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Our community lost a giant and a friend last Sunday when Soranut “Beer” Masayavanich suddenly passed away. For the two decades preceding legalization he stubbornly dedicated himself to cannabis. First cultivating the plant when it was most taboo, risking his freedom and life—and then working within the system to foster a community of growers and legitimize and legalize cannabis. By the time cannabis was legalized Beer was our community’s first celebrity. He and his “Sukhumweed” brand were household names. Artists, growers, the press corps, and others drawn to cannabis from Thailand and abroad all sought Beer out as a first point of contact. Beer was Thailand’s “king of cannabis” and his was amongst the most important opinions to seek. 

Beer was a complicated and complex soul. He was a man with an enormous heart—effusive personality—endless talent—and a burning passion for life. He attracted creative types of all sorts who mirrored his own passions: artists, musicians, chefs, growers, and so many more. For many in our community Beer was larger than life—he was the face of an industry with a famous history. He was no stranger to the limelight.  But Beer was incredibly welcoming, warm and approachable and humble in one on one conversation. Beer was never above talking to anyone. From lonely travelers in Thailand for the first time, to celebrities renting out Sukhumweed for their own personal use, Beer welcomed all as friends and all became Beer’s friend.

I first met Beer to interview him for HighThailand. Beer immediately took me in and chatted as if we were old school friends. He held nothing back, gave a full view of his activities pre and post legalization, and painted a vivid picture of the scene. That interview changed the course of HighThailand and our understanding of the cannabis community in Thailand. Beer stressed in that interview (and in many conversations afterward) that the Thai cannabis community was a developing sub-culture with its own music, art, food, and school of thought. Beer highlighted and explained the unique challenges and talents of our growers. And it was Beer who pointed us in the direction of some of our favorite growers (and friends). Beer’s own passion was so illuminating that it ignited our own passion for the community.

Beer was a friend from then on. He would routinely call me (at times at odd hours of the night and early morning) with recommendations for stories he thought I should write, encouragement for articles we published that he liked, and criticisms of work he disagreed with. He freely provided his honest and unadulterated opinions on our activities as well as the activities of others in our community. Passion fueled Beer. He wore his emotions on his sleeve and was quick to praise or attack. There were times when Beer and I did not see things eye to eye, but even when we had strong disagreements he always welcomed me back like a brother. 

Our story is not uncommon. Beer was the starting point for so many people in the industry. He taught them, encouraged them, supported them, introduced them to opportunities and other people, and promoted their thoughts, product and work. There are so many successful networks of people throughout the world who owe their success to a first meeting and lasting friendship with Beer. His was a nurturing heart which allowed so many others to grow.

There was a deep sensitivity to Beer’s soul. He had a strong sense of loyalty to his friends and expected that same loyalty in return. He had the ability to feel and understand when others were at their most vulnerable and weakest and he would step in to console them. When I faced my own personal challenges with loss and the stress of conflict, Beer contacted me daily, shared his own experiences and stories, and consoled me. Beer was always genuine—and always cared.

Beer and I came to know each other though cannabis—but our conversations always ended up focusing on our respective families. He was incredibly and thoroughly devoted to his lovely wife Emmy. He adored her and spoke of her lovingly and with pride. Even when Beer was conflicted or upset over other issues, our conversation would turn peaceful when inevitably he would speak about Emmy. Indeed, when Emmy was around you could always expect the best of Beer—he was the happiest with her. Theirs is a deep and true love. We offer our deepest condolences to Emmy and Beer’s family—and hope they find some consolation in the deep love he had for them. 

It is hard to think of our community without Beer. I always thought that in 20-30 years I would sit around with Beer and the pioneers of community reminiscing about the first years of legalization—thinking of these as the good old days. I now know that from now on, every time I think of our community I will be thinking of Beer and his irreplaceable personality. Rest in peace, Beer, you beautiful king of cannabis.

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Mendel Menachem

Mendel Menachem is a curious and well-known cannabis commentator in Thailand, with a particular focus on locally grown flowers and their growers. His unwavering support for the local industry has earned him widespread respect within the Thai cannabis community. Mendel also regularly reviews cannabis from throughout the country, which he expertly reviews thanks to his renowned palate. Follow him on Instagram

One reply on “Soranut “Beer” Masayavanich: A Tribute”

Avatar photoPluto Pete024says:

Im not sure exactky what happened to this beautiful soul but I felt a connection with this man from the moment he shared his Love of the Cannabis plant to the world and let Berner know it was his life dream to be in the position he was in finally his dreams where coming to life and he wept for it……I too have a similar story so I felt it in my heart the Love of this man was Clear he wasnt in it for the Fame or the Money he was a true Pioneer in his community even though persecuted and looked down apon by others he walked tall and proud in his own beliefs and I could tell by the way he spoke it was not a game to him. Life is a Blessing to those that chase their dreams even if you fail in the end it is a life of passionate Love that is full of growth. Im from America and I never met this Man but when I read he passed ealrier this month it really hit me hard and I felt something in my heart towards Beer that I felt the need to write something. You will be missed friend and I hope your memory never dies and your name sake goes on to bless the community further then you ever dreamed. RIP