Newstrike Brands Ltd (CVE:HIP) Site Tour: Up Cannabis Cultivation Rocks Out in the Free World!
Newstrike Brands Ltd (CVE:HIP) (OTCMKTS:NWKRF) (FRA:0N8) CEO Jay Wilgar shows viewers the company’s Lincoln, Ontario greenhouse facilities, which are home to Up Cannabis, a licensed producer and Newstrike subsidiary. Up Cannabis is building its brand through music and made waves when it partnered with Canadian rock legends The Tragically Hip. The band’s music informs every step of the growing process at Up Cannabis. Bassist Gord Sinclair helped name Up Cannabis strains such as “Moon” while other strains like “Meridian” and “50” reference The Hip’s extensive song catalogue. The band’s music is played in the company’s greenhouses and Wilgar explains the beneficial effect music has on plant growth. The company’s Brantford facility is expected to produce 2,000 kilos of dried flower annually while its Lincoln greenhouse will produce 40,000 kilos each year. From cultivation to packaging, Newstrike is a top-tier producer and viewers get a look at that expertise with a tour of the company’s extraction room. Working within Canada’s restrictive advertising regulations, Newstrike is creating alternative products, such as soaps and cosmetics that contain parts of the cannabis plant but not THC and CBD, to build Up Cannabis brand awareness.
Jay Wilgar, CEO: This is one of the most unique partnerships, I think, you could get. You’re bringing together one of the most iconic groups of Canadians in history with what is one of the most exciting times in business in Canada. So bringing the two together here at Up Cannabis was certainly very exciting.
So it’s been a really unique partnership. Gord Sinclair from the band, as well as some of the other guys actually helped name these particular strains. Our high THC strain is called Meridian, which of course is “Hundredth Meridian,” 50 “Fifty Mission Cap.” So music’s a part of this operation.
We’ve been playing music to the plants since we first started here [music plays]. I think it’s a great thing for the plants, you know, it’s not just us, there’s been a lot of studies that link plants and music together.
This is the Brantford site, a smaller site of course than some of the other ones that you see across Canada, but from a productivity point of view, and certainly from a quality point of view, the product that we are able to get out of this facility is exceptional.
[Inhale] And if you just squeeze that and you feel the density of it, that to me, that to me is amazing. A lot of good stuff coming out of these plants.
The grow capacity in Brantford is 9,000 square feet. We can expect 2,000 kilograms of dried bud per year. Whereas in this facility it’s more in line with 40,000 kilograms per year.
The area that we’re sitting in here is about 60,000 square feet of head house and then in the actual greenhouse itself, you’ve got about 168,000 square feet. We’re doubling that, as you’ll see in the construction on the other side. So in total, the entire facility runs at about 500,000 square feet.
This greenhouse was built 12 years ago and it was purpose built at the time to grow orchids. It’s an automated system, the plants on these trays. What you’re seeing here is the second of the greenhouse. With that light density, we’re getting very close to simulating what would traditionally be an indoor grow. These are clones of our Gems plants. The roots are starting to come through nicely, these are very healthy looking little guys.
Today we have about 150,000 plants that are growing in the greenhouse itself. [laughter] Nice. And we are now at full run rate. To put it into perspective, this facility really only got its first small clone plants brought here last June. So in 9 months we’ve been able to completely overhaul everything that goes on here and double the size of the facilities.
Here we are in a Health Canada Level 10 vault. It’s $12 million worth of product in here. A lot of stuff has been shipped already, we’re having difficulty even keeping up with the demand in Canada right now, so we’re shipping as quickly as we can. We can store upwards of $100 million worth of product. Trevor here has some very high-value product.
Trevor: This is one kilo of CBD resin concentrate. In Canada right now, that is worth about $60,000.
Jay Wilgar: Look at how thick that is [chuckles].
Trevor: This room is a Class 1, Division 2 explosion-rated room. So right now with CO2 extraction, we start with dried flower. We mill it, we then put it into our vacuum oven to decarboxylate it. The product then moves in to our CO2 extractors. So we take the extracted material, we flood it in ethanol at cryo temperatures for 24 hours, we filter it, and then put it into our rotovap. That’s a THC run that will be approximately 75 percent pure THC.
Jay Wilgar: Isn’t that crazy? That is awesome.
Trevor: We’re beginning to manufacture a vape cartridge. This one here is a disposable. This takes about half a millilitre of oil and you inhale off of this and it’s ready to use.
Jay Wilgar: We do work in a fairly restrictive branding and marketing environment and we are very much about creating brand and brand identity. We’re certainly looking at other alternative products, soaps, cosmetic-type products, and other things that contain parts of the cannabis plant. I think we’re seeing across the country a very broad support for cannabis as a plant, cannabis as a medicine, and cannabis as a recreational product. It’ll be really interesting to see how that market evolves over the next little while.
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