elevated Experiences Every Time With Nathan Johnson

Nathan Johnson is the co-founder and CEO of Maison Bloom. With a background in strategy and operations,  Nathan works with the best and the brightest when it comes to innovation and creativity in the cannabis industry. The Maison Bloom team has worked together for over 12 years. 

Maison Bloom elevates the every day through perfectly dosed infused premium beverages and transforming wellness and recreation experiences. Maison Bloom operates through a commitment to high-quality plant-based ingredients combined with exceptional culinary creativity, always putting flavor and experience first.

During the podcast, Nathan talks about the new launch of the hemp arm of the business and the national expansion of Maison Bloom. Their continued growth and traction for their cannabis beverages in California and the onboarding of amazing talent help Maison Bloom become a household name.

 

Delivering Delicious, Elevated Experiences Every Time With Nathan Johnson

Eric Schneider

This is the Roots to Risk Podcast hosted by Eric Schneider, alongside Isaac Bach. Roots To Risk brings you insights, the latest stories, and long form discussions about the cannabis industry. You’ll hear interviews with industry leaders and their perspective on current and future trends, how they’ve built success and what challenges they have faced. Our goal is to facilitate candid conversations and provide informative content for the cannabis community at large. Let’s go. What’s going on, Isaac? How we doing today?

Isaac Bock

Doing good. B How are you doing?

Eric Schneider

I’m good. Israel Lacrosse hat. Let’s go.

Isaac Bock

Yeah. The, uh, the origins of the, the mining and your friendship and where Alfred technically star, even though we had no idea that we were gonna do this seven

Eric Schneider

Years ago, what would you have gone? You didn’t go if you didn’t go on that trip and meet me, you know?

Isaac Bock

Well, I, we’ve drunken a lot less gold stars in my life, that’s for sure. <laugh>.

Eric Schneider

Oh man. Let’s, uh, let’s kick this off. Awesome episode on deck. Uh, Nathan Johnson from Nissan Bloom. Um, Isaac, we’ve known them. You met, you met Jake first when we started, uh, the Founder Institute, right?

Isaac Bock

Yeah. So I met them when they were part of the same cohort, um, as Christine in the to 20, like Cannabis Founder Institute, um, program, and wild known Nate and Jake now for over like, almost three full years. And they’re, they’re two of my favorite people. Um, they’re just great, great guys.

Eric Schneider

Yeah, it’s gotta be pretty cool for you to see too, like where, where they started at that time and you were helping them with like their pitch deck, you know, to, to where we’re at today and, and launching in, in two states. And, um, a lot of exciting things on deck.

Isaac Bock

No, I know. It is cool. I mean, uh, it is, it is weird thinking about that cuz like, we’ve also gone through so much in three years. Like it really doesn’t feel like three years since knowing those guys, um, which is a good thing.

Eric Schneider

Absolutely. And just a little bit more, uh, background on Nathan. Um, so he’s got a background in strategy and operations. Uh, he’s the c e o of me. Nissan Bloom, uh, works with the best and brightest when it comes to innovation and creativity in the industry. Uh, the Mason Nissan balloon team has worked together for over 12 years and know what it takes to deliver high quality products that deliver a delicious, elevated experience every time. And, uh, we’ll get, we’ll get into more details on their specific product, but I know we’ve both been a part of, uh, a Jake tasting and, uh, I’ve had the beverage firsthand and it is delicious.

Eric Schneider

And yeah, excited to, to bring in Nate here.

Isaac Bock

Yeah, I don’t wanna give too much away about the tasting, cuz I’m sure we’ll, we’ll get back on it, uh, when we talk to Nate, but yeah, it, it will provide some, you know, good context for everyone.

Eric Schneider

All righty. Let, let’s bring him in here. What is going on, Nate? How we doing today? Great to see you. It’s been a while. It’s

Nathan Johnson

Been a long time. Great to see you Eric. Great to see you, Isaac. Thanks for having me.

Eric Schneider

Great

Isaac Bock

To catch up as always. Nate <laugh>.

Eric Schneider

But, uh, no, um, first, firstly, you just want to learn a little bit more about Nissan Bloom and, and provide some context there and, and what you guys are doing in the space and, and building and, uh, what’s, what’s on the docket for the next 12 months?

Nathan Johnson

Well, there’s a, there’s a lot that’s on the dodger.

Eric Schneider

There’s a lot to unpack there, but yes,

Nathan Johnson

I think even since we last connected, which it’s probably been as a couple of months, there’s been a lot of evolutions of the business. So, you know, one thing, uh, just starting out, you know, we officially have launched our, uh, cannabis infused beverages in California, um, to, to great fanfare and, and, uh, seeing those hit several different dispensaries across NorCal. And so, uh, SoCal we’re, you know, online as well, uh, with groups like Saba and Glassdoor. Um, and then we are actually in the process of launching a hemp arm of the business, um, that’s actually going through production as we speak on this call.

Nathan Johnson

I keep getting videos from the team of hand throwing off the production line. It’s something that we’re really, really excited about, so, hell yeah. That’s awesome. The next 12 months we’re gonna see a lot of both of those. The cannabis and the hemp arrived arm really start to take off, which is awesome.

Eric Schneider

That’s great. Where, um, for the Hempter Drive arm, are there any specific markets or anything that you’re targeting? Or is that gonna be, you know, kind of us wide?

Nathan Johnson

It’s gonna be national, so Cool. We’re gonna be selling in 41 states, um, plus the District of Columbia. We we’re actually producing outta Minnesota. Um, I, there’s, there’s a great background story there between our angel investor and myself. Both of us are actually from Minnesota, which is awesome. So we’ve got a lot of like local boots on the ground in the community, um, which is something that we, we really try to, to build off of here in Maison Bloom. Um, but we’re gonna be selling nationwide, so, um, obviously that’s a, a very different market, very different operating model than what we’re seeing in California on the cannabis specific side.

Nathan Johnson

Um, and the team has just done an amazing job of really doubling down, spreading ourselves as, um, as thin as possible while delivering that premium service that we all know Maison Bloom delivers.

Isaac Bock

Yeah, that’s what I was gonna say. I mean, obviously Eric and I have known you guys for a while, but, um, would love for you to provide context on how you guys are going about creating your beverages cuz it is a bit unique compared to, you know, the beverage category in general that’s out there right now.

Nathan Johnson

For sure. Um, you know, the, I I think really the, the simplest thing that I was trying to respond with is just looking at our mission statement. You know, we are, we are, we operate through the commitment of, of delivering high quality based ingredients that are combined with the exceptional culinary creativity by putting flavor and the customer experience first. Um, and we just simply do that through dedicating to the transformation of wellness, um, and recreational experiences. We, we really believe in the power of the plant. We really believe that there is so much potential in this, in, in both industries, in both the, the cannabis and the hemp.

Nathan Johnson

Obviously they’re, they’re kind of one in this day and age, um, but it’s all about the ingredients that you put in, um, which is why we start with the plant. Uh, specifically we, we have the world’s first, uh, strain specific whole plant, single barrel family of beverages. And that is actually consistent for both the cannabis and the hemp side.

Isaac Bock

I love that. That’s a well-rehearsed pitch. We need to give our picks down that, that’s smooth. I think <laugh>

Eric Schneider

<laugh>, I think we have a smooth pitch. I just don’t think people want to really hear it. It’s not <laugh>. Um, but no, I, I mean I, Nate you know, I know you know your background, um, you know, you and Jake, you know, connected prior to cannabis and, and, uh, you know, in fashion and, you know, why, why beverage, right. Um, you know, what, what drew you guys to that, to that form factor of cannabis and, and you know, where do you see beverage taking off in the, you know, in the future for cannabis?

Eric Schneider

Because I think it’s one of those categories that like I personally love and I think, um, for, for newer users is, is a really approachable way. Um, but I, you know, it’s still, I think, you know, behind smokable and edibles. So like, you know, where, where do you see the evolution and I guess for you, you know, why, why beverage and, and what drew you to it

Nathan Johnson

So bad? I just, I have a lot. We could probably spend an entire like three hours just talking about the potential of the industry. Um, but just starting with the background. So the core team myself, Jake, and Tony, um, and, and Jake and Tony, I will just say are, are simply amazing across the board. Everything that you see from the consumer facing side of things has come out of their minds and they’ve built an exceptional brand, um, great tasting products that really resonate with the mainstream consumer. And you know, how we kind of got into the space is, is we like to solve our own problems, if you will.

Nathan Johnson

So we’ve all worked together for the better part of a decade. I think Jake and I have actually been working together now this is our second business going on about 12 years. And, you know, when we were working for others, um, after our last venture, we got back together and we just looked at various industries and, and really fell in love with cannabis and the people in cannabis, the partnerships that are there, the culture that really exists.

Nathan Johnson

And, you know, we’re, we are men of a certain age. We’re all kind of getting out of the phase of consistent alcohol consumption and more frequent alcohol consumption. I have three kids, um, which is why I look like this cuz I never sleep anymore. <laugh>. Um, and you know, for me, I wasn’t always a huge cannabis user, but at the same time, I, I did want that relaxation. I did want to be able to drop my anxiety a little bit, wanted to move away from alcohol while still consuming something. Um, and I, and I just wanted it to be better for you.

Nathan Johnson

But more importantly, I wanted it to be better tastings. And when we looked at the market, we just, we really couldn’t find something that met our personal needs. And all needs are subjective by all means. But, you know, we really looked at the space, we looked at some of the evolution of technology on the nano emulsion side, what was going into beverages and really what we could do with it.

Nathan Johnson

And so Jake and Tony took their roots in the culinary space, um, and we started playing with different strains, the plants, and then really built the recipes around. So we actually tried to flip the previous models on their head and really start with the plant. Look at things like full spectrum, look at the different strains, what they can provide. How do you unlock? Um, like we always talk about here in the industry, how do you really unlock what this plant can do and start playing with it in different ways. And, you know, hence Maison Bloom was really born.

Nathan Johnson

Um, and, and we did it in a way that to us it’s the social experience, right? You know, we, we have nothing against vapes. We have nothing against smoking and flour. Those are all amazing things. And so we wanted to say, how do we actually complement those other methods while at the same time producing a product that the mainstream consumer can enjoy at any point of the day or the evening. It really just seamlessly kind of integrates into people’s lives because we all want a beverage, right? Like, I’ve got a glass of water sitting here as we’re talking, when I get parched, it’s something I can pick up and just, it feels natural to most people.

Nathan Johnson

And so it was a really nice replacement while enhancement to the existing products that are in the market.

Isaac Bock

No, I, and I agree. I think the thing about the beverage category is it’s so ingrained in like the social aspect of humanity in general, like, especially in America, like, hey, let’s go grab a beer, is such a common statement, uh, especially amongst, you know, men around our age. So I think that’s an easy, easy transition and it makes it a lot easier for someone who’s more on the canaria side to get involved.

Eric Schneider

Isaac never wants to grab a beer with me,

Nathan Johnson

<laugh>.

Isaac Bock

It’s cause I have to,

Eric Schneider

I’m pretty sure I asked you right before I was like, Hey man, what are you doing tonight? You’re like, uh, I have pins.

Nathan Johnson

See you now, Eric, you went, maybe

Eric Schneider

If it’s cannabis of beverage, he

Nathan Johnson

Would That’s right. I’ve got some great maize on Bloom over here. Isaac, would you like to join me? Hi. His hand’s gonna shoot up. He’s gonna just, he’s

Eric Schneider

Moving to Denver soon. So I think I, I think you guys will have to have a few beverages,

Isaac Bock

Nate. I will out on the golf course. We were talking about that before you jumped on. That’s

Nathan Johnson

Right. Yeah. And I think know, you guys are really touching on something important, which is, you know, people, people really from an industry standpoint, um, are not necessarily moving away from alcohol, but it’s, it’s becoming less prevalent in people’s lives. And, and you see that across the board from younger generations, even to some of the older generations, boomers and above. And, and it’s, and they need or want some place to go. And cannabis and hemp become really interesting to a lot of people.

Nathan Johnson

They, however, don’t really want the experience of, well, I had this one thing of a hundred milligrams and fell on the floor. Right? That’s not really fun for anybody. But, you know, if you can have one, which is akin to a glass of wine or a single beer, you know, just makes things a lot more enjoyable because again, people are used to that social experience. They want a little bit of that fun, that a little bit of elevation that comes with an infused beverage. I would love to hear what you guys have, what you guys are seeing in the industry.

Nathan Johnson

I mean, you guys get all different facets. How are things looking on the East Coast from your perspective?

Eric Schneider

It, uh, ex I mean it’s exciting, it’s, you know, frustrating, all, all simultaneous, right? I think, um, you know, New York specifically, they just, you know, announced that, you know, 99, uh, card applicants would be getting licenses in, in New York City, which is super exciting, especially just after, you know, the, the delayed rollout. Um, no, but I mean, I, I think a lot of the sentiment is that it’s, you know, it’s tough sledding right now with still a lot of excitement mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and so, you know, for us being in New York specifically, we’re, we’re super excited.

Eric Schneider

But, you know, for us also, like most of our clients are, you know, out west and spread out so mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, but yeah, I mean, we’ll, we’ll find out more. We’re headed to Benzinga next week, um, so we’ll, we’ll find out more. And, and I’m excited to hear about, you know, some other thought leaders in the space on what they’re seeing and, uh, hoping for a little, I need, I need more positivity, you know? Yeah. Um, and, and I think that’s, that’s definitely coming down the pipeline. What about you, Isaac? What do

Isaac Bock

You think? Well, no, and I think too, like, especially in, in New York, just the, uh, the illicit market is so prevalent. I mean, Eric and I joke all the time, like if you walk down seventh Avenue, which Eric and I both live on opposite sides of, um, there’s like six dispensaries. So like, it’s gonna be hard to see like what happens and um, you know, we’ve spoken to some of our clients and they’ve seen their own product in New York when they’re not, you know, in partnership with, you know, any manufacturers here. So they’re like, I don’t know how this is getting here.

Isaac Bock

So I think this could be a big hurdle here, but kind of similar to what Eric said, and Nate, you and I were talking about before we jumped on, but it’s, uh, it is a tough time right now, but I think, you know, hopefully the end is in sight on that. And, you know, companies that have figured their stuff out and built in a proper way will make it through and, you know, continue to push the industry forward.

Eric Schneider

Yeah, I mean, beverage is gonna, I mean

Eric Schneider

I think beverage has huge potential in New York, um, specifically cuz there’s really not a whole lot to do in New York except for drinking drink. Um, and, and so it’s gonna be, I think it’s gonna be a, a really great market for consumption lounges, um, when, when that starts to roll out and, and what that looks like. Um, I think, I think it’s just, you know, at the end of the day it’s just, uh, a matter of of time, um, more than anything. And, and it’s just about, you know, staying the course.

Eric Schneider

So Yeah. But you know, we’re, we’re obviously, you know, not on the operator side, so we, uh, but we definitely, um, have a, have a good sense of kind of what’s going on and, and try to keep ears, ears to the ground as much as possible.

Nathan Johnson

Yeah. Well that, and then I think it’s important to note too, you, you are consumers to some degree, even if it’s not on a daily basis or you know, every single product, the fact that you are consumers, you are, what I would say are mainstream consumers, right? Those that have an interest, you’re can of curious, you indulge every now and then, by the way, I have no idea how much cannabis you can consume <laugh>, but that’s what I’m guessing. Um, but it’s really attractive for a lot of people because, you know, we’ve been on several of these, uh, at several of these events together, trailblazers and whatnot, and you listen to the panels and it takes, it takes more people coming into the industry, obviously for the industry to grow, whether that’s money, that’s capital, that’s new types of brands, that’s new partnerships, that’s various products.

Nathan Johnson

It takes more people coming in. And, and I would say to your point, Eric, you need some positivity. The one, you know, I, what I would say is from my angle as an operator and, and as Maison Bloom continues to evolve and grow to meet the needs of the market, we are seeing a, a real, a a real tangible, strong adoption of the craft cannabis story. And we’ve been able to take that craft cannabis story and bring it into beverage because as we’ve done our tours that we, as we’ve had various speaking engagements or panels or events, activations, whatever it is, we just, we thought we saw so many thirsty consumers, um, quite frankly coast to coast that were really looking to get their hands on infused beverage because they’re, they, they are curious and, and they’re curious in a way that is positive because they do want to embrace the plant.

Nathan Johnson

They do want to embrace the industry, but sometimes it’s not always that familiar, right. And, and people do care what they put into their body. That’s a, that’s why a lot of people really are excited about cannabis because you know, when you, you put in high quality ingredients, you put in that craftsmanship, you put in the attention to detail that goes into the Maison Bloom products. It tells a really exciting story and one that consumers are familiar with and want to engage with. And for us, building the brand on top of the, the high quality products is something that we have found really resonates with people, whether that’s in the Midwest, whether that’s on the East coast or whether that’s in the, you know, on the West Coast.

Eric Schneider

Absolutely. And, and Nate, can you just give us, you know, some, some insight cuz I know Minnesota recently launched regulations that are very friendly for beverage, um, and we’re starting to see a lot more operators pop out of there. Like, I guess what, what’s the specific reasoning behind it and the, the regulatory framework that’s allowing for more beverages in Minnesota?

Nathan Johnson

Um, it was a bit of an oopsie, um, when it was passed, uh, by chance was the very, very short answer. Um, and I think what Minnesota has done well is when the oopsie happened, they didn’t necessarily shy away. They just said, let’s embrace this. Let’s see where it goes. Obviously that’s going to evolve to some degree. It’s not like they just like turned the blind eye, but I think what they’re seeing is the amount of interest when you have a regulatory environment that is still regulated, but it just has, you know, that it’s just a little bit more loose in some of the, the stricter regulations you find in, in other markets.

Nathan Johnson

And, and in my opinion, I think when that happened, you saw a lot of people moving in because they saw the opportunity, but they saw the opportunity because the con they, they got that response from consumers that ultimately drive the demand.

Nathan Johnson

Right? And that’s important to note because it’s one thing to take advantage of a market and oversupply it, and, and products don’t sell. It’s a whole nother thing to be in a situation where, hey, this, this opportunity has opened up, the demand is there, so how do we, how do we carefully, strategically use this opportunity to make sure that it can pave the way for future regulations by showing the demand of the consumer and what the consumer really wants? And I, and I think that’s why you see a lot of people jumping into Minnesota. Um, we, I don’t wanna say that was the, the reason for us, I mean, I was, I was sharing with, with Isaac before you jumped on Eric, that, you know, I am from Minnesota, I think you guys know that.

Nathan Johnson

So I’ve got a lot of family there, boots on the ground there.

Nathan Johnson

It’s a very friendly state. A lot of really good operators, um, come out of there. Um, our angel investor, Mr. Bowman, um, is also from Minnesota. He has a lot of ties to the community. And you know, one thing that we really try to do well at Maison Bloom in terms of our values is really uphold the local community, right? So we’re partnered in California, um, with Sonoma Hills Farm, you know, they are the supplier for our growers. You can trace that specific strain from their field all the way into our beverage, right? We employ the local communities, we try to bring all of our supply chain back domestically as much as possible because the community really matters.

Nathan Johnson

And so for us being able to operate out of Minnesota, yes, it’s an opportunity based on regulation, but there’s so much more that comes out of that. And as we grow and expand over the next 12 months, is a very roundabout way of answering your question, Eric, um, you know, is to expand operations in different ways that does the same thing, right? So similar to what we’re doing in the Emerald Triangle with Sonoma Hills Farm, similar to, to what we’re doing with Chill State in the Midwest, you know, there’s gonna be opportunities on the east coast, there’s gonna be opportunities in the South, and we really wanna embrace those local communities and what they bring to the table.

Isaac Bock

Have you guys started to identify, um, any those communities either in the east coast or the south, or is it still, you know, kinda wait and see how this next round of launching goes? I know that’s putting the cargo a little bit ahead of the horse, but I’m sure knowing you and Jake, you’re always thinking ahead. So

Nathan Johnson

I was gonna say, Isaac, you answered your own question. <laugh> <laugh>, um, we’re not good at waiting. Um, I, you know, I would, I would say we, we are exploring opportunities. Um, nothing is 100% set though, but I would say I, I don’t feel the market is going to dictate 100% of what the business does. We, we again, right partnerships, right opportunities, um, right. Value chains means so much more to us than waiting on the sidelines.

Nathan Johnson

We can, we can find a path with the right opportunities.

Isaac Bock

Well, and I think that’s what is gonna set you guys apart in the long term. And honestly, a lot of operators who have learned from some of the early mistakes in cannabis where it was like rushed through and not align with your partners, and then you realize you’re in bed with someone you shouldn’t be. So I think that approach is probably gonna serve you guys well in the long run. And

Nathan Johnson

We think so, you know, we are, we are a value oriented organization, which means, you know, everybody has to give a little, take a little, but, you know, we’re not being good partners unless we’re creating value add back to our partners. Um, and it’s just something that we uphold. It’s, it’s more than just transactional. Like we don’t, we don’t want people just to have a Maison Bloom beverage and not really care about it, right? Um, that’s why we’re very careful on the influencer front on, on really every relational aspect front for us because we want authenticity. We want that organic growth.

Nathan Johnson

We want people, we want Eric and Isaac to be able to walk out and be like, Hey, let’s not have a beer. Let’s have a Maison Bloom beverage because we love Nate, Jake and Tony. But at the same time, it’s just a great product.

Nathan Johnson

We want more people in the industry, right? That that’s a much sexier story to us than, you know, just simply paying for a service and, you know, oh, here we go. So now that agree. And I think it’s also, I think it’s also part of the reason why you’re seeing some of the turmoil in the industry, right? Is people don’t necessarily have those relationships that they can fall back on because you guys know this, it’s, it’s hard. It takes a village, it takes the right partners, it takes everybody in the industry supporting each other and truly lifting as you climb. And, and that is something that we really hold dear and try to, um, embrace and share with all of our partners back.

Eric Schneider

Very cool. Yeah, that was awesome. And, and, and Nate, how do you think like your previous experience, like outside of cannabis has helped with the evolution of, of Macon Bloom and, and building the brand? Because, you know, a lot of people have the, have the thought that brands at the end of the day will, will reign Supreme, but everybody knows that building a brand and differentiating yourself in cannabis is, is very challenging. So I guess, you know, how do, how do you guys go about it and, and what’s your strategy and, and leveraging previous experience?

Eric Schneider

<affirmative>?

Nathan Johnson

That’s a great question. I, you know, I I think it’s probably threefold. One, um, <laugh> other industries operate very differently. Um, you know, my background personally is, is, is a mix of blue collar construction, um, oil industries in Southern California business synergies all the way up to high fashion and technology. Um, Jake and Tony come from the world of marketing, advertising, uh, retail, hospitality, um, and culinary.

Nathan Johnson

And you put all those together and you, you, you come, you come away with a couple of things. One, it’s a skillset of, hey, we, we may not have all the experience in the world, but we know how to run a business in the right way. That’s one thing, right? That’s what actually produces a really solid product that people want to consume, right? Because you can have a product that doesn’t taste very great and people will still buy it for some amount of time until a better product comes around.

Nathan Johnson

So for us, what we want to deliver is the best experience possible that is a flavor first beverage that tastes delicious, and you truly do crepe on the other side, you have skill sets from the creative, from the consumer facing of here’s the psychological patterns, here’s how you resonate most with the consumer. Here’s a brand. When people look at it, they say, wow, that’s, that’s just sexy. I don’t even know what’s in that can, but I’m just gonna pick the thing up because it looks so different. Um, you know, and I’m gonna, you know, and I, and I want to bring this and give it as a gift to, to somebody because it’s that pretty right.

Nathan Johnson

And that combined really has driven us forward to what, to what Isaac had mentioned earlier of being able to separate yourself from the pact. The fact that this team, as small as you are, has those kind of two different vantage points, um, really does resonate well with the consumer, but also creates a product and a brand.

Nathan Johnson

And I think, um, I think that’s been exceptional in our differentiation. And I think it gets a lot of interest from other people as well because, you know, there’s a lot of great operators in this, in this industry. There’s a lot of great brands, but I, you know, I think there’s only one Maison Bloom, and I think we do an exceptional job of having a brand with a product. And it’s interesting now because a lot of people historically when we first started this journey said, we don’t really care about brands. I was told that numerous times, we don’t care about brands, you just need a product.

Nathan Johnson

It just needs to get into the market. And that, I would say over the last six months, that that mindset has really shifted and you see a lot of people looking more at brands, um, as the market gets more and more tough and tumultuous.

Isaac Bock

No, I think too, you know, one of the things that you guys do that’s very interesting is, you know, the marketing aspect of cannabis in general is hard. Just do the restrictions on social media and with keyword search. So how do you guys go about doing your marketing to, you know, promote the story and promote the, the product itself as well?

Nathan Johnson

Well, I, I would need to rely on Jake and Tony for, for a much more articulate answer than I have for that one. Um,

Isaac Bock

But you guys do, do,

Eric Schneider

I’ll tell you, if you, if you’ve never had a Jake and Tony tasting, you gotta line that up.

Isaac Bock

Well, that’s what I was all alluding to. Yeah.

Nathan Johnson

Um, yeah, so it is the way we approach number one tastings. Um, and you know, it is our hospitality backgrounds, again, really just every interaction matters. Every consumer matters. And as silly and cliche as that sound, it is reality, right? You people wanna be respected, they wanna be heard. Um, and, and we take that to, to heart and try to deliver the best consumer experience across the board. There are definitely restrictions, um, that you have to work around. But again, you know, some of it is, is who you’re partnered with, how you’re getting that message out there.

Nathan Johnson

What, what are the, the physical assets look like? What do the digital assets look like? What are the marketing messages, even if it doesn’t say cannabis or high or, you know, whatever is, is the, the keyword of the day that’s blocked in this industry. Um, but it’s thinking creatively, it’s, it’s finding ways that work well with the consumer outside of the traditional boxes. And just the, the background that we have, I think lends itself in ways that have been really beneficial to find those correct outlets that, that are still legal, but actually still resonate with the consumer.

Isaac Bock

Not for sure. It’s a great answer. I think that was plenty eloquent. I don’t thinking of Jake and Tony on here, <laugh>,

Nathan Johnson

But still have Jake and Tony walk you through a improper Maison bloom flight tasting

Eric Schneider

That I’ve, I’ve, I’ve done it. I’m like, I don’t really know what’s going on right now, but I like it. It’s exciting. And this tasting,

Isaac Bock

They, those guys have it down. Those guys have it down so, well, I think Jake probably practiced it while he sleeps

Nathan Johnson

<laugh>. Um, he has probably pitched this well over a thousand times, so it, it’s definitely ingrained right now,

Eric Schneider

<laugh>. And I think it’s also too, it’s just the, the authenticity that truly like comes across is, is, uh, is second to none. Um, and that’s why, you know, love, love hanging out with you guys and talking with you guys and, and also just like, respect what you’re doing in the space and, um, and knowing like where you were two years ago to where we’re at today, it’s, it’s really, really, really cool to see the growth and that authenticity and, um, you know, just perseverance, like, just, just continue to pound the pavement, um, is, is really what it takes to, to be successful in this industry.

Eric Schneider

I, I find is like just continue to pick yourself up, go forward and, uh, charge on and, and continue to expand. So,

Nathan Johnson

No, thank you for that. I, it, it truly means a lot. You know, we’ve been at this, um, probably just about three years at this point and we finally just launched product in January this year. So, you know, it feels like it’s been forever. You guys have seen us do different evolutions, um, and be able to walk through on the other side. And this is still a challenging time, um, for us and for, for everybody. I wouldn’t say anybody’s, you know, making it rain, um, if you will, but, you know, it, it definitely takes partners and it takes this industry to really step up and, and share with each other and in a really roundabout way.

Nathan Johnson

Eric, I want to touch on something that you had mentioned, which is like, you know, as we’ve been able to persevere and as we’ve been able to grow, we’ve started to expand our vision a little bit.

Nathan Johnson

You know, it’s gone from like, Hey, we have to get this product out into the market, you know, and it’s gonna be cannabis beverage and it’s gonna be in California. Now we’re at the stage of, hey, we see a lot of the potential in hemp and not just from a sales and revenue standpoint. Of course that’s really important. Yes, we wanna sell product, yes. You know, we are a for-profit business, we wanna make money, but there’s, there’s just so much more you can do with the hemp plant, right? You know, environmentalism and sustainability. Those are all really important things that lend itself to, to this machine that we are building.

Nathan Johnson

And so, you know, as we’ve been able to raise our eyes as we’ve been able to, to look and strategize for the future, one of the things that really comes up is like, how do we make a bigger impact into this industry, right?

Nathan Johnson

Because it takes all of us collectively working together to bring more money, to bring more consumers, to bring more brands into, into this industry that is still in my mind, really in its infancy. And that takes partnerships like getting beverages on na menus in restaurants and bars, really building out the hospitality aspect. And so a lot of what we are working on for the next 12 months is how do we continue to make a bigger impact? How do we be more participatory in some of the industry events or mainstream events that aren’t necessarily 100% familiar with how cannabis and hemp really work and help them embrace what these products actually deliver?

Nathan Johnson

And so we like, we, we like to and we make sure that we walk the walk. We’re not just here putting out products and then walking away. We, we want to help lead, we want to help bring others with us and lean on others for support when those times of need really come up

Eric Schneider

That I don’t got anything to add to that

Nathan Johnson

<laugh>. I mean,

Eric Schneider

I dunno.

Nathan Johnson

Yeah. So I just, you know, I I hope that brings a little bit of positivity, I guess is the overall point, Eric. Yeah, we, we are continuing to see more and more people get excited. I, I think the one challenge that we continue to face as everybody else in the industry does is, is the educational piece. I don’t think people really have nailed it. I think almost any brand would recognize that as well. But I would just just say in the Midwest is a perfect example. You know, we have people that have tasted the beverages coming out the line and they’re just like, holy shit.

Nathan Johnson

Like, how do I get my hands on this? Like, I want to start selling this. I had a phone call this morning. I have 20 people coming to an event, which is gonna be our first event in Minnesota that, you know, they’re gonna har help start being evangelists and, and advocating not only for Maison Bloom, but for the industry for some of these products. And that’s like, those are the exciting elements, right? We’ve gotta be able to celebrate those smaller milestones and those small wins because compounded those lead to big changes over time.

Eric Schneider

A hundred percent.

Isaac Bock

That’s all <laugh>.

Nathan Johnson

Yeah. And I think you guys will see the same thing in Benga too.

Isaac Bock

I hope so, I hope it’s positive with Eric said <laugh>.

Eric Schneider

Yeah. But, um, I’m, I’m interested to see too, like in, in New York specifically, I think a lot of times, like the education, um,

Eric Schneider

Bringing it to like people’s front door I think is gonna be like really powerful. Like, you know, like specifically like investors, right? In New York, I, I think that when we start to see dispensaries come up in New York City and you see lines around the, around the block, people are gonna take notice, right? Um, and, and it is part of that education piece. We were even talking with, um, you know, Christian Faca who’s, um, you know, runs the, runs the legal department at, uh, Cresco and, and has a lot of background and lobbying and he was talking about how like 80% of his job is just like educating, you know, constituents in, in DC and it’s just like, cuz we were saying, we’re like, listen, like we see the momentum here, like why aren’t these things passing?

Eric Schneider

Right? He’s like, well one, there’s a lot of other things going on in the US aside from cannabis regulation, but two, it’s just like they need to understand and they need to be educated right? Before they, they put their name behind it. Yeah. Um, and that just takes time. So, you know, I think it’s just like continuing to, to charge forward and um, you know, and our goal is to just always continue to support the industry and in different ways and, you know, and, uh, appreciate you, uh, you hopping on the root there is today. It was awesome. Yeah.

Nathan Johnson

Yeah. No, this has been great guys. And, and to your point, you know, it just making a slight tangent going back to, to Mr. Bowman and Mike, you know, he was, he was very instrumental in passing the 2018 Farm Bill when it happened in, and, um, you know, he, he looked at what we were doing on the cannabis side and you know, and to your point, it’s, it’s getting in front of the right people. You, you need true boots on the ground and understanding, um, of, of what goes on behind some of these closed doors. And so we’ve set out again, to really walk that walk bringing the players that can help make some of these bigger political changes.

Nathan Johnson

And I, and I think you’re starting to see some of that shift. You know, elk bev just came out and has embraced the legalization, um, to a degree for some of these markets and some of these products. And so you are starting to see it shift slowly. Um, but the more that we all collectively can help educate, um, be vocal about what this industry really needs, I think we’ll start to see an acceleration of some of those changes. So really appreciate you guys having me on. This is, this has been awesome. It’s good to see your faces again.

Eric Schneider

Absolutely.

Isaac Bock

Before, before we wrap things up though, we got, we got ibs, got, uh, a few, few questions. Yeah. We got the, we got the fun, the fun personal side of things, you know, put work away. So what, yeah, there there’s three, there’s three quick, three quick ones for you. Uh, what’s uh, what’s on the top of the playlist these days? It’s getting you going, you know, drowning out your kids screaming so you can get some sleep. Baby <laugh>,

Nathan Johnson

I’ve got, I I’ve got a hip hop playlist, um, great start that I <laugh> I put on and I take with me every time I head up into the mountains. So we’re, we’re closing, closing winter season for me here in Denver. Um, on that is anything from Eminem to Logic Chance the Rapper of course got some Snoop and some Dre on there. So just, just a good mix of hip hop right now.

Isaac Bock

See that was, you probably named what, like six of the top 50 of all time. So that’s a good playlist right off the bat. <laugh>

Nathan Johnson

Put it on Let around

Isaac Bock

I I love it. Um, cool. What’s, um, you know, what’s a book that you’ve kind of turned back to a few times or one that you would recommend people look into and read that’s provided good lessons for you?

Nathan Johnson

Love this question. I love this question. Um, gosh, there is, um, I can’t even think of the name. Oh, here it is right here. This one is awesome. Okay, this is my newest one. It’s called The Life You Were Born to Live. Um, if, if you are not in a place of like learning about your life purpose, it’s probably not for you, but it’s all about your, you take your birth date and then the author basically works out things you are working towards in your life journey.

Nathan Johnson

So it could be, um, working through, over adversity, overcoming obstacles. It could be finding for me, I’m, I’m a 31 14 so it’s finding stability in the process. Um, and it’s really interesting because when he describes what a 31 4 is in the book, I’m like that that is me hands down. Um, so I think that’s really good. The one book that I really do like, um, is actually, uh, it’s called The Art of Negotiation. Um, and I really love that one as well. It’s

Isaac Bock

A great one. Yeah, that that, that’s a good one. And I think a lot of people, uh, definitely could use that cuz negotiations can go sideways pretty quickly for some people. So, um, yeah. Uh, LA last one. What would the last meal be? You know, first thing that pops into your head when it comes to last meal. <laugh>,

Nathan Johnson

Well I was gonna change it, but you said the first thing that popped in was a, a steak for whatever reason and I never have a steak, so I dunno why that one came in <laugh>, hopefully that’s not a sign, but a nice steak actually sounds really good right now.

Isaac Bock

That’s amazing. See, have you ever random tangent in Denver Tan, have you ever been to La Cueva over on Colfax Best Mexican food in the country?

Nathan Johnson

I have not.

Isaac Bock

I should go check it out because that that’s up there for me with something or one of my

Eric Schneider

S’s bold statement, Mr. Bach.

Isaac Bock

I mean I’ve been, I’ve been going there my whole life. My grandparents went there for like, it’s good.

Nathan Johnson

I’ll do it both to check it out. Welcome to check it out for sure. When

Eric Schneider

<laugh>

Nathan Johnson

You can, you can show me the favorite Mexican cause I have not had that here in Denver. Could

Eric Schneider

Also start to ask favorite restaurant Isaac and build a a restaurant list. Ooh, I like that.

Isaac Bock

We, we’ll

Eric Schneider

Right now

Isaac Bock

We’ll do, we’ll do playlist book list, playlist book list, restaurant list. I like that. Yeah.

Eric Schneider

Restaurant list. I like that.

Nathan Johnson

Favorite restaurant,

Eric Schneider

Favorite restaurant’s. Tough.

Nathan Johnson

Uh, that’s easy for me. So, um, well we got,

Eric Schneider

You’d be number one on the list.

Nathan Johnson

I’m gonna, I’m just gonna answer it for you right now. <laugh>. There we go. Uh, back in our fashion days we uh, actually suited up Dominique Cre, uh, when she won the 2016 top female chef in the world. And she has a restaurant called Atelier CRE in San Francisco. And it is unreal. It is like nothing I’ve ever tasted hands down the best meal of my life. Uh, Brie, my wife and I both agreed like it was an experience like no other. So that is my favorite restaurant. I’m happy to be the first one to answer this question for you <laugh>.

Isaac Bock

I love it. I love it. Awesome. Yeah, we’ll start building that list.

Eric Schneider

<laugh>, what about you Isaac? Put you on the spot. I

Isaac Bock

Don’t know man. Um, I mean La Cuevas up there for me cuz I love spicy Mexican food, but if we’re going for Charles, I mean in the city, like that’s such a, that’s such a bailout answer, but it’s, that’s probably the best answer. It’s probably the best overall meal I’ve ever had.

Eric Schneider

I’d say every probably Instagram, Instagram person in, uh, in New York City would say that.

Isaac Bock

I mean, I’ve only been once and that was five years ago, so

Eric Schneider

That’s true.

Nathan Johnson

I I and here I thought you were gonna say Casa Bonita Isaac, I know you already threw Mexican, but

Isaac Bock

I mean that’s one of the greatest South Park episodes of all time, so it ha Casa Benga definitely has a place in my heart from that <laugh>.

Nathan Johnson

Well they’re reopening and they should be open by the time you get out here.

Isaac Bock

Funny story about Casa Benga, my dad’s old business partner banged for life because he jumped off the diving board there. So

Nathan Johnson

I feel like that’s a worthwhile like risk to take, right?

Isaac Bock

Yeah. The food’s not that good. <laugh>.

Nathan Johnson

Yeah. Like you’re gonna get kicked outta a restaurant that’s like mediocre at best on the food scale. Like that’s, you know, like I can see that happening

Isaac Bock

<laugh>. I mean I’m talking about it’s been 30 years. Yeah. We’ll bring Eric to Casa Benga, we’ll throw Hi. We’ll have him do it.

Nathan Johnson

Yeah. <laugh>.

Eric Schneider

I appreciate it, Isaac. Thank you.

Nathan Johnson

Awesome all guys.

Isaac Bock

Thanks Nate. Appreciate you

Eric Schneider

Nate. Yeah, it’s awesome. I’m sure we’ll see you soon. It’s always great catching up with Nate, man. It’s been a while.

Isaac Bock

Yeah, I know. I don’t think I’ve had a chance to talk to them in the last couple months just about other stuff, but we haven’t like had a real sit down conversation with them in a really long time, I feel like.

Eric Schneider

Yeah, no, it’s super exciting to hear about California and, and Minnesota coming online and I’m sure they have, you know, a lot of other things in the pipeline. Um, and, and it’s cool to see like where they, where they started out, right? You know, at Founders Institute when you were working with them to where they’re at today and uh, the, the continued growth and determination is, uh, is inspiring and, and authenticity is, is just, uh, off the charts

Isaac Bock

A hundred percent. I mean, you know, we work with a lot of great companies, but it’d be hard to say anyone loves the product. They’re, they’re creating and believes in as much as you know, the three of them. Um, which is awesome. And I think them getting into the hump su of things will be great for the business overall.

Eric Schneider

Yeah, no, absolutely. You, you hit the nail right on the head and, um, I feel like that’s just, uh, that’s something just very unique about the cannabis industry is, is really like that passion behind it, um, is, is uh, is super cool and you know, what we do in our daily lives, right? It’s like the same thing with Alfred, right? It’s like, it it’s such a part of, of what we do and who we are and it’s, you know, it’s important to be that passionate and, you know, and, and cannabis specifically, I feel like if you’re not super authentic people, you know, figure that out pretty quickly And, uh, but for those that are, you know, find success, so it’s cool to see.

Isaac Bock

Yeah, for sure. There’s a pretty good BS meter in the industry. Um, you know, and especially for us as an ancillary provider, it’s good that we’re, we’re finally breaking through that.

Eric Schneider

Yeah. Hopefully, you know, people see like, we’re, we’re not so bad, you know?

Isaac Bock

Yeah. That’s cuz they don’t know us that well. But, you know, <laugh>, <laugh>

Eric Schneider

Say for yourself. Uh, I’m

Isaac Bock

Speaking for you more than me.

Eric Schneider

No, no, no, no, no. But um, no super excited and, uh, to keep this rolling on Isaac and, uh, got got some other ones in the pipeline and on deck and got a busy month ahead of us and, uh, excited to get another one of the books, brother. Yeah,

Isaac Bock

Let’s keep it.

 

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