When Adolphus A. Busch V, the great-great-grandson of Eberhard Adolphus Anheuser Busch, announced the launch of his Colorado-based cannabis brand on October 10, there were plenty of easy assumptions to make about big alcohol's infiltration of legal weed. But the Colorado State University graduate says Budweiser and its parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, have nothing to do with his new venture, ABV Cannabis Co.
According to the Adolphus V, he started his company thanks to a "small investment" from his father, Adolphus Busch IV (the last Busch to control Anheuser-Busch), and that came after several years of grinding through the the beginning of Colorado's recreational pot industry. Now he's selling CO2-extracted hash pens across Colorado, with plans to expand into flower sales and jump into other states soon. To learn more about his background and plans in pot, Westword caught up with the young Busch.
You've been working in legal cannabis for some quite some time. How'd you get your start, and why'd you decide to start your own brand?
I started applying for jobs in the cannabis industry right after I graduated. Through a networking connection, I met the CEO of BioTrackTHC and began a consumer-relations and sales role for the company. After a couple of months, I moved on to Lightshade to learn the retail side of the industry. At the 2015 X Games, I met some investors in Keef Cola, and they introduced me to the owners. I started with Keef in February of 2015 and stayed with them as a sales rep, and then as a sales manager and account manager. I stepped out of Keef at the end of August 2017 to start my company.
I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I wanted to start a business of my own since high school. I was working on business plans in college, but knew it would be smart to work in the industry and learn the ins and outs before I went down my own path. My goal is to create a legacy of my own similar to how my great-great grandfather created Anheuser-Busch.
What was your family's response when you jumped into legal cannabis?
My family has always been very supportive. My mother and sisters questioned the industry when I first got into it, but they still supported my decision. My father was on board from the moment I got into the industry. He saw the potential and knew that this would be the industry I could create a legacy in.
I see that you were denied a job by Anheuser-Busch. Why was that? Will the Busch family or Anheuser-Busch be involved with ABV Cannabis Co.?
Anheuser-Busch implemented a nepotism law. They would no longer hire Busch family members after the sale of the company [in 2008]. I applied in 2012-13 and was told the interviews went well and things were looking up. I received a call two weeks later letting me know that they could no longer hire Busch family members.
My father has invested a small amount into my business. It is funded solely by me and my father so far. Anheuser-Busch is not involved.
How will your name help you in legal cannabis? Is there any way you think your last name could hurt you?
We are dedicated to creating consistent, quality products, just like my family did for so many years in the beer industry. I hope that when people see my name and my company, they'll think of consistent, quality products for the everyman.
There will always be people with their opinions, assumptions and false facts. The facts are that I paid my dues in this industry to get to where I am, I have self-funded my company (other than my father's investment), we are not affiliated or otherwise associated with Anheuser-Busch InBev and haven't been since 2008, and my goal is to create a company of my own and to give back when and where we can.
Why do you choose CO2 oil instead of BHO or distillate?
We are currently filling our disposable vapes with CO2 oil because we believe in our full-spectrum CO2 oil. Full-spectrum, CO2-extracted cannabis oil is going to give most consumers a more desirable high that will mimic the high of the flower it was extracted from.
Distillate is pure THC. A pure distillate has been ripped of all other cannabinoids. This is not to say we will not be getting into distillate products — we are — but we wanted to start with a simple formulation that consumers can enjoy for an affordable price. We use natural, strain-specific terpenes for increased flavor and effects. Each one of our disposables will taste the same every time you buy them.
What are some of your favorite strains?
I prefer indicas, as I tend to consume more frequently at night to unwind from a long day, or to help me sleep. Grand Daddy Purple has always been one of my favorite indicas, and it sure brings back memories.
How do you get your cannabis? Is it grown in-house, or do you get it from other growers?
I have a licensing agreement in place with Pure Greens, located in Salida. I have an incredible relationship with this group. They are some of the most professional businesspeople I have met in this industry, and it is a pleasure to get to work with and for them. We hope to grow together as a team.
Sorry, but I have to ask: Any plans for a THC-infused beer in the future?
There are currently no plans to create a THC-infused beer. However, there has been a lot of internal talk about creating other beverages in the cannabis and CBD spaces.