We’re excited to kick off a new blog series that features the Operational Manager and lead extractor + formulator here at California Craft, Chase Allen. Over the course of five articles, we’re exploring Chase’s backstory, his expertise in creating CBD tincture, exploring the difference between full-spectrum CBD and isolates, and much more.
Today, we’re kicking off with Chase’s introduction into the CBD world and his role at California Craft. Enjoy!
Thanks for talking with us, Chase! Tell us about your role here.
Maybe not the simplest of questions, but my technical title would be Operational Manager. I create and oversee all of the physical processes that we undertake for [CBD] extraction and formulation. That includes processes taking in the biomass, putting the raw plant material through extraction, filtration, and then developing that concentrate into all of our different product SKUs.
Why did you choose CBD? What brought you into the field?
It’s been a confluence of a lot of my different life paths, all coming together. I have always been interested in cannabis and was a hobby grower throughout my 20s. I started with a little “closet grow” in Michigan, which was under Proposition 215 back then. I ended up coming out to California and doing an indoor and outdoor run to get experience with the plant. While I was in California, I was training to be a chef under some very talented chefs in the Bay Area. I was focusing on craft and quality, learning how to source high-quality ingredients and bring them together into a refined, yet approachable California Cuisine.
I was an Environmental Studies major in school, but left early to pursue my love of farming. I went to a permaculture organic farm down in the Caribbean and learned a lot about alternative growing methods and farming – so it all came together when I went back to school and to finish my degree for plant ecology. I ended up in Asheville, North Carolina – a place I’ve always loved – and got a job on a native plant nursery / hemp farm. That sparked my love for the cannabis plant again.
I entered the CBD world by launching Green River Botanicals with a couple of business partners, Sarah and Brad Martin. Our focus was highlighting the farmer and holding ourselves to a standard – in an industry that [at the time] kind of lacked any sort of oversight. So we were creating our own standards of business and operations, which the industry still needs. We ended up getting that farm USDA certified organic. That certification carries a lot of weight – it’s something that I respect, and that I always push myself to reach as a benchmark for the products that we make and the ingredients that we source.
Tell us about your experience going from a chef to a product formulator. How did coming from the culinary world shape you, and lead you to become the formulator you are today?
There’s actually a lot of similar concepts and processes as a chef and a product formulator. What’s beautiful about product formulation is that you’re specifically crafting a product that will help someone, and part of that I draw from my cooking experience – making sure that all of your ingredients, that you put into a product or on a plate, are the highest quality that you can find. That’s my easiest shortcut to making anything taste good or making any formula effective. Only select the best, most potent ingredients and avoid using any fillers.
That’s definitely a parallel that I’ve seen much of in the formulation world, where you get more scientific. There’s a lot more lab tests involved. In that part of formulation, I pull from my experience in the STEM world of my college education – but another part that comes through from my chef experience is that you’re making the same dish, the same way, five nights a week and thirty times a night. You learn to adjust: you look at the ingredients you have, and you look at the specific dish and plate that’s on tap, and you adjust your technique so that you’re producing the same result every single time. That comes through in formulation as well – making sure that in every bottle, all the ingredients balance in a way where the customer will get the same result as when they bought it six months or a year ago.
Very cool, man. Which of our tinctures is your favorite?
Oh, that’s hard – I’m biased since I developed all the flavors, so it’s a hard question. On most days, I’d say the Lemon Mint. I’m probably the biggest fan of the Vanilla Lavender when it feels right, especially for a nighttime vibe.
Do you have any personal CBD stories that have really touched you?
I was selling product at one point – vending and promoting at art fairs and festivals. This elderly woman approached me and said that she had this crippling arthritis, where she couldn’t touch her forefinger to her thumb. She had bought our topical salve and started using it during this multi-day festival. She came back, and she was moving her hands again – and it was so amazing. These things are just mind-blowing to me. I’ve always believed in the medicinal properties of cannabis, and until you’re on the front lines talking to people everyday, it’s hard to believe all of the different things.
As I mentioned earlier, my mom has also started taking it. I knew that CBD was going to start taking off when that happened, too. She has a frozen shoulder and has been dealing with muscle pain injuries and couldn’t sleep at all. She told me that she needed something for the pain and to sleep, and I told her that even though I’ve been saying this for two years, I think it’s time for her to try CBD. She finally did, and she called me back and told me that it put her to sleep. Just two drops did it. So amazing.
This is just the start of Chase’s incredible amount of knowledge about the CBD industry. Now that we’re familiar with his history and love for the space, get ready for more advice and insights – the next part of our series is coming soon, so keep an eye out on our blog!