Dale Katechis, whose eponymous and popular Dale’s Pale Ale revolutionized canned beers, has invested in and taken an active leadership role at Veritas Fine Cannabis, a boutique wholesaler specializing in cultivating and selling premium cannabis.
The company declined to share details about the investment.
“When I got a peek inside of Veritas, around every corner, it just whacked me in the head: It reminded me of the early days of Oskar Blues,” Katechis said, noting the Colorado-based brewery he started, first as a restaurant and later as a beer-brewing operation, in 1997.
“In cannabis there has been a race to the bottom, a race to the finish line, a race to get in before big corporations take over,” said Mike Leibowitz, chief executive officer of Veritas. “I feel like our brand has really set itself down a different path.”
Oskar Blues carved its niche by packaging Dale’s Pale Ale in a vehicle long-tied to the multinational beer Goliaths but not yet to craft brewers: the 12-ounce aluminum can.
“If for nothing else, I want them to grow the way they want to grow, but I might be able to raise my hand and offer some input on all the mistakes we made and keep Veritas from making the same ones,” Katechis said.
“During the pandemic, cannabis went from illegitimate and illegal to essential in many places,” she said. “That was the tipping point moment for a lot of executives to take a look at the space.”
Cultivation businesses are attracting talent from traditional agriculture; retail operations are pulling from businesses such as apparel; services firms are tapping into the tech world, said Karan Wadhera, managing partner of Casa Verde Capital, an investment fund co-founded by Snoop Dogg.
So instead of trying to resist the turning tide, investors and executives “want to have a horse in the race.”