If you’re a regular consumer in California’s recreational market, it’s pretty hard to miss Maven Genetics these days. Since the team broke out of their shell, they’ve made an epic run on shelf space up and down the state this year. The growth has been backboned by a solid spread of house genetics, and a few new accolades they received for their flower recently won’t hurt either. We sat down with the team at Maven Genetics a couple of days removed from their top-five finish with French Laundry in The Emerald Cup’s hyper competitive indoor division.
Maven’s co-founder and President Mike Corvington started the tale by noting how long the team had been working together previously to Maven being formed as an entity in the era of adult-use legalization.
“We obviously all come from the traditional side and have collectively been doing our thing since the late ’90s, early 2000s and kind of slowly scaled up our endeavors throughout that time from backyards and house grows to entering into the warehouse game,” Corvington told High Times.
Corvington’s partner, Maven CEO David Bosworth, was the first of the group to get a warehouse going in the early 2000s. From there they went off in downtown LA for a bit. But while Maven is now known for having a giant spread of flavors to pick from, they weren’t at that point back then.
“We were strictly OG,” Corvington stressed. “We were blessed with the original Triangle Kush cut from Miami. Essentially the same one Josh D had. Our other buddy Chad had a pre-98 that we traded for that back in the late ’90s. So we grew a little bit of Bubba here and there, but predominantly from the early 2000s all the way until, I think 2016-17, we just cranked out lots and lots of OG. We basically flooded the valley with OG and just really top-quality OG.”
In 2015, the team would eventually start to work with the XXX OG cut they run to this day. It’s still a staple of their lineup and breeding work, and Corvington swears by the cut.
“That one is just super special,” he said.
XXX OG is one of the strains they don’t expect to cycle out from the 20 or so they have in production at the moment. It’s a mainstay on their menu.
While Corvington isn’t spending as much time in the garden as he did back in the day, he’s a critical piece of the Maven brain trust that determines what they’ll be growing, how much, and when, to make sure they keep a constant supply of product.
Before formally establishing the company, Maven sold genetics. Now they offer flower and concentrates featuring their genetics. Corvington explained that Maven officially became an entity when they got the trademark for the logo in 2017.
“The logo kind of evolved through a few different iterations. I mean, we had the brand established in like 2015. And then it kind of went through a couple of iterations,” Corvington said. “I think it’s 2017 we actually officially trademarked it as an apparel brand federally.”
Corvington went on to note that 2015 was also the year they really saw the writing on the wall as far as the need to become their own brand, as opposed to dudes just pumping out fire OGs.
“We entered a few competitions and we started to see the slow transition from deli-style and then realizing that people are entering our flower into competitions and winning,” Corvington said. “And so we’re like, ‘We just need to do this.’ And kind of early on we saw that brands were going to be the way of the future so that’s why being vertically integrated has always been our approach.”
Corvington added that Maven has never been looking to have a massive retail footprint but instead wanted to have a few flagship shops to distribute the flower they work so hard on. Their two shops make up a small fraction of a percent of the shelf space they now have throughout over 400 dispensaries across California.
2017 was the year that Maven started hunting down all the flavors they’re now famous for. The decision to start hunting new terpene profiles coincided with the transition to the recreational market.
We asked Corvington if the team hadn’t hunted anything in 15 years at that point.
“Yeah, pretty much man. I mean, you know, small scale. There were a few packs of seeds here and there that we’d pop but very rarely at that point was I finding anything that was worth growing on any kind of scale,” Corvington said. “So 2017 was really when we started pushing a larger genetic line.”
Maven will pop about 100 seeds when they’re hunting for new flavors. Some hunts have gotten up to 200 but they find that 100 number to be their sweet spot. Corvington noted they are looking for everything. Sure, the economics of things are critical, but they’re still excited to see those wild flavors and outliers that might not make sense in a full production run.
Maybe Maven can do something else with them given how robust the inhouse breeding program got in 2020 a few years after they started popping all the seeds.
“I’d say the breeding program was not really in full swing ‘till like 2020. We definitely popped different gear, but it wasn’t until 2020 that I would say we had any kind of impactful programming,” Corvington explained.
Some of the early successes of the program included the Blueberry Skunk. Maven would go on to run a few more Blueberry lines—such as Blueberry Zkittlez which is still in production—but Corvington argued they have evolved a lot since those early wins in the breeding room.
“I feel like you know, we’ve really kind of made some impacts in the past year and a half because initially even in the breeding that we’re doing, it was kind of more we were kind of feeling our way through it and finding more things that were commercially viable, but that I don’t know if I would at this point say we’re long term keepers like our XXX OG and things that, you know, we’ll forever hold on to at this point,” Corvington said.
Right now Maven is running about 1,100 lights. They’re also deep in the process of converting a couple of their spaces to double-stacked LEDs. They had previously run HPS exclusively, but they’ve already done some test runs with Hawthorne as they look to dial it in on the LED side.
Corvington believes a lot of the people who have struggled with LEDs aren’t handling the environmental conditions the right way. But he also admits some cultivars seem to do better under LED compared to HPS despite many being convinced it’s always the other way around.
“I think with LEDs you really have to have your environmentals tuned in properly,” Corvington said. “A lot of people will not be getting the yields—are not getting the quality—and it’s just a result of their photosynthetic photon efficacy being off or just their environmental not being dialed in properly. You really have to have your stuff on point to grow well with LEDs.”
We asked Corvington if their cultivation standard operating procedures were strain-specific or if the genetics needed to fit into the system that Maven has built out. He argued it’s a little bit of both. While they certainly cater to the plant, they try and group the room with things that have similar tolerance levels to the environment.
Some of those rooms can get up to 162 lights. Corvington admits they obviously have a bit more control on the stuff in the smaller rooms where it’s easier to keep a tight rein on things. That being said, he’s happy with what the big rooms are putting out.
Corvington went on to speak about concerns that the big menu makes it hard for their rock stars to shine.
“I mean, that’s always there and I thought we could reduce the menu, but, you know, I feel like our cadence with our strain offerings works for the buyers that we work with in our relationships,” Corvington explained. “Because you get some groups that just kind of want six different strains and they’re happy with that. But inevitably, there are other groups that they’re perfectly happy. They want variety because the customer base wants variety.”
This article was originally published in the August 2023 issue of High Times Magazine.