Ex-SunRype Chair Bets on Experience to
be The Next Billion Dollar Licensed Producer
About Jeremy Szafron
Mr. Szafron has years of experience in the financial markets as both a private investor and a business journalist. He has been actively involved in the this space, considered one of Canada’s first medicinal journalists, covering everything from medical research to public and private companies.
Canada is entering a new phase going from speculation to actual sales, and as we trade in square feet of facility to actual sales, investors need to think about what are the drivers in evaluation.
This week on TGSP we feature a late-stage ACMPR applicant with a unique story. If you know anything about British Columbia’s agriculture sector, its hard not to know the “Geen” families name. Leveraging four generations of BC farming, Speak Easy was founded by the family behind a huge Canadian success story — Sun-Rype Ltd.
A proud 4th-generation BC farmer, Marc Geen has also been active in the legal medicinal industry for over 10 years, consulting, complying with and participating in various MMAR, MMPR, and ACMPR programs.
As we witness the industry mature, its important to have experience in large scale commercial farming so we can transition into actual sales and execution, which Marc definitely brings to the table with him and his families farming legacy.
Canadian Farming Royalty
“Our family bought this land over 20 years ago because its the best agricultural land in Canada and we now know the land like the back of our hand”
- CEO, Marc Geen
If you’re Canadian, its safe to say that you have heard of SunRype. You’ve either drank their juice, watched their commercials, or have seen their product on too many store shelves to count. Leveraging four generations of farming experience we introduce you to the Geen families next chapter: Speakeasy.
A proud 4th-generation BC farmer, Marc Geen has also been active in the industry for over 15 years, consulting, complying with and participating in various MMAR, MMPR, and ACMPR programs. As we witness the industry maturing, its easy to understand that you must have experience in large scale commercial farming to transition into actual sales and execution, which Marc definitely brings to the table with him and his families farming legacy.
Food & Beverage
May 13. 1946
BC Fruit and Growers Association
Canada & United States
Juice, Snacks, Fruit Snacks
Cider, Sparkling Tea
$135.1 million CAD (2007)
Top 3 LP’s
You’ve likely heard of Tilray— a Canadian medical licensed producer that has risen 50% since its IPO on July 19, 2018. Despite only recently going public, Tilray is the only large licensed producer with a positive operating margin. Canopy is the leader on the medical side and they continued dominating the existing medical scene as their patient count increased by another 7% to 74,000 from the last quarter. Aurora is one of the largest licensed producers in the world with operations in 14 countries. With current production capacity potential, Aurora would be the largest producer with its projected ability to produce 570,000 kg per year. All three are in the business of producing massive quantities of product.
Top 3 Speakeasy Competitors
As Easy waits to receive their inevitable license, I thought I would provide some comparable’s in the premium space currently operating. Hiku’s strategy is to focus on retailing and branding, coining themselves as the “Starbucks” of the industry. Canopy acquired Hiku for $308 million, in a push to add an adult recreational brand— proving the value chain extends far beyond production to include marketing, retailing, adjacent products and experience. Supreme focuses on the premium segment within the dried flower space, aiming to produce high-quality product and differentiate itself from the low-cost producers and black market products. 48North has taken a different approach to building a high-value brand— its business is targeted around the female health and wellness market, which is under-served by other LPs focused on marketing to males.
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Experienced Growers = Massive Margins
“This plant is the furthest thing from a commodity, we’re not interested in racing to the bottom in producing low-grade cheap product”
- CEO, Marc Geen
We must look to our neighbours down south, specifically California, to see where the consumer market is going. The single trend that stands out the most in mature markets comes down to one thing: quality. I’ve interviewed countless people on this topic, and when it comes to producing a quality premium product, farms will always be better than factories. Small-batch flower is a lot harder to grow, but Speakeasy’s collective team of growers with countless years of experience should position them into the hearts of enthusiasts. In fact, its hard to compare the the flower of other LP’s to small-batch production— untouched trichomes, rich flavours and high THC product. I have yet to see premium product from any LP’s in Canada, typical flowers are too dry and you almost feel like a guinea pig of trials to these companies. On the podcast, Marc and Brian talk about the higher profit margins that premium flower can generate. As one consumer told me, “I like good wine, good food, why wouldn’t I want the best bud?”
BC Grower’s Collective
“We have the best growers in BC, and BC is the best production area in the world. So we can honestly say, we have the best growers in the world”
- CEO, Marc Geen
Perhaps one of the most unique differentiators that Speakeasy has, is its growers collective. The company represents a collective of the top growers in Canada and the growers are there because they are passionate about their shared commitment for producing the best product. Collectively, they have decades of knowledge and experience that range from growing techniques (higher yields and higher margins). What makes them excited? Each grower can operate freely to produce their tried-and-tested strains under the best conditions. Speakeasy will take care of the rest and all the yellow tape that comes with that, allowing growers to do what they do best — grow.
Existing Distribution Relationships
“Whether you’re farming or running a company, there are two things that matter: the quality of the people and quality of product”
- CEO, Marc Geen
Marc’s 15 years in the ACMPR space has allowed him to create unique relationships within the community. These great relationships with dispensaries who are transitioning into the legal and regulated market are invaluable, as this company is not looking to be the largest producing LP who only talks about massive kilogram volumes and square footage. Premium flower can see up to $180 more a pound than the market rates of mass-produced flower and consumers go mad for it.
Room To Grow,
New Outdoor Potential
“We’re excited about moving from speculation to actual sales, this is where our team's experience will shine”
- CEO, Marc Geen
The area Speakeasy is operating in is called the Golden Mile. It is praised for its ideal climate conditions, its a paradise for the agriculture sector. The company sits on 290 acres and is able to grow outdoor strains for the use of extraction — and that’s a ton of product potential. The state-of-the-art indoor facility is where you will see top-shelf product being produced by their collective of growers and they’re working on the foundation of the next facility. Speakeasy will continue to invest in the R&D of new strains and better products to cater to the demands of the highly-discerning market of premium product. We must remember, the smarter and more educated the consumer becomes, the better quality the product will have to be. New outdoor regulations could potentially position Speakeasy to become one of the largest growers, at over 2,600,000 square feet of planned outdoor production area in its phase one plantation.
The differentiator: Marketing & Brand Advantage
“It all starts now and the corevalue to our brand is authenticity”
- CEO, Marc Geen
Speakeasy is not a factory, they are a farm which was family-founded and community-run and this may be their competitive edge. When you think of existing licensed producers most have been operating within the medical framework and by no-fault of their own are branded as medical companies. Some may argue this point, but I don’t think a recreational-branded LP exists as of yet. If Speakeasy continues to brand themselves as a quality producer and not a mass-quantity producer I think they will be in a unique position. The days of bringing a nice bottle of wine to a dinner party in California has been replaced by bringing the best flower they can get their hands on and sharing it.
Disclaimer: Always do your own due diligence and consult a licensed investment professional before making an investment. This story should not be used as a basis for making any investment.
SpeakEasy Cannabis Club Ltd. is a late stage ACMPR applicant that is leveraging three generations of farming experience and the largest land package of LP in Canada with 290 acres of the best agricultural land in British Columbia’s Southern interior region; known as the Napa Valley of weed country. SpeakEasy is disrupting the cultivation model by aggregating British Columbia’s best craft growers under one umbrella to produce the highest quality cannabis targeted at the highly sought after millennial recreational market.
SpeakEasy has submitted its extensive evidence package to Health Canada for its current 10,000 square feet facility and has commenced construction on its 80,000 square feet expansion facility. This 80,000 square foot facility will include growing, extraction and genetics labs.