Fidel’s: Barcelona to L.A. – LA Weekly


L.A.’s own Shant “Fidel Hydro” Damirdjian was already a local legend before Fidel’s Hash Holes took it international. 

And while the “Hydro” may have been dropped in recent years as the Fidel’s brand took off, the third son to enter the game of one of Los Angeles’ favorite cannabis families continues to build his name. He’s now on the verge of opening a massive new facility expected to be competitive with the state’s finest later this summer. 

A hash hole under construction. Courtesy of Fidel’s.

In the months leading up to writing this, we chatted with Damirdjian a lot. We even joined him for his return to Barcelona for Spannabis this past March where he originally got the inspiration for the hash hole. The Hash Holes and Donuts party that closed up Spannabis for many was probably the second biggest ancillary affair of the week after the European edition of Ego Clash.

But to understand how things have taken off, you have to start with Damirdjian returning to L.A. after moving to Beirut at age 12. 

Coming Back to L.A. 

“When I turned 18 I moved back to L.A. from Lebanon and when I moved back the first thing I did was start working at my brothers’ hydro shop,” Damirdjian told L.A. Weekly

He was at the bottom of the food chain with no knowledge of growing cannabis. He was in the perfect place to learn, but it wasn’t always easy being in the family business. 

“My brothers had two dispensaries. But within a month of me being here, the dispensaries got raided and the growers got raided,” Damirdjian said. “They lost everything and they had to sell the store. So when they sold the store, I stayed.” 

Damirdjian smokes a hash hole in Barcelona. Photo: Jimi Devine

His brothers Serge and Aram would recover and eventually help start Cookies Maywood and Gas No Brakes Fashion.

While Damirdjian may not have brought a lot of cannabis cultivation knowledge back from Beirut, retail operations were a different story. The whole time he was in Lebanon he was working at the family grocery store. By 18 he returned with the managerial skill set that wouldn’t be uncommon in an older teenager at a U.S. supermarket. Those skills translated directly to running a hydro shop even if he wasn’t exactly sure what he was selling out the gate. 

By the time he jumped up to the management team, he had his head wrapped around it from talking to customers all day to better understand their needs or what they were doing successfully. The store was only 1,000 square feet at the time. He’d help build it to 18 employees and three locations.

“I did that for nine years. That was my footwork in this industry,” Damirdjian said. “I talked to growers day in and day out for nine years and then I mastered that craft. I grew weed in the midst of that. It just led me to be consistently known for the quality of flowers I have.”

Madmen OG and LA Confidential were among the first strains he worked with when he started cultivating in 2010. As his skills grew, he refined his best practices and taught them to others over the years at the shop, eventually taking the nickname Fidel Hydro as a play on it. 

Damirdjian points to the first time he left the grow shop to focus on cultivation as one of the moments he knew he was heading in the right direction. Six months after leaving the hydro shop they asked him to come back for a percentage of the shop. He would put in two-and-a-half more years, but in the end, his vision was just too big for the shop. 

Fidel’s

A trip back home to Beirut to visit family and friends in 2019 would turn the nickname into the building block for one of the most hyped brands in California at the moment. 

“I had a childhood friend of mine who does branding packages for big hotels and restaurants. I was working with him. I wanted to start branding my flower. I want to be known for the flowers I grow,” Damirdjian said. 

The pair were talking about his nickname Fidel Hydro. They tossed stuff around but were sure in the end that it had to be one word. It had to be simple. They dropped the hydro and the name stuck.

“My homie drew like 200 different logos by hand. He drew one on a package of Lucky Strike cigarettes and it just stood out to me,” Damirdjian said. “It looked really timeless. Either now or 20 years from now, I’ll still feel the same about it.”

Damirdjian explained that the logo gave him the identity but there was plenty of work to be done. He started doing everything in-house from growing to buying printers so he could package it all up. 

“I put all my energy in Fidel’s, everything, every ounce of my time, my finances, my physical being. I put it all in something that just kept growing and growing. It gave me the confidence I needed but it just hit me when I was in the hydro shop. I always knew Fidel’s was what it is supposed to be,” Damirdjian said in regards to that calling he believed was more significant than the shop. 

Creating New Flavors

2019 was also the year Damirdjian started breeding. It was the next step after nearly a decade of perfecting his skills. But looking around the game can create doubt. He refused to let it build in himself. The heat would speak for itself. He loves it. He hopes his dedication to those various cultivation practices will help remind folks he’s not just the guy that scaled up the hash hole, as admittedly cool as it is to have the most primo rec preroll in the state. 

One of the staples of the breeding is Runtz Mints. It’s an absolute heater. 

Hash Holes – Barcelona to L.A. 

How does one change the exotic-infused preroll game in California? The concept of a joint with hash in it was far from new in California. We basically started seeding distillate prerolls not long after Damirdjian started cultivating in the early 2010s. They were always boof, maybe even further stacking the chips against the idea of the hash hole.

Damirdjian returned to Barcelona in 2022. Photo: Jimi Devine

Sure, the idea of rolling some heat hash and flowers with friends was cool. But was it commercially viable? Regardless, Damirdjian would find his inspiration on a trip to Barcelona in 2018 with his brother for his first adventure to Spannabis.

At the time, his brother had launched Cookies Maywood a few months prior. Damirdjian started helping with some of Cookies’ first seed drops and in the process heard about Spannabis. 

“I felt the need to be there,” Damirdjian emphasized. “I felt the need to go see what the culture is like over there. So I tagged along.”

Damirdjian working to get his seed line into Europe at Spannabis 2022. Photo: Jimi Devine

Damirdjian was a young man there to learn more about the game. There was plenty to take in. He got to help Cookies and 3rd Gen Family with the El Toro in Spain. He helped them package that up and got a first-person view of people entering the world of bulk seed sales with people in Europe. He always felt like the youngest person in the room and just remembered to keep his ears open and to try and learn as much as he could from the international hitters that converge on Barcelona. 

During the seed drop, a number of noteworthy characters from the European game come through to see a number of Americans. The American delegation had fire hash. The Spanish culture at the time was more influenced by the California flower market and there were a ton of California-grown flowers. 

As Damirdjian watched most Europeans sprinkle their crumbly water hash into joints, he decided to work up some of the American rosin and drop it in the center. Not long after, he would run into Lorenzo from Terps Army in Barcelona and Amsterdam. Lorenzo was doing the same thing. 

“I hadn’t met him yet. We met in person over there as this culture was being instilled at that particular time,” Damirdjian said. “I got to give it to my boy Lorenzo. He kept the habit up. He calls them the Terps Donuts.”

Final quality control before packaging. Photo courtesy of Fidel’s

He flew back to America and started rolling more joints loaded with hash. People on Instagram would ask what it was and inquire about the hole in the middle. He would politely emphasize what they were looking at wasn’t a donut, it was a hash hole. 

“The word hash hole didn’t even exist. I just didn’t want to call it a donut because I wanted it to be different,” Damirdjian said. “I could call it that. But just to me, it’s the hash in the middle.”

He was also a firm believer that hash holes just sounded cooler than donuts. Some of the early hash hole advertising has joked donuts are for cops. 

“Once you started explaining to people what it is, now people call it that. I love it. It’s creating its own culture,” Damirdjian said. “It just wasn’t out there like that. It went from being a smoking habit when I came back from Barcelona to what it is now.”

Damirdjian believes we all have ideas we never really follow through on. But what if he did this? What if he took this thing he started posting as a habit and took it to scale? What if he started hand rolling joints and not packing a cone? All the while using elite flower and hash. 

He believed people would mess with it. So far he’s been proven very right. But at first, it was tough to convince people it was feasible to hand roll. 

“It didn’t click with people,” Damirdjian said. “And I wanted to sell them for $100.”

Out the gate, Damirdjian’s right-hand man Dabber Dan was the most supportive of the idea. He saw the vision. Dan was amongst the early members of the team when Damirdjian started solidifying it in 2018. Head roller Gio and his cultivation lead Kevin were also onboard early.

Courtesy of Fidel’s

Damirdjian even has his parents helping out. He has so many printers now he’s run out of space and put a printer in their house. He’ll order 50,000 containers and have them label the jars and do QC.

Now there is a flurry of imitation hash holes hitting the market. 

“Everyone is doing it their way, you know, and it’s not really about who was first, who did it best, I guess,” Damirdjian said. “To me, it’s about who’s paving the way for the category because that’s what it is. It’s a category now.”

Fidel’s Grown

Damirdjian expects the number of staff to surge to 60 by year’s end as his cultivation operation comes fully online. He’s thankful he didn’t take any of the cultivation deals that came his way over the years as he waited for his moment to enter the legal market on his own terms.

Separately, it’s wild to see someone in his age bracket bootstrap an Adelanto facility solo. It’s the land of corporate dawgs but there is certainly cheap square footage and power for those with the resources. 

“There’s no one else, that’s solely me, and I intend on giving out percentages to my team members that are down with me right now. But it’s just me. I just haven’t sold out. I haven’t sold any of it. And people have given me tempting offers. I’ve been guilt-tripped by people that are worth half a billion dollars for not making deals,” Damirdjian laughed.

He always trusted the voice inside and knew where he was heading. That was all he needed. His next vision is a storefront to put all the flower in but right now there is work to be done getting it to the market. 

As the flower comes online he also looks forward to further building out his distribution network. He’s already in every Cookies and Stizzy store. The flower is expected to be in high demand when it drops later this summer. One thing that points to this fact is that the value of his products hasn’t changed with the times as many have seen price dips. 

“Something has changed. There’s always an adjustment,” Damirdjian said. “That’s what you gotta do. You gotta adjust. I think different, you know? I’m trying to be at the forefront of it.”

Damirdjian’s hash holes are available all over California. Keep an eye out for the flower line later this year. 



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