At Slyng, we wanted to find out more about Peak City CBD, a locally sourced brand. We sat down with the founder and CEO to find out what makes his CBD stand out. Talking to Matt, you feel like you’re catching up with an old friend. So much so, we just had to use his first name in this interview. Humble and down to earth, it’s hard to believe he came into the hemp industry extracting CBD and formulating his own products.
Launched in early 2019, Matt Weschler spent his early career in marketing and sales of scientific equipment. If you had told him 20 years ago when he started in that business that he would throw it all away to start a cannabis company, he would have thought you were crazy.
“I had a great job,” laughs Matt. I was a partner in an electron microscope company, but I was waking up feeling like it was more of a job and I wanted a change. It just so happened at the time one of my best buddies started to grow hemp in 2018. I started talking to him since I’m an organic chemist, I kinda scratched my head a little bit and decided to take the jump. I bought a bunch of equipment to extract the hemp, and that’s how Peak City started, in a nutshell.”
It turns out Matt was so interested in producing quality CBD oil that he took classes and figured out the extraction process himself.
“I bought quite a few pieces of equipment, but the grand-daddy is the supercritical CO2 extractor. So the hemp goes in, and the CBD comes out, essentially, with a few purification steps along the way, but we started doing it right from the get-go.”
It turns out, the answer is simple and wholesome. It’s about locally-grown friendship, ethics, and trust. Matt had etched out a good career for himself selling microscopes, but he was itching to put his background as a chemist to good use. Though he quickly made himself an expert in the CBD field, he’s quick to give his good friend Jerry credit for turning him onto hemp.
He insists the biggest factor in his decision to produce CBD was being able to work with a trusted family friend, someone he could trust as a colleague to grow hemp the right way. “I probably wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t know Jerry,” he laughs. “It wasn’t something I was sitting around looking to get into.”
“I was aware of the industry but started to do a lot more research before I dived into it. I found that there are some people that are out there doing it right, and there are others who aren’t. I knew right away that controlling everything from the farm to the bottle would allow me to do it and keep it all clean and within specifications. I knew I could make a good product, and there would be a niche there for me.”
When Matt talks about the product, his passion for quality and ethical practices is crystal clear. “I know the farm and where the hemp comes from. I know it’s organic. It's grown the right way; No pesticides, no heavy metals,” he says emphatically. “We do have everything tested to make sure of our credibility. If you’re buying from other people, other states, you’re never exactly sure where it’s coming from.”
As far as Matt’s process, he is emphatic about CO2 extraction as the way to go. “You’re using safe and clean materials in a way that doesn’t destroy all the cannabinoids and terpenes."
Peak City CBD’s website mentions Apex CBD and we had no context for what that means. “I’m surprised you caught that,” chuckles Matt. “My hometown is Apex, North Carolina, a suburb of Raleigh. We are named “Peak City” because one of our taglines for Apex is, ‘The peak of good living.’ That’s where we’re from.”
“I think a good analogy is, there’s always going to be the Budweisers or the Miller’s of the beer world, but there’s also going to be the small craft beers that can still do really well,” explains Matt.
“I think it’s being vertically integrated,” says Matt, “Doing it and right and doing it local, and having a science background and the ability to formulate certain products.”
“We’re vertically integrated, literally all the way from the farm, to the lab, to the production, to the bottle, to the package the customer gets when they order it,” boasts Matt. “It’s nice that it comes all from one place. I can tell you exactly what’s in it without even doing any tests, even though we do. There are no wild cards, no surprises.”
“Also, with my chemistry background, I think I have a good feel for cannabinoid and terpene chemistry. We’re working on some unique custom formulations, adding clean and natural things into the mix. For example, adding additional terpenes to a CBD mixture for a certain effect. I’m a science guy, so I enjoy a lot of research. I like to look at journal articles and learn about how others have used terpenes and even cannabinoids in other areas and pull those into our CBD.”
“For example,” Matt continues, “We make a CBD oil product called Chill Berry, taken sublingually, under the tongue, that also has all the goodness of the normal CBD but has added terpenes intended to give you a calming, relaxing effect to help you sleep.”
Matt’s Chill Berry CBD Oil comes in a 1500 mg bottle. Conversely, he has an Energized Apple CBD Oil, designed to give you more energy and focus. “I sell them in an AM/PM bundle. Take the Energized Apple in the morning to get you going, and the Chill Berry at night time or if you’re stressed out after work. It’s really nice for anxiety,” comments Matt.
One of his best sellers is the highly-recommended topical lotion, Spring Shower. Organically made and packed with 750 mg CBD, it gets impressive reviews. “I was talking to a lady on the phone yesterday who’s kind of a CBD guru and she said my topical lotion gave the best immediate relief. You don’t know this lady,” laughs Matt, “but coming from her it meant a lot.”
“Some of the reviews we’re getting are amazing. I love to hear how our CBD has helped people. We hear it’s helped people with arthritis, joint issues, headaches, anxiety. Even though formal research might be ongoing, you can’t really dispute the real testimonials we have from our customers.”
Though Matt’s products are for sale, doing well both on his retail website and some local stores, under the Peak City brand name, his product quality is so high they are doing a lot of business in the wholesale and white label realms. “A lot of people want to buy wholesale in bulk with the Peak City label on it, and others want to buy the products white label, or without a label and make their own brand. That’s a decent part of the business now. I do that for quite a few people.”
And Matt’s never above helping out local farmers. “There’s a lot of farmers who have extra hemp. Maybe they thought it would be a get-rich-quick thing and they can’t sell it all. They don’t want it to go to waste, so I extract it for them into the oil and they can do whatever they want with it then. Oftentimes I do simple extraction jobs as well.”
“We like happy customers. We have a return policy, so if you’re not liking something, maybe it’s not what you thought or if it’s not working for you, we’re going to work with the customer to make it right. I think it’s important because quality CBD is not necessarily cheap. If people haven’t tried it before, they’re going to be cautious about it, so we try to educate and we’ll work with them however we can to make sure that happens.”
“I’m kind of known as the ‘local CBD guy’” jokes Matt, “so it’s nice to help people who want to know more. Perusing through the Peak City Site, you’ll find many educational tools, including a blog, podcasts, and the 3rd party analysis results. He’s also partnered with The CBD Training Academy, where he has not only taken classes himself when he was researching extraction but has given talks about operating a CBD Business. He recommends classes for anyone who wants to know more about CBD.
“It goes back to my science background. I like to inform people and teach. I think with the industry being so ‘wild west, it’s important to keep our blog fact-based. I try to provide respectable journal references for the things we talk about in our blogs. There’s a decent amount of incorrect information out there about CBD, so I like to provide fact-based information for people and let them dig in as much as they want.”