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The Vape Summit is one of the longest running best run Vape Expos and in the world and it showed as they rolled out it’s 4th edition in Houston. Held from October 8 - 10 at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Vape Summit was the center of the Vape world for a few days as people came from all over the USA, Europe and Asia to see the latest, greatest in hardware as well as eLiquid creations. Cafe Racer’s experience with the Vape Summit team on all back end elements leading up to the event like registration, booth assignment and set up was top notch and a good harbinger of what was to come.
Houston is an excellent choice as a host city for a Vape Expo. It’s central Texas location with hundreds of vape shops within a 200 mile radius, easy access via the International Airport and an abundance of relatively inexpensive hotels makes this an ideal city to host an event to reach the booming Southern USA Vape market.
Once again our team reached out to a local custom cafe racer builder to share their bike with fans at our booth. Big ups to Chris Hale from Blip Workshop for awesome custom bike and for allowing us to showcase another masterpiece at our booth.
Yogurt Bomb Release, Updated 30ML Bottle Labels and Launch of flavors in 15ML Bottles
We landed at the The Vape Summit with our latest flavor creation - #YogurtBomb + an upgraded look on the 30 ML bottles (custom die cut label + foil effect on the label). Additionally we were rockin the newly released 15ML bottles for for all 3 flavors.
Vape Summit eLiquid Awards put on by Craft Vapery
We submitted all three of our craft eLiquid flavor creations to the prestigious Vape Summit eLiquid Awards curated by CRAFT Vapery. It was great to see this kind of event/award as part of the expo. It feels much more in-line with what you see at proper craft beer and wine festivals vs the usual Cloud Comps that usually are held at Vape expos.
This year, CRAFT introduced a panel of judges with a variety of experience and flavor palates to help judge the entries. This year’s panel of judges included:
Joshua Krane, Co-Founder and COO: CRAFT VAPERY
Meriwether Morris, Director of Procurement & Curation: CRAFT VAPERY; @shittywether
Roy Mananquil, Founder: Vaping ROYbot, ROYbot Sauce, Vaperazzi
Peter Nguyen, Founder: The Vape Snob; Co-Owner: The Vapor Lair
From CRAFT Vapery’s Press Release:
“We are thrilled to be able to award these incredible artisans with these Best In Show awards,” said Krane. “These are the innovators and creators we should all be looking to as industry leaders of the future, and the flavors we should all be filling our tanks with.”
To see the full list of “winners” of The Vape Summit IV Best In Show Awards are, by category - go to http://blog.craftvapery.com/craft-vapery-the-vape-summit-best-in-show-award-winners/
eLiquid submissions were made by the manufacturers weeks before the show and you had to select one of 16 flavor categories for each flavor submission. The awards were set to be announced at 3pm on the closing day of the show.
On the way to the booth on the closing day before the show opened, I was stopped by a representative from Craft Vapery who spotted the Cafe Racer logo on my shirt. They mentioned the eLiquid Awards later that day and that she STRONGLY recommended that someone from Cafe Racer be in attendance. Hmmmm. With a ton of awesome things going on at the show, I had almost forgotton about the eLiquid awards. Doh! I started to continue to walk to our booth but had to turn around and return to the Craft booth and dig for details - surely this meant that one (or more) of our flavors was going to get an award.
Turns out that Lucky 13 won the Best of Show award for the Tobacco Category. There's a rule that one company can only win one award so we are not sure if the other flavors also won their categories (Peach Guzzi for Tree Fruit and Yogurt Bomb for Creamy) - but have a strong feeling they did very well. It’s a huge honor for our entire team and our flavorist to be honored with the distinctive Best of Show award but we also feel that the rules should be amended moving forward - a win is a win - and if a company can win more than one category so be it.
The first thing I did upon hearing the news was text our flavorist who is back in California - it was only 7 am PST but i couldn’t wait to share the news with him and the team at our lab. We work really hard for months on every one of our flavors but we worked particularly hard on trying to re-invent the tobacco flavor experience by sourcing a special tobacco blend that is light years ahead of what everyone else in the industry is using.
Here's how Vape Summit broke down over the course of the 3 days:
Day 1: October 8, 2015 B2B
The opening day started off pretty quickly with vape shop owners, managers and staff started coming by the Racer booth pretty much as soon as the doors opened. Our booth location was across from our friends from GLAS and right on the main walkway of the show.
@the.vaping.vixen dropped by to take our flavors (and bike) for a spin
We also busted out our new Racer retro sign made by our super creative burning man friend Phil Spitler to help vape shops and fans spot our booth from afar among the hundreds of vendors spread out in Halls B and C. The idea was born out of the old school gas station signs and soon we'll ad a motor to have it rotate.
One thing we noticed about this show was the high quality of vape shops as well as a good mix of small to medium vape chain stores. It seems like the South has a lot more multi-shop chains than California or Florida.
The Racer Tasting Bar was busy all day long and it was awesome to get reactions and input on our 3 signature flavors Lucky 13, Peach Guzzi and the just released Yogurt Bomb . Feedback was once again amazing and we locked in some new vape shop accounts located in the South within a few hours of the show opening.
Paul Caplin, Founder and Editor from @Vapouround Magazine ready to ride
One of the highlights of the day was when team from one of our Racer retailers based in Tokyo called Vape Store M5+ unexpectedly dropped by the booth. It’s always nice to connect with our retail partners and we shared Yogurt Bomb samples and some fine Fat Tire brews with the M5+ guys.
Team from Tokyo based Vape Store M5+ enjoying some beers and #Lucky13
Day 2: October 9, 2015 B2B 10am - 5pm / General Admission 5pm - 10pm
Day 2 opened a little slowly - most likely due to many buyers and vendors hitting the fun Houston nightlife options the night before. Things gradually picked up in the early afternoon as the exhibitors started to get ready for the General Admission segment due to start at 5pm.
We had no idea of how many people to expect with the General Admission segment - but got a glimpse of what was to come when I went to grab a coffee at Starbucks and caught a peak at the 1/4 mile line of vape enthusiasts waiting in line to get in. We had given out a quite a few samples to vape shops and upon seeing the long line - had to call our warehouse in California and have them send a re-up on all 3 flavors via FedEx to be able to meet the demand of what was to sure to come.
Working a show for 12 Hours presents some challenges but with all the great energy it went by really quickly - perhaps the craft beer and wine pairing at our booth all day/evening had something to do with that.
Day 3: October 10, 2015 10am - 4:00 pm B2B + General Admission All Day
The last day of a show is always hit or miss - but Vape Summit was pretty jamming again right from the get go and the Racer Bar was rarely empty.
After a long 3 days at Vape Summit, we teamed up with our the crew from Continuous Current, who are based about 10 miles from our HQ in Encinitas, for a nice post show seafood feast and a to blow some much needed steam…or vapor in this case with a night on the town.
Big ups to The Vape Summit Team, our account rep there Lam and to all the vape shop owners/managers and fans who came by the Racer Booth to hang. We look forward to future Vape Summit events.
As a bonus to the event - finally we saw some mainstream media coverage in the Houston Chronicle the Sunday following the event. Nice work Vape Summit!
Here are some more images from the event - enjoy.
Cafe Racer's Lucky 13 - King of the Craft