When the cultivation team at Flowerhouse cut down its crop of Gas Face in September 2023, they had no idea just how popular the cultivar would prove to be in New York’s nascent adult-use cannabis market.
With 2023 sales now in the books, there’s no doubt: Nestled in the wooded hills of the Hudson Valley north of New York City, Flowerhouse’s 40-acre farm produced a new darling of the East Coast cannabis scene. Gas Face took home the No. 1 spot in terms of overall flower sales last year, beating out industry mainstays like Sour Diesel (a New York native in its own right), Runtz, and OG Kush.
The top-10 strains accounted for 20% of New York’s $41 million in flower sales in 2023. (All told, New York logged about $150 million in adult-use cannabis sales last year.)
So, what was it about Gas Face that drove the market wild?
While Flowerhouse New York earned its license in May 2022, the company’s origins are found much earlier—in West Coast operations where the current team developed an industry skill set that now serves them well. Founded by Sid Gupta and Linsay Villarreal, Flowerhouse brings a wealth of expertise to one of the U.S.’s newest cannabis markets. And while New York hit more than its fair share of regulatory speed bumps, the Flowerhouse team said that an overall pro-business environment anchored by the largest city in the country is a good start.
The team set up shop on a property along the Wallkill River in the Hudson Valley. The place came outfitted with greenhouses, which the team spent time renovating for cannabis cultivation and developing the rooms to be “as close to indoor as you can possibly get,” Villarreal said.
That setting is key to understanding Gas Face.
Villarreal cited the cultivar’s ability to sustain humidity and a relative lack of sunlight as key to its agronomic success. (Throw in 2023’s overall rainy season, especially as fall harvest drew near, and you’ve got a recipe that demands a hardy set of genetics.)
More important for sales, however, is the intuitive sense of market demand that the Flowerhouse team grasped. Gas Face is a bright, sativa-leaning cultivar—and critically it retains that gassy profile that drives customers wild. Think Sour Diesel, a classic strain that also has a home in Flowerhouse’s library. Throw in some CBG for good measure, and you’re looking at a compelling flower strain; some might liken its effects to a midday cup of coffee, something already baked into the consciousness of New York City and points further upstate.
“It’s not just because we’re all high-strung,” Villarreal pointed out with a smile. “These are the plants that do really well in the environment.”
Understanding the natural guardrails of the environment is critical to cultivation, especially in a greenhouse setting, but so too is discerning the actual traits of your customer base. Consider Flowerhouse well under way in achieving that ongoing goal.
“That’s not just market research, that’s our lives,” said Compliance Director Katie Reiter said of the team’s intuitive sense to cherry-pick Gas Face from a rigorous R&D pheno-hunt.
The team said that Gas Face will lead the day in terms of cultivation plans in 2024; sativas in general will be top of mind for the season.
Following harvests at the Hudson Valley property, though, comes a need to engage with the customer-facing segment of the market. As sales demonstrate, even with a relatively limited number of dispensaries currently operating in the state (48, as of this writing), the Flowerhouse team is eager to be seen as partners for the up-and-coming New York retail sector.
“The goal for us is to be ready for them to open and to be a good partner,” Reiter said.
But there’s a lot more in the works.
Reiter mentioned New York’s new rules that allow for indoor cultivation. The Flowerhouse team has plans to build out a facility on their property. With the ability to dial in environmental controls in an indoor setting, hopes are high for this cultivar’s chemical potential.
“[Gas Face] is going to get better in 2024,” Reiter said.