High Country: Granola goes green with Wise Bar
Last month, I introduced you to Sopris Health & Wellness, citing their launch as part of the current CBD craze sweeping the country. The following weekend, I found an Elevated Elixirs sandwich board promoting on-site CBD infusions to its kombucha at the Basalt Sunday Market. A few days later, I did a double take at Local Coffee House when I saw a Wise Bar display to the right of the register stamped with the words “CBD-Infused; delicious organic ingredients; vegan/gluten free; compostable.”
The non-THC cannabis trend has already found its way into juice bars, natural food stores and vegetarian cafés in larger legal cities, but now is officially underway in the Roaring Fork Valley. I reached out blindly on the Wise Bar website (wise-bars.com) to learn more, received a note back from Chris Dominick and promptly set up a meeting at Local to talk about his new company.
With a day job working for an area land trust nonprofit, Dominick, 27, started our conversation with the disclaimer that the idea for Wise Bar was actually that of his younger brother, Josh Dominick.
“We’ve always appreciated the health benefits of cannabis. It originally hatched as a brand of THC-infused granola bars because we wanted to have an edible that wasn’t sugary garbage that also worked as an energy bar,” Dominick explains. “We knew from the beginning it was going to be gluten-free, raw and vegan, but super tasty. And it had to be effective for our outdoor lifestyle.”
The Dominicks, who grew up in Denver and now live in Carbondale, spent holidays and summers visiting their grandmother, who lives in Aspen. Wise Bar first started as a takeover of her kitchen, of which Dominick says, “We would just go up there when we had time. … She had the food processors and gear we needed and didn’t mind us making a complete mess.”
He adds, “Once we got the recipes down, we realized it was something we could feasibly turn into a business. We invested in our own equipment and continued to experiment at home, but realized if we wanted to start selling bars, we were going to need a commercial kitchen.”
The Dominicks found an industrial space to rent in Glenwood Springs last fall and have since added their childhood friend Ryan Nuccio, who also works on the cultivation team at Silverpeak’s High Valley Farm, to the team. They tapped Carbondale artist Chris Hassig to create the brand’s identity and website, but when his rate exceeded their budget, they gave him an ownership stake.
Together, the four-man team of founders is burning the midnight CBD oil to crank out bars in five flavors: Cashew Lemon Ginger, Peanut Butter & Jam, Tropical Blastoff, Mexican Chocolate and Apple Pie. Each bar is packed with 25mg of CBD, sourced from Colorado Cultivars, an organic hemp farming co-op in Boulder. The certified organic and fair trade ingredients like oats, dates and almonds, mango, pineapple and coconut are ordered in bulk through International Harvest.
Wise Bar’s CBD line is available in Aspen at Local Coffee House and Aspen Shakti, Heirlooms and Confluence Coffee Café in Basalt and True Nature Healing Arts in Carbondale.
Retailing for $9, Dominick admits, “That’s a lot of money for a health bar, but we hope that people recognize the quality of the ingredients that go into each one, the quality of cannabis we use and the fact our packaging is completely compostable. We didn’t want to skimp out on the cost of anything and are really proud of the fact that our bars are made by hand in the valley.”
You can also find Wise Bar at the third annual Lead With Love Summit (Oct. 25 to 28) where they are the organization’s first-ever cannabis brand sponsor. As a “1 Percent For The Love” partner, one percent of Wise Bar sales during the conference will support Lead With Love’s Leadership, Wellbeing and Service initiatives with the Wise guys present to offer up samples during daily snack breaks between sessions.
“We (also) discovered Wise Bar at our favorite Aspen coffee shop, Local Coffee House and were really excited to see a CBD-only edible that was local to the valley. Both of our teams are very small with big hearts, so in speaking to them, we found a lot of synergies,” says Lead With Love program director Nicole Lindstrom. “We can’t wait for our attendees to try their product and meet the creators!”
“It’s a huge exposure opportunity for us and it takes some courage on their part. They are willing to say, ‘This is something that we know is important for wellness,’” Dominick says. “We’re at a point now where it just makes sense for cannabis to be incorporated holistically into your daily routine versus medicines that treat one symptom.”
While the CBD lifestyle has finally arrived at altitude, also look for Wise Bar’s THC line this winter when it’s slated to launch on shelf in local dispensaries and beyond.
Katie Shapiro can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @kshapiromedia
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Inside Inmam Family Wines in the Russian River AVA.