Canada’s first craft cannabis test kitchen to open this summer in Vancouver

The team behind West Blvd Cannabis, from left: Brad Quevillon, Cayli Weinberg, Connor McNamee and Nico Sto Tomas.

By Chelsea Emode

Canada’s first craft cannabis facility, West Blvd Cannabis, has been approved by the City of Vancouver, and its Mount Pleasant test kitchen in is expected to release products this summer.

Mount Pleasant boasts a growing craft beer culture, a 94/100 walkability score and a wonderful community that West Blvd hopes to build relationships with, Nico Sto Tomas, West Blvd CMO, said in an email.

“The vision was to create a craft cannabis facility, similar to microbreweries, where consumers can visit the facility and purchase (or) consume cannabis from a dedicated front-of-house retail area,” Tomas said.

The research and development license they received in December 2021 will allow them to conduct real-time research into the reception of cannabis products by consumers under conditions from Health Canada.

“The ability to provide sensory testing amongst a controlled focus group is an incredibly valuable asset for West Blvd to better understand consumer preferences surrounding edible and ingestible cannabis products,” Tomas said.

He suggested prior to release, many major cannabis companies don’t do research into what consumers think about a product’s taste, look, smell or feel. The facility enables them to work with other cannabis companies by offering them that missing step and provide product validation through methodological research. They also offer manufacturing, packaging and labeling services.

Friends and founders of WBC – Connor McNamee, Tomas, Brad Quevillon and Cayli Weinberg – have combined their collective experience in food and beverage, product innovation, recipe creation and operating systems to create a West Coast cannabis experience that aims to revolutionize the Canadian cannabis and cuisine scene.

Looking forward, Tomas said that along with new brands, infused oils, honey and other products, in a post-COVID world, selling to customers directly from the facility and consumption lounges would be a goal.

“If cannabis consumption lounges are ever allowed, it would be amazing to open a cannabis-infused restaurant. But we are probably a long way away from that.”

READ MORE: Could Canada become the Napa Valley of cannabis tourism?

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