Since launching his traveling budtending business in January 2016, Andrew Mieure has only had to refuse service to someone once – and that’s because the guy was already hammered when he stumbled up to the cannabis bar.
“The events that we do [tend to] have a starkly different feel than what you would see at a party with a ton of booze,” Mieure tells Civilized. “There’s always a nice mellow feel when an event has cannabis.”
It’s a far cry from Mieure’s days working as a DJ in small-town Ohio, when it was routine to see “a lot of alpha males... getting drunk and causing problems.”
“When we’re budtending, I don’t see arguments,” he says, calling cannabis a “unifier.”
“I don’t see people being belligerent or obnoxious...It almost feels like an elegant cocktail hour compared to a college frat party.”
It’s the kind of vibe Mieure has been helping cultivate at weddings, parties and next-level hangouts for just over a year now – and the pursuit of such an atmosphere is largely what continues to drive him.
His Denver-based company, Top Shelf Budtending, will cater just about any style event you can imagine in Colorado, California and Nevada. With the cannabis strains of your choosing, Mieure strives to make your special day (whatever it may be) the most relaxed, intimate and enjoyable it can be.
“With cannabis being more of a thinking tool, it gets people to open up a bit more. You don’t have that social anxiety,” says Mieure.
“Some people use alcohol as a tool to [curb] social anxiety, but when you have a little too much of that you get sloppy. When you have enough cannabis you don’t necessarily get too sloppy... so when you have conversations, they get a lot deeper and more meaningful than what I’ve seen in the realm of alcohol.”
Although the popularity of hiring budtenders is on the rise, it’s safe to say the services provided by Top Shelf still make for a less-than-conventional event-planning experience from start to finish.
After enlisting someone like Mieure, clients will attend a consultation with him at a local cannabis dispensary. There, they will pick out the products and quantities they desire, with the Trichome Institute-garnered expertise of Mieure (or one of his fellow budtenders) at their disposal.
“Together we’ll discuss what we smell and what we see. For me, knowing that information prior to the event makes it a much more intimate experience for the guests,” says Mieure.
On the day of your event, Mieure will show up with his bar (or, depending on the venue, a mobile smoking lounge of sorts), along with a range of high-end smoking and vaping accessories. The rest of the day is spent helping canna-curious guests choose what’s right for them.
“I really like to try and cultivate those personal connections between the budtenders and the attendees,” says Mieure, adding that “safety and responsibility” are paramount.
“If people say they had a bad experience or got way too high, we’re not going to be able to expand these parties all over the United States because people are going to see cannabis as a negative thing.”
So far, that hasn’t been a problem. Mieure said his number of events bookings for 2017 has already far surpassed that of 2016.
“It was a slow start... but people are starting to come out of the shadows and see that [cannabis] can be [incorporated into events] in an elegant way,” says Mieure, who believes it’s his “duty” to represent cannabis in the best light possible.
“In the environment that I cultivate, I believe that the stigma kind of dissipates... you come to an event I’m doing and [cannabis] doesn’t feel taboo anymore.”