Infused seltzer brand co-founder shows off sugar-free mission and special releases
The Georgetown facility where they make all the Levia in Mass is smaller than I thought it would be. A clear market leader in cannabis drinks, it feels like I see the stuff everywhere, including in the refrigerators of friends and family members who aren’t exactly known for getting stoned.
So I was surprised to find a manufacturing plant that, at 6,000 square feet, could fit inside the Dunder Mifflin warehouse, but that nevertheless yields several thousand cans of carbonated cannabis a day. Their little tanks hold 14,000 Levia 12-ouncers, while their big jugs—two of which are filled with their most popular flavor, the magnificently bitter Achieve sativa blend—hold twice as much.
As for the literal clarity of their output, as Brosnan showed us in their lab, all the terpenes, oil, and emulsion needed to dose and flavor 14,000 cans fits in a glass container the size of a pickle jar from Costco. The rest is pure H20, filtered through their special system.
Other than the size, Levia’s headquarters is basically what I’d expected—a modern industrial space that sparkles like their beverages and that essentially resembles a microbrewery. The beer comparisons, however, mostly end there.
“It’s much different than beer because it’s really simple,” Troy Brosnan, who is a co-founder along with his wife Kaitlyn, told me on a recent tour of the factory. “This is a lot easier than we ever thought it was going to be.”
For starters, Brosnan explained, “You don’t have to wait for any fermentation—it’s ready to go in less than 24 hours. The only thing that holds us up is that we have to get it tested by a third party.”
They also had some different goals in mind than most beer brewers—as well as most makers of infused cannabis products for that matter.
“When we first started out, we knew that we wanted to have a sugar-free edible,” Brosnan said. “Diabetes runs in my family, and [so many products on the market] are so sugar heavy. Sugar’s not good for your body anyway, so we wanted to give a healthier feeling. That was the hard part to figure out—we went through a lot of partners [before] finally [finding] the right people to work with.”
“Since we’ve been to market,” he added, “it’s been a blessing.” The people of Mass, myself included, have not only come to cop products like Achieve by the case, but also look forward to seasonals like their latest Raspberry Cheesecake and Pomegranate Punch cans like we do new releases from Night Shift and Lord Hobo.
“We need 40 yeses to put a flavor out,” Brosnan said. “Just one no and we go back to the drawing board.”
A Queens, NY native who came to New England in 2004 to earn his MA in journalism at Boston University, Chris Faraone is the editor and co-publisher of DigBoston and a co-founder of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. He has published several books including 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, and has written liner notes for hip-hop gods including Cypress Hill, Pete Rock, Nas, and various members of the Wu-Tang Clan.