Anticipating A Dopey Future At the SOMM Journal
A few years ago I speculated that if and when legalized, marijuana would be marketed by some in exactly the way high-end wine is marketed: based on terroir.
That day is here. The SOMM Journal, which has continued to improve in quality and to extend its relevance, published an article in its latest issue entitled “California Artisanal Hashish”. If it weren’t for the subject being a leaf grown with the expressed purpose of getting one high, the article could have been about artisanal winemakers crafting high-end wines from a unique terroir.
As California moves closer and closer to the inevitable legalization of commercial marijuana sales look for more and more of this kind of marketing and reporting. No product category is immune to the allure of the value-add.
There will be any number of ways to add value to the relatively simple mind-altering leaf: celebrity branding, unique packaging, scarcity just to name a few. But perhaps most important and what will be most ubiquitous among the value adding efforts will be selling the dope based on terroir or region of origin.
What’s notable about the SOMM Journal article on artisanal hashish is that I believe it is the first such article to appear in a high-end wine magazine that is aimed not merely to connoisseurs, but also to the wine trade. Furthermore consider that the SOMM Journal article also reminds us that with legalization will also come the need for Marijuana Somms who will help customers and guests choose just the right strain for smoking after dinner on the restaurant’s back terrace (or perhaps, it will be a before dinner toke).
The folks behind the SOMM Journal are preparing to launch a new magazine: The Clever Root, which “will explore the world of everything that grows: farm-fresh produce, heirloom fruits and vegetables, sustainably raised livestock, artisanal wines and spirits, and a smart, educational look at the cannabis industry.” The Artisanal Hashish article is something of a tease for the launch of the Clever Root in the Fall.
There is a great deal of speculation as to how legalized marijuana will effect sales of other vices, such as wine, beer and spirits. It will be interesting to look at Marijuana sales along side beer, wine and spirit sales in Colorado once we have two or three years of legalization under our belts. Suffice to say, the industry is watching this development very closely…as is the SOMM Journal and likely other wine-related magazines, journals and blogs.