7/10 Session With Keef CEO Erik Knutson

Keef Brands was founded by brothers (from left) Scot, Kely and Erik Knutson.
Keef Brands was founded by brothers (from left) Scot, Kely and Erik Knutson. Courtesy of Erik Knutson
As the popularity of cannabis continues to rise across the country, we now have two pot holidays instead of one. While most of us are familiar with the smoke sessions on 4/20, 7/10 is also gaining steam thanks to what the numbers spell when they're upside down (710 upside down looks like “oil”), giving hash-heads a celebratory excuse to dab, smoke and vaporize cannabis concentrates like shatter, sauce, rosin, distillate and even good ol'-fashioned bubble hash.

To learn more about 7/10 and the development of cannabis concentrates, we chatted with Keef Brands CEO Erik Knutson. Known for its Keef Cola infused drinks, Keef Brands also manufacturers Oil Stix, a line of CO2-extracted vaporizer products.

Westword: How did you learn about 7/10, and how has it changed over the years?

Erik Knutson: The first 7/10 event I remember us participating in was in 2011, down in Colorado Springs. Since then it has become an industry holiday very similar to 4/20. It has helped a number of new companies gain traction and has led to the creation of a number of new competitions across the state.

Do you see 7/10 competing with 4/20 as concentrates' popularity increases?

I don't look at it as competing; rather, it has helped to educate and give the community another platform to celebrate cannabis. The 4/20 holiday will always have a special place in the history of cannabis. That said, the increase in popularity surrounding concentrates, and especially 7/10, has helped a number of dispensaries and manufacturers further showcase their products. At the end of the day, the consumer is the winner, as the holiday is one more reason for dispensaries to compete and put forth awesome specials on products.

Hash is so much stronger than flower. What's a good way to celebrate 7/10 without overdoing it?

Vape pens or other devices that regulate the intake per use is a good way to reduce the risk of over-consumption for new consumers. In moderation, all the methods of consuming concentrates are safe, as there is no way to technically "overdose" on cannabis. People just need to understand the difference between flower and concentrates — and above all else, not drive high.

click to enlarge Erik Knutson speaks at a High Times business summit in Washington, D.C. - COURTESY OF ERIK KNUTSON
Erik Knutson speaks at a High Times business summit in Washington, D.C.
Courtesy of Erik Knutson
How quickly has extraction developed in the years since legalization? What are some new trends or forms of concentrates to look out for?

Extraction has developed extremely fast over the years. When we first started making Keef in 2010, we used the Dutch method of cold-water hash extraction, or bubble hash. In the years since, we have seen a rapid increase in both hydrocarbon (butane, hexane, propane, etc.) and CO2 extraction, with a number of post-process methods being implemented to further refine the products into distilled forms. Rosin is one of the newer concentrate forms that is created utilizing a solvent-less approach, often done with high-pressure hydraulic equipment that literally squeezes the extract from the base material. Another new extract to keep an eye out for is crystallized THCA mixed with terpenes and other cannabis-derived volatiles, often called "sauce."

What's your favorite cannabis concentrate? How do you like to consume it?

Personally, I like to vape clean, full-spectrum oil that has been re-infused with strain-specific cannabis-derived volatiles (terpenes, terpenoids, flavonoids, etc.). The strain-specific nature, ability to consume discreetly along with the dose-ability are the primary drivers for me when it comes to choosing vape pens. That said, I will definitely "dab" on special occasions or prior to any new Marvel movie!

Is there any room for good ol' bubble hash on the dispensary shelves anymore?

There is always room for good ol' bubble hash. Having first built Keef Cola with a base of bubble hash, it will always hold a special place in our hearts! It, along with the newer, hybridized techniques, produces amazing product for the purists out there!
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for
Contact: Thomas Mitchell