It looks like Willie's Reserve is finally getting off the ground.
Willie Nelson announced this week that his new cannabis brand had secured backing from a New York-based private equity firm.
According to a news release, Tuatara Capital will lead an investor group financing Willie's Reserve, which will be grown, distributed and sold by local business in Colorado and Washington. The brand will also "become available in other markets when state regulations allow."
"Brands help consumers to navigate choices, and trusted brands offer a promise of quality and consistency," Tuatara Capital partner Al Foreman, explained. "We believe in the role of these trusted brands in helping to shape the cannabis industry in the coming years and see the Willie's Reserve brand, like its namesake, as being a vanguard in this exciting new industry."
News that Nelson was launching Willie's Reserve broke in March, and a spokesman for the endeavor likened the brand strategy to that of Whole Foods, nothing that the brand would keep environmental and social justice issues in focus as it develops retail stores, product lines, etc.
"It will be like when you walk into a Whole Foods store," Nelson's spokesman said. "Whole Foods has their 365 brand, or you can buy Stony Brook, or you can buy Horizon… It’ll all fall under that umbrella of 'here’s our core beliefs, and here’s our mission statement,' and they will be a part of that, to be a part of us."
"We're really excited to partner with someone like Willie, who embodies this spirit of American entrepreneurship and conviction to a cause," Foreman said.
For his part, Nelson has stated that he will be actively involved in all aspects of the brand.
"I will make sure it's good or it won't be on sale," Nelson told Rolling Stone back in April. "There should be a menu just like in a restaurant because there's so many different kinds of pot that do many different things. It's a good idea to have everything labeled for what it does, what it don't do [and] how powerful it is."
According to Chron, Willie's Reserve is expected to hit legal distributors sometime in 2016.
(Photo Courtesy of Willie's Reserve)