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Hemp Grower: Kadenwood LLC Acquires Colorado-Based EcoGen Laboratories

Kadenwood LLC, a newly launched brand development firm with eyes on the global hemp industry, announced today its acquisition of EcoGen Laboratories, a Colorado-based CBD product manufacturer that drew $63 million in revenue last year. For the early days of the U.S. hemp industry, this is a big deal.

Garrett Bain, chief commercial officer for Kadenwood, told Hemp Grower that the company has experienced a fast entry into the hemp marketplace, with an emphasis on CBD products and wellness brands. Earlier this year, Kadenwood launched LEVEL SELECT, a new brand of CBD oil drops that come in 1,200-, 2,400- and 5,000-mg sizes.

“With that experience, they really wanted to build a vertical story,” Bain said. “Having access to the genetics and processing to support the portfolio of brands was really a priority for the executive group at Kadenwood.”

It’s a team that’s established itself with CPG bonafides. Kadenwood executives hail from King’s Hawaiian and Kraft. The chair of Kadenwood’s board comes from LifeLock.

Kadenwood’s agricultural vertical, Kadenwood Biosciences, will be re-branded as EcoGen Biosciences—a wholly owned Kadenwood subsidiary.

Bain, along with Kadenwood general manager Jason Waggoner, will relocate to EcoGen’s headquarters in Grand Junction, Colo., and take on leadership roles with the new executive team. In Grand Junction, EcoGen has been building out its new, industrial-scale 20-acre property.

“When it’s all said and done, it will house everything,” Facilities Development Director Keith Ehlers told the Grand Junction Sentinel. “A large contingent of our operations and sales and administrative offices. It will have our entire processing line through there, which does include everything from extraction all the way through to final products. We’ll have a distribution center because we’re a very large-scale operation.”

Now, consider it the home of EcoGen Biosciences.

“EcoGen is known for high-quality products globally,” Bain said. “They have significant scale, which is important because we do believe that the market will continue to gain momentum. We believe that scale is going to be a necessary piece of the strategy.”

The resulting company is pegged at a $250-million valuation, though Kadenwood has not disclosed the amount of its EcoGen acquisition.

With the global pandemic still throwing uncertainty into commercial supply chains and with the FDA still positioned squarely on the fence of federal CBD regulation, there’s plenty of work cut out for U.S. hemp verticals.

“The business is right-sized for success,” Bain said. “We’ll be investing to ensure that the growth is sustainable and that we have the proper processes and facilities in place to sustain a growing market. We believe that with additional guidance from the FDA coming hopefully in the coming months, we’ll have a solid platform that we’ve invested into to carry the business and facilitate growth in 2021.”