This post originally appeared on our partner’s media site, MJ Brand Insights, here.
Will flower always reign supreme? In recent months, BDSA has tracked flower dollar sales to be softening in some mature markets. For example, Oregon and Colorado show a decline in monthly flower dollar sales of ~15% between May and September 2021. However, premium flower brands are still showing robust performance across BDSA- Retail Sales Tracking markets (AZ, CA, CO, FL, IL, MA, MD, MI, MO, NV, OR and PA).
So what makes a premium flower brand successful? Marketing, brand recognition, and distribution are key to building a successful premium brand, but we cannot avoid the fact that it all starts with high-quality bud. Using BDSA’s Wholesale Pricing tool, developed in partnership with Apex Trading, we have identified some of the basic trends that correlate with the highest flower prices at wholesale, as well as five premium flower brands that are crushing it in BDSA Retail Sales Tracking legal markets.
The importance of potency
The savvy cannabis consumer knows that THC percentage is not everything and that factors like terpene levels and overall cannabinoid profiles play a huge role in the effects of a given sample of cannabis. That said, many consumers expect that a product selling at a premium price should have high THC levels. This expectation bears out in data from BDSA’s Wholesale Pricing tool. In the Oregon market, flower testing at ~30%+ THC sold for almost twice as much as flower testing in the ~15-20% range.
Grow mediums matter
Wholesale cannabis prices do correlate with the grow medium used in cultivation, with cannabis grown in basic soil bringing in the lowest wholesale prices in Colorado, with an average wholesale price of ~$100/lb. last month according to BDSA and Apex Wholesale Pricing data. In contrast, flower grown in craft coco hydroponic mediums had the highest average retail price, coming in at ~$1,160/lb. last month in Colorado. Flower grown in other synthetic mediums such as Grodan cubes and coco also was in high demand, along with cannabis grown in living organic soil.
Despite progress in trim tech, hand trimming is the way to go
The cannabis industry has seen huge advancements in machine trimming technology, such as the GreenBroz dry trimmer, which has been able to produce bud which sells for soaring prices at wholesale (averaging ~$740/lb. in Colorado last month). While the cost savings of these machines seem attractive, hand trimming still stands alone as the best way to produce flower for the premium price point. Hand-trimmed flower saw the highest wholesale price last month according to Apex and BDSA Wholesale Pricing data, with Colorado seeing average wholesale prices for hand-trimmed flower of ~$879/lb. and Oregon seeing average wholesale price of ~$1,600/lb.
Top 5 premium flower brands to watch from BDSA retail sales tracking markets
A legacy brand from the medical-only era, Fig Farms has been able to maintain a dominant position in the California market without compromising on quality. Working with a quiver of in-house exclusive genetics, Fig Farms brought in ~$16 million in flower dollar sales January-September 2021, making them a Top 10 ranked California flower bud by dollar sales.
With roots in the California medical market, Cookies has seen massive success in the Nevada cannabis market since their expansion into the state in late 2019, particularly with their high-end lines of indoor flower. Since their launch in the Nevada market, Cookies has become the number one ranked flower brand by dollar sales in BDSA’s NV Retail Sales Tracking, bringing in ~$20 million in flower sales in the state from January-September 2021.
Founded in 2014, Revolution Cannabis has had a focus on quality since their inception, producing indoor-grown, hand-trimmed flower. The brand has brought in ~$25 million in flower sales January-September 2021 according to BDSA’s IL Retail Sales Tracking, making them the number six ranked flower brand by dollar sales in the rapidly growing Illinois cannabis market.
Abundant Organics cultivates cannabis in living organic soil, and their attention to detail has paid off in the developing Arizona cannabis market. Abundant Organics has brought in ~$10 million in flower sales in January- September 2021, making them a top 10 ranked Arizona cannabis brand in the flower sector.
An indoor cultivator out of Oregon, Fr33dom Farms produces organic, hand-trimmed bud that has maintained a strong position in the mature Oregon market, with ~$2 million in flower sales for January-September 2021.
While it’s fun to leave our readers wanting more at the end of each article, we think this piece would not be complete without mentioning one of California’s most successful high-end flower brands…
Marketing itself as a “boutique” cannabis brand since their inception in 2014, Cannabiotix has continued to bring the heat needed to stay at the top of the nation’s largest legal cannabis market. With ~$28 million in flower sales for January-September 2021 in California, the southern California brand has been able to lock in the number three spot in the ranking of top-selling flower brands in the state.