CBDistillery is more than just a brand with exceptional products and service, CBDistillery is on a mission to lead a #CBDMOVEMENT by providing the masses easy access to hemp-derived CBD products, widespread education, the latest industry research, and verified consumer testimonials. Says the company.
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AUTHOR: Heather Allman
PUBLISHER: CANNABIS LAW REPORT
CBDistillery- Special Report for National CBD Day, August 8, 2020
Interview with Chase Terwilliger, CEO of Balanced Health Botanicals
CBDistillery was founded in 2016 by a group of Colorado natives with the people’s best interests in mind. The founders saw that the emerging CBD industry was vastly overpriced and quickly becoming saturated with inferior products. This inspired the strong belief that people have a right to high-quality, fairly priced, U.S. grown, hemp-derived CBD products, so this brand set out on a mission to be the premier resource for CBD products and education.
Everyone involved, from the CBDistillery team to their loyal customers, has been directly impacted by CBD and works hard to spread the #CBDMOVEMENT. CBDistillery is one of the largest, fastest-growing, and cost-effective brands in the CBD marketplace today. They continue to be a leader of the industry in quality, safety, testing accuracy, and transparency.
On July 20, 2020, I talked with Chase Terwilliger, CEO of Balanced Health Botanicals, who operates CBDistillery, for a special National CBD Day discussion about the respected CBDistillery brand.
CLR: Tell me about CBDistillery.
CT: “CBDistillery is under the family or parent company, Balanced Health Botanicals with 3 brands, but CBDistillery is our lead horse. We started in 2016 with the same mission we have today: to provide an alternative path to a healthy and balanced life.
We really stood out in 2016 because there were only a couple of companies in the space. It felt like we were the first to discover what this product does per individual, and how it changed their lives.
I remember being at this company for about 90 days before the customer testimonials started rolling in, talking in depth about how CBD had changed them. It was solid word-of-mouth, with our clients wanting to tell others how the CBD was working, not only for them, but also for their family members and friends.
At that point in time, we had five people in the garage. We were all very different. We had people, like myself, from finance, some cannabis people, technology, and marketing. 2017 really started to grow the business, mainly online.”
CLR: What is the mission and vision behind CBDistillery?
CT: “Our vision is to bring CBD to the world. So really, if you look at our vision to bring CBD to the world and our mission to provide an alternative path to a healthy and balanced life, we needed to make CBD accessible. We needed high quality CBD, so people would trust the brand. And that’s exactly what we did.
We were the first ones to provide independent third party lab testing which has now become CBD industry standard. We have always provided those right on our website.
We took our prices in the premium category down 35-40% up to 80%, with 50% off just CBD products, to bring our high quality CBD down to a more accessible price point.
We have built a company that now has more than a hundred people, and we built the company and assembled our team off that vision, off that mission, and off all that encompasses the #CBDMOVEMENT. Really, trying to get CBD into as many people’s hands as possible. Accessibility means affordability. We had people research it through testing, as well as through clinical research —all in our quest to get CBD to the masses.”
In addition to our robust online sales, we also deal with 5500 different retailers, and now have an office in Europe. So we’ve expanded internationally.”
CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY AND POSITIVE IMPACT
In the April 2017 article “Keeping up With the customers: Why CSR is no longer enough that appeared in the Carbon Smart blog:
“With 80% of millennials expecting companies to declare their CSR strategy, how much better would it be if these companies could demonstrate a real positive impact? Old CSR strategies offered little for a brand’s approach as a whole – reporting on emissions or adhering to regulations are costly and necessary, but often do not offer much for enhancing a brand’s core character.
So, enter ‘Positive Impact’. Positive impact strategies offer a more holistic approach to improving a business’s overall mission. Such policies have quantifiable business benefits and positive social outcomes. But how do you implement a good positive impact strategy? The key is to be authentic.”
CLR: Tell me about the CBDistillery commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, or CSR, and positive impact.
CT: “Really, when you talk about CSR and social responsibility, there are really two parts to that for me. One is the ‘give back’ part. And we do give back; this month we’re giving to the NAACP –specifically their educational fund, Wounded Warriors, and other community organizations. We examine every month who we need to give back to, and we make it happen.
Also, on the other side, what’s our real responsibility to our consumers. What you’re going to see with us is how we’re different from other CBD companies, namely focus heavily on safety and quality. Anybody can say they have a high-quality product, and a lot of them do. But we can stand behind that. We’ve invested millions of dollars into clinical research, into GRAS studies of generally recognizable safe categories to put all products in.
We’ve invested heavily into adverse reactions; we have a dedicated service you can call if you have an adverse [CBD] event, 24/7, with a doctor, a nurse, toxicology experts. And we voluntarily submit these adverse reactions to the FDA. We’re currently involved in a study on CBD toxicity that used that FDA input to create safe consumer use and toxicology protocols.”
CLR: Please tell me about how CBDistillery specifically maintains transparency and accuracy beyond state regulations both internally and externally.
CT: “We firmly believe that’s our responsibility to the consumer: give them something that’s a safe, consistent CBD product. This commitment is very important to us because right now, there’s no regulation in this industry. Basically nothing. People can get questionable products. But with us, they can trust that with us, we have done our due diligence and the science behind it, the research. There’s a lot more to do here, but on the safety side, we have a dedicated Quality Assurance team, we are cGMP, which is certification in Current Good Manufacturing Processes.”
CLR: There can be two distinct kinds of CBD/cannabis: (1) compassionate or patient-centric, and (2) capitalistic or profit-centric. How do you reconcile the two in order to maintain a balance at CBDistillery?
CT: “We ultimately strive to have a patient-centric balance in all of our operations. We are starting more condition-based research. We’ve been centered around, for the last two years, the safety and consistency of our products. We’ve looked at a lot of CBD toxicology and stability testing. Now we’re hitting the next evolution.
We have anecdotal evidence, customer reviews and feedback on actual use, but we’re just beginning to research these clinical aspects, the condition based research is necessary and we’re working on it. Our initial focus was on quality and safety first, and we’ve checked that box. Having checked that box, twice, now we can move forward.”
CLR: What do you do in your line of work currently that you feel makes the most impact and why?
CT: “Having our cGMP certification and having our adverse reaction reporting in place. And it’s not hard to do these two things. It does take time and money, but you have the satisfaction of knowing that you did things the right way.”
Speaking of impact, you’ve been established since 2016. In case of the 2019 Vape crisis, tell me about your response.
CT: “Vape products, sold for the first two and a half years, and we stopped officially at the end of 2019. We voluntarily stopped sales, as it no longer was a good fit with our company’s wellness mission.“
In the June edition of CBD Business Times, 34% of respondent consumers have been using more Cannabis and CBD since the 2020 COVID-19 crisis began. In case of of our current crisis, Cannabis and CBD have been deemed, or defaulted to being, an essential service.
CLR: Why is quality CBD crucial right now more than ever, or what has been the business impact so far? Are you doing anything new or differently? How have you evolved?
CT: “We did pivot, but more along the line of business operation side, like remote work, extra safety protocols and state and federal mandates in our manufacturing facilities.
We’ve been fortunate in that 75% of our revenue has come from e-commerce sales, but we are helping and supporting our retail partners to the best of our ability in such ways as offering them better credit terms, allowing them to run promotions with discounted product rates. We worked with them to remain open as an essential service.
Mainly, because the other 25% of our revenue is composed mainly of independent retailers. Most of those 5500 brick and mortar retailers have their whole lives invested in these businesses, and we’re trying to support them in any way possible.”
CLR: Do you see any areas for improvement or suggestions for the rapidly expanding U.S. CBD space?
CT: “First and foremost, you need to regulate CBD as a dietary supplement and have the same applied throughout the industry. We are cGMP certified; most are only ‘GMP compliant.’ There are a lot of companies cutting corners when it comes to that, and that puts the whole industry in jeopardy. It is a costly process to be cGMP certified, but it’s a commitment to your customers.
If there was a product recall, for example, could these companies actually trace and address the people who got that product. Most of these recalls are voluntary; they are not mandated by the FDA.
We’ve never had to do a product recall, but if we had one, we can look at exactly which individual received that batch of product and notify them, instead of having to come out and recall the entire product line. So tracking of your product is the first key component for a quality, trusted CBD company.
The second key component that needs to happen in the industry, as I touched on earlier, is adverse event reporting. We’ve luckily never had a serious adverse event, but in the case that it happens, companies need to have a method of securely recording and reporting to the FDA. If they then see a trend, the FDA can and does step in, identify it, and address it.
With proper adverse event reporting, you’re doing a great service not only to the consumer, but to the industry. CBD is not a new product, it’s been around for centuries, but it’s only really been marketed the past two years. If we can’t identify a negative trend concerning CBD usage, we are not able to formulate solutions.”
THE TSUNAMI AND EDUCATION
CLR: What consumer demand do you see trending currently?
CT: “On the consumer side of things, what we’re seeing is a shift in demographics. When we first started, our demographic was between 25 and 35. Right now, we’re starting to see a 45+ tsunami coming in, where they are getting great benefits from the product, and they are using it daily for health.
As we focus on this new demographic, people really need to be educated on the science behind the CBD and what it is doing in your body and CBD. Once they understand that, they get it. And some consumers don’t find relief, so we offer a guarantee on all of our products.”
CLR: Tell me about the importance of CBD education to CBDistillery.
CT: “With our products, you’ll see a lot of information on the box. For our retail customers, they really like that. They like being able to learn about the endocannabinoid system, and to read every ingredient and every measurement in the product they will be consuming. what is it specifically used for and how much should I take. Simple questions for us, I guess, but for the consumer, it’s vital that they know what they’re getting, how to use it. and if it’s the ‘right’ product for them.
In addition, there’s a fold-out pamphlet in our product boxes that really walks consumers through everything CBD, like the ingredients, benefits, side effects, and if it will get you high. All important factors for consumers.
Being a digitally native company, we have hundreds of blog posts where we really give the customers all the information they desire and need, based on feedback and our consumers.
On our website, we can see outside visitors and search queries, so if a particular question or a specific issue keeps popping up, then we ask our content people to get on it and address those needs in an effort to answer lingering questions that consumers have.
Have we given them enough information? Is it the correct information? If not, we get our content writers to improve that area online. For the benefit of our consumers, reassessing our content is an internal audit of sorts.”
CLR: What is CBDistillery working on currently?
CT: “We carry three different kinds of CBD. We have had full spectrum and isolate; however, as of April 2020, we are now carrying broad spectrum CBD because we think that broad spectrum is the future. We have a new CBG product that’s been very popular. Minor cannabinoids are in our pipeline.
We have a competitive advantage being an e-commerce company. We can put new products out online, start to see and figure out the questions consumers have about the product, how they’re taking the product. Fully prepared for the minor cannabinoids to start playing a more major role.”
CLR: Beyond your cGMP certification, high testing standards, and dedicated CBD ‘Adverse Reaction’ phone line, give me one example of a future CBDistillery goal to show leadership in the ever-crowded CBD industry. What future impact does CBDistillery actively strive to make in the growing national CBD space?
CT: “That has a few answers. We want to be the leaders in ultimate quality and safety. That’s why we started our adverse event reporting two years ago. Some other competitors have just begun doing this recently.
We spent $100,000 during COVID-19 to maintain higher standards and to remain the leader in quality and safety. Our goal as a company continues to be the number one ‘value brand.’ We are and strive to be the everyday, value brand with the highest quality product.
Our CBD average price point on the shelf is 20-25% less than the market’s leading premium brand. We also have quality tested, safe products offered at our value price. So we’re a value brand with quality that is comparable to —or better— than a premium brand and offered at an accessible price point.”
WORDS OF WISDOM
CLR: What advice can you offer to other CBD companies, beyond adverse reaction reporting?
CT: “Take care of your customers, number one, and do what’s right. Ask yourself if you were selling this to your grandma, would you sell the product you’re producing right now. I don’t think a lot of CBD companies can answer ‘yes’ to that question. So make sure you have a safe, consistent product for individuals.
QR codes on CBD products are a legal label mandate. If a company is not including a QR code, they are going against one of our few CBD legal mandates, because that’s one of the few state requirements for labeling. We have attorneys on staff who review all labels and make sure we stay up to date in every state, that all compliance is met. And in today’s CBD industry, it’s a full time job and then some.
It seems easy, but companies should have apparent transparency on their company website, from order to delivery to consumption. Be customer-centric and safety- centric. If not, you’re not only potentially harming consumers, but also this CBD industry as a whole.”
CLR: What advice can you offer to CBD consumers?
CT: “For consumers, they should know there are a lot of good brands out there who are doing it the right way. But there’s one very simple thing that consumers can do, and that is to look for that orange Hemp Authority Seal.
This means we have voluntarily allowed a third party to come in and audit our facilities, audit our farms at the cultivation level, and the extraction level, the manufacturing level, and at the distribution level. This annual audit happens every two years. Sponsorship available, so not a financial drain necessarily. Orange seal means a consumer is getting a good, high quality product.”
CLR: If people only focus on one thing for National CBD Day on August 8, 2020, what should they do?
CT: “Take the time to search on YouTube to find out what the endocannabinoid system is and what it does. Just understand how CBD interacts with your body works and how CBD works.”
- Received self-affirmed Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status in accordance with the FDA safety guidelines
- GMP certified
- Transparent labeling with QR codes
- Wide variety of product offerings
- Third-party laboratory testing for each product
- Hemp Source: United States
- Price Per Mg CBD: $0.07 – $0.04
- Extract Types: Full Spectrum, Isolate, Broad Spectrum
- CBD Extract Method: CO2