We talked with Alex Pasternack, EVP at world class MSO artisan cannabis brand binske
In the world of cannabis, the top brands are always working to raise the bar in terms of quality, packaging, and getting their messaging out there. Colorado based binske is considered one of the top brands in the world by implementing best in class extraction techniques, top-tier flower and incredibly intricate packaging art.
Founded in 2017 by Jake Pasternack, binske has continued to grow at an exponential rate since it’s inception. I talked with his brother Alex Pasternack who is EVP over at binske about their meteoric rise and what the future of the brand looks like.
Marijuana Retail Report: You originally went to school for engineering, but then went on to make a clothing company and an app. What made you want to take the leap into the cannabis industry?
Alex Pasternack: Entrepreneurship runs in my blood, and I’ve always had big ambitions beyond following the traditional corporate path. Ever since I was young, I’ve had an insatiable curiosity about the ways things work, which led me to study engineering for many years. This naturally translated into a deep interest in the mechanics of business, which brought me to this point.
My brother Jake founded binske in late 2016 in Colorado, and I joined him shortly thereafter since the opportunity seamlessly combined my love for cannabis and my thirst for new ventures. We were pioneers, carving a path for ourselves in a growing industry.
Within the first 18 months in business, we signed our first licensing deal and won Leafly’s Edible Brand of the Year award, which really put us on the map…and we’ve been on an upward trajectory ever since.
We’re a family business at heart and my brother and I are energized by the massive cultural shift that’s allowing cannabis to make it to the forefront of society on a truly global scale.
Marijuana Retail Report: Where does the name binske come from?
Alex Pasternack: Our love for cannabis started as a family affair, as my first experiences were shared with my older brother, Jake. We playfully turned the word “doobie” into “doobinskey” which we later shortened to “binske” (the “e” is silent, like in “smoke”).
When we created our own premium cannabis brand, we committed to embodying that connectedness we felt when we first shared a “doobie” together many years ago.
Marijuana Retail Report: The design of binske packaging is absolutely breathtaking. Basically, design you would normally see in an art gallery vs a cannabis brand. Where does the art come from?
Alex Pasternack: Part of what makes binske a staple in the luxury cannabis space is the packaging – our unique artistry has become the backbone of our brand and elevates our product differentiation in a highly competitive space.
We commissioned a well-known artist out of the UK to create a set of collages for us, which we have since ‘deconstructed’ pulling our favorite plants and animals out of it, which is what we use throughout the brand on a daily basis.
Marijuana Retail Report: Branding is only half of the battle; the other half is product. What goes into your R&D when deciding what makes it on store shelves?
Alex Pasternack: Absolutely. Our farm-to-table products are made with premium artisanal ingredients from all over the world — while driven by a single ambition: to make the best-tasting and highest quality cannabis products anywhere. binske represents a complexity of experiences through every bite, sip or hit. How? When selecting optimum ingredients, it is essential to understand where, how, and when such ingredients are harvested. Since our founding, we have invested considerable time learning these ideal conditions.
Of course, seasonality plays a part in product development as well: Having a deep understanding of the cannabis growth cycle, and ideal environmental conditions of each natural ingredient, has been key. binske embraces a true hands-on, homegrown culture, while sourcing the best raw ingredients from around the world. Our specialized knowledge and strategic harvesting decisions have translated into impressive business growth.
Overall, the binske product line is grounded by the human connection, in an ode to what Jake and I continue to share with each other to this day.
Marijuana Retail Report: Let’s say a new dispensary hits you guys up, what’s the onboarding process like?
Alex Pasternack: Since cannabis is not federally legal, each state operates a bit differently from one another. For the most part, we are a wholesaler, where we sell our products to dispensaries, who then mark them up to the retail price.
When we get approached by a new store, we first want to understand how many staff members they have, and how many locations (if more than one). From there, we send samples for them to try and enjoy. Smart store owners and managers won’t carry products until they know their staff likes them and wants to sell them. After we get positive feedback on the products, we set up budtender training to educate their staff on our brand and product line. From here, we then have the marketing team come in and swag the staff out in our gear, as well as decorate the store with some in-store branding and signage. Then, the initial order is placed and products start selling. We try to have PADs (patient appreciation days, or promo days) where we run a promotion and have a staff member in the store talking about the brand and the promotion we are running that day.
Marijuana Retail Report: My personal favorite of yours is your live resin. What do you consider to be your signature product and why do you think that is?
Alex Pasternack: I would have to agree, we are probably most well-known for our live resin products. But what’s so unique about our business is that we have different product categories leading the charge for us in different states. For example, in Colorado it’s live resin products (vapes and concentrates). In Nevada, it’s flower. In Florida, it’s flower and edibles. In California, Michigan, and Washington, we are still working to get the full product line available, which we aim to have over the coming months.
Marijuana Retail Report: You guys originated in Colorado but have since expanded into multiple additional markets. What was the drive to enter these markets specifically?
Alex Pasternack: As of last week, we’ve actually expanded into five additional markets. In 2017, we started to see real demand for our products in other states. After we were up and running in CO, we thought NV made the most sense for a variety of reasons. The FL market was always one that we were excited about since Jake and I were born and raised in Miami, so being able to provide our premium line to friends and family back home is a dream come true. CA is obviously the largest legal market in the world. We just launched in both MI and WA, and are very bullish on those markets as well.
Marijuana Retail Report: Are there other markets that interest you? If so, which ones and why?
Alex Pasternack: Right now, binske is sold in six states, with major expansion plans on the horizon. We recently built out a BD department for the company, and are aiming to be in 15+ markets including international markets by the end of 2022.
The NY/NJ market is one that we are eyeing very closely. We also are very interested in PA, MA, AZ, IL, and others.
Marijuana Retail Report: If you consume yourself, what is your favorite method?
Alex Pasternack: I like flower during the day, and edibles at night. I have had some on/off sleeping issues for most of my life, and an edible at night allows me to have incredible deep sleep.
But my preferred method of medicating is via flower products.
Marijuana Retail Report: Do you have a favorite strain?
Alex Pasternack: Really into Cakes and Runtz, as well as fruity strains like banana and watermelon.
Marijuana Retail Report: What’s next for you guys?
Alex Pasternack: We just announced the next iteration of binske’s premium cannabis products, which now includes Intelligentsia Coffee (Intelligentsia), as a key ingredient.
Our new coffee-infused chocolate bars will be the latest addition to a robust line of premium cannabis chocolate products, all of which are made with one of the rarest, most prized varieties of cacao, exclusively sourced by binske from the heart of Peru.
Cannabis and coffee are the ultimate combination, packing a one-two punch of flavor and feeling, and we’re excited to tap into this new market with a partner that has a passionate and loyal customer base like our own.
Our product roll out is going to begin in January 2022.
Next year, we are also kicking our global expansion into high-gear, with the goal of making binske a household name in the years ahead. To make this vision a reality, we plan to introduce innovative new product offerings and exciting partnerships that will take our brand to the next level.
To find out more about binske please visit www.binske.com