Can you describe your business and how it started?
I started Summit Research from my garage, basically. When I started in 2004 I was a hash vendor in California. I spent most of my time in construction until I decided to take cannabis head-on in my mid-20s, when I realized my skills in the lab made me more money than mason work. I saw the growth [in the industry] and became an integral part of innovation.
With little to no investment I started Summit Research, and while doing research and development, I single-handedly created the only patented cannabis short-path distillation head. Initially, I was turned down by every major manufacturer and told my ideas weren’t valid. When I began my journey, I was a small-time glass manufacturer, and took it all the way to being the leading cannabis scientific glass and resource company on the market.
After bringing throughput extraction processes to the market with the first industry-run throughput system, I coined the term to differentiate it from other closed-loop manifold versions that were split loop systems to a true closed loop arrangement. This throughput operational process is now the most widely-used setup on the market.
When I created the closed-loop filter base and introduced gas drying with industry-leading condensing coils, we refused to use steel or import hardware from China, and instead made top-quality, billet machined parts available to the public for the first time. To this day, we are leaders in manufacturing billet closed-loop and laboratory hardware.
I decided to patent my technology and do industry standardization benchmarks. Summit Research’s SPD heads are capable of reaching more than 98 per cent in a single pass during distillation. The SPD series heads hold the record for all first-pass potency results in laboratories, with the fastest achievable speeds for the lowest cost, compared to large scale, slower machines.
A two-liter SPD-1 has the same speed as a 100K WFE; a five-liter SPD-2 is consistently outpacing a 250K WFE, and then we get into the revolutionary SPD-3 Thermal+ series heads that offer incredible unmatched speeds, with industry-leading output numbers.
Summit is now releasing a SPD-4 MPD component system that will drive the market for the highest speeds/potency output. Summit takes pride that its short-path systems, not only patented to retain genuine operational characteristics but also unique geometry, achieve the highest recorded test results in laboratories across the country.
What were the start-up years like?
When I left construction, I got dinged badly on losses. I was a newlywed, and moved into my parents’ cottage to save money, and then went back into cannabis, slaving away growing and trimming. I started an organic nutrient brew company making custom large-scale 500-5,000-gallon vortex-style brewers for growers, and slowly learned my passion was extracting.
With $500 I invested in glass tubes and butane; two weeks later I had a Tamisium, and two months after that I had a Subzero. Shortly after, I found the model I liked, the original EV-6.3 model. From there, I moved into the Santa Cruz mountains and began the journey again, starting from scratch to become one of the largest producers at the time. Slowly, the industry caught up but even large outputs like mine had to struggle to get contracts.
With the $500 I had hired a glass manufacture to work with me and it got me as far as a prototype. I kept working hard in the Santa Cruz mountains and after a few modifications and prototypes I was able to create the SPD series setups.
After spending every last dollar I had on bringing the idea to life I had to produce them nearly one at a time. Slowly, after being a producer and running this new technology, both myself and my customers were at the leading curve of cannabis distillation. I kept hammering away and making more and more glass, becoming the leader in custom glassware tailored to the cannabis industry.
This is how Summit developed, by always offering the best, with extensive warranties and services for free. We strictly aim to do what’s right, come in below retail price, and offer a service to educate customers without any cannabis tax. From distillation to filtration, we lead the pack with industry-first, non-copied products, and first-of-its-kind technological advances.
How did you gain market share and recognition?
Overnight, Summit virtually had 99 per cent of the market share, and within the first year we rode on nearly 90 per cent of the market share. We are now holding steady at about 70-75 per cent, the only difference being that the open market copied us on everything we did.
We came into the market with a “high quality USA made” motto. Summit products produce better end-product with higher potency, and physically resemble the highest-grade glass manufacturing. Our products are flawless compared to cheap knockoffs and similar products produced by individuals and companies intending to profit off the Summit name and image.
From the SPD-1 or SPD-2 legacy systems to the SPD-3 thermal+ and SPD-4 MPD, we made unique items that people gravitated to.
What is your current product line?
Distillation, filtration, chromatography, laboratory solutions.
What are your company’s strengths?
High quality hardware. We are a proud company that offers strictly American-made products that we make and support for the lifetime of the product. We employ American glassworkers, American machinists, use American valve companies, and American media companies.
Summit Research also offers free consultations and training at our showroom and lifetime support for all our existing customers. Our showroom facility is set up to perform daily demonstrations as well as offer advanced classes. We cover topics ranging from short path distillation and laboratory training to filtration techniques and terpene science.
We also offer advanced processing classes that gives hands-on experience with our trained technicians and specialists. Our flagship services include crystallization training and hardware sales to build on purity separations with large growth. From pesticide removal to releasing free SOP tailored to get everyone on the same page, we hold nothing back and refuse to abuse the knowledge for money.
What significant things have you learned so far about the industry?
It’s moving into pharmaceutical-grade extracts. In the near future, we will no longer see raw oleoresin consumed and called medicine. Scientific processes are taking over to create real engineered extracts with profiles that can virtually be printed by a press of a button.