Let’s Talk Hemp: Industry Veteran Garrett Bain Takes the Reins at EcoGen Biosciences
By Steven Hoffman
Following its recent acquisition by hemp consumer products leader Kadenwood Brands, newly renamed EcoGen Biosciences is set to make its mark as a world leader in hemp-derived ingredients and extracts and hemp genetics from its home base on Colorado’s Western Slope.
Combined, the companies – Kadenwood Brands based in Newport Beach, CA, and EcoGen Biosciences, headquartered in Grand Junction, CO, have created an integrated supplier – from genetics, farming and processing to finished branded products – worth approximately $250 million, reported Reuters.
The merger helps revitalize EcoGen and the local Colorado economy – earlier in the year the company, formerly named EcoGen Laboratories, had announced a restructuring due to the Covid-19 pandemic and slowed sales due to regulatory uncertainty around hemp-derived CBD.
The new owners, however, think the time is right, so much so that two of Kadenwood’s senior officers – Chief Commercial Officer Garrett Bain and General Manager Jason Waggoner – have relocated to Colorado to help integrate operations.
Formerly of Kentucky-based CBD processor Gencanna, Bain is well known in the hemp community. “I’ve had a great opportunity to work with all stages of the value chain and I bring an industry perspective,” said Bain. “The team at Kadenwood, including Co-founder and CEO Erick Dickens – who has managed household brands such as King’s Hawaiian and Kraft Foods – brings a lot of experience from the consumer packaged goods (CPG) side of the space. Together, we round out the vertical, expanding the company into production and the processing space, as well,” he said.
With 400 acres that the company owns, EcoGen works with its own proprietary genetics and with other farming partners to be able to provide the biomass needed to offer consistent, high quality product throughout the year, said Bain. Conscious of the benefits of organic farming, Bain also mentioned that EcoGen is applying organic growing practices on acreage it farms, and is partnering with a farm in California to grow organic acreage, too.
“We provide one of the largest global platforms you’ll find in the hemp-derived CBD space. We are vertically integrated, from genetics to farming to processing and all the way through to branded finished goods.”
Bain pointed out that Kadenwood’s Level Select consumer brand of hemp-derived CBD products has been gaining traction, growing 300% over the past year. The products can be purchased on Level Select’s website and in over 3,000 retail locations, projected to grow to 7,000 retail locations by the end of the year, according to Bain. Bain mentioned the company has ambitious rollout plans, including other brands in development, as well.
In addition to building Kadenwood’s own consumer brand portfolio, EcoGen Biosciences continues to serve hemp manufacturers throughout the world. “The EcoGen brand is trusted globally. We’re known for quality and scale to serve some of the largest clients around the world, and we are investing to increase scale, capacity, and quality, from bulk ingredients to isolates, distillates, to white label manufacturing,” Bain said.
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Steven Hoffman is Managing Director of Compass Natural, providing brand marketing, PR, social media, and strategic business development services to natural, organic, sustainable and hemp/CBD products businesses. Compass Natural serves in PR and programming for NoCo Hemp Expo and Southern Hemp Expo, and Hoffman serves as Editor of the weekly Let’s Talk Hemp Newsletter, published by We are for Better Alternatives. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.