If you walk into The Kremlin, you can be hit by the warm, welcoming smell of cannabis—just make sure you’re in the Bay Area around harvest time, not Moscow.
The Kremlin is Unrivaled Brands’ cultivation facility in Oakland, Calif., where the vertically integrated multi-state operator recently harvested its first crop.
The company launched The Kremlin in September. The facility is set to become the main production hub for the company’s Korova brand, which is positioned as high-quality, high-potency indoor flower in California’s market, and features exotic genetics like Alien Blackout, Russian Doll, and Baby Yoda. The company expects the facility to produce 3,500 pounds of cannabis annually, per a Dec. 6 press release.
“The facility has performed tremendously right off the bat and we couldn’t be happier with it,” Uri Kenig, Unrivaled Brands’ COO told Cannabis Business Times.
Unrivaled Brands has cultivation and distribution operations in both California and Oregon, as well as retail and delivery services in the Golden State. In Nevada, Unrivaled is a partner with NuLeaf, an indoor cultivation operation.
The Kremlin consists of four flowering rooms decked with 60 high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights apiece. Plants are grown in 6-inch rockwool cubes, but Brian Linao, the company’s cultivation director, is experimenting with different media. In addition to producing sellable product, the first harvest at the Oakland facility set a baseline against which Linao intends to compare results from different inputs.
“The lessons that we’re learning are about the crop steer,” Linao said. “The way we use irrigation, and tying it in with the lights and the nutrients that we use, we’re learning each genetic as [we go]. … The genetics are definitely doing things differently with our crop steering. For instance, with Alien Blackout, we use 80% of our light [capacity], but for the Russian Doll, I can use 115% of my lights. … It’s all about crop steering for us right now.”
The four flowering rooms each have a slightly different environment best suited for the genetics in those rooms, and each room has a section dedicated to R&D, whether that’s manipulating light intensities or irrigation rates.
“We’re doing this thing called ‘charged steering,’ where we might charge [our media] … to 3-3.2 EC and taper down,” Linao said. “We’re finding how the plants are reacting to each type of steering we’re doing right now.”
Moving forward, Linao and the Unrivaled team will trial different growing media (with an emphasis on soils) to identify which medium is best suited for each genetic, all in the hopes of maximizing the qualities the company looks for in its offerings: potency, bag appeal, nose appeal, and a smooth burn—the genetic “unicorns,” as Linao puts it.
“We’re preparing to win any cup, really, with these items,” he says.