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It’s only fitting that the 1st Secret Garage Party took place in the little known country of Lithuania. Lithu-fucking-Wha?
We put the call out to some of our global retail and distribution partners and the team from Ecodumas Vape Shops based in Kaunas, Lithuania stepped up with a solid plan to throw the 1st Secret Garage Party. We were already booked to be in Europe for ExpoVape Spain as well as Ukraine Vapor Week so the timing was perfect for late November.
Lithuania is one of the three Baltic states, it is located along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, to the east of Sweden and Denmark. and is home to about 2.9 million people. Our retail partners in Lithuania, Ecodumas, have 30 vape shops located around the country as well as a few shops in Latvia. They also are part of a vape group called Debesu Lyga - which literally translated is League of Clouds. Debesu Lyga has now over 9,000 active members. While a relatively overall population, Lithuania's vape scene is thriving.
Secret Garage Party Concept:
Cafe Racer bike builders spend a great deal of time in their garages or work shops tinkering with their bikes - looking for ways to increase both the beauty and the performance. They are makers and the bikes are a way for them to channel their creativity into a physical form. Often times they create custom parts by hand - a time consuming labor of love that makes their bikes unique from factory purchased bikes and parts.
As a tribute to these makers, we are launching a series of events inspired the thousands of amazing cafe racer builders and other DIY makers of all things around the world.
Lithuania Steps Up:
The guys from Ecodumas pulled out all the stops. They found an incredible venue that was tucked away in an industrial area, put the word out to debesu lyga, local, story in the local newspaper and booked a top local rap act named Mad Money and went all in on making sure that the event went off without a hitch.
We had no idea how the event would go down but with the amount of energy the team put into every detail on production, we knew that it would be something special.
The doors opened at 7:00 PM and I have to admit we all suffered a little from to some pre-event jitters - would people show up? -That’s always a big question mark for event organizers. By 7:30 there was a line to get in and it was pretty clear that we would have a solid crowd.
Tasting Bar - Gas Station
One of the really cool ideas that the ecodumas guys brought to the table was to offer all participants free vape tank fill ups all night at the tasting bar. We had no idea how many vapers would show up so we brought 25 120ML bottles just in case. The Racer Bar was packed all night and we ended up giving out all the eLiquid from that stash - a pretty amazing stat!
Trick Comp + Tornado
Both the trick and tornado competitions were huge crowd pleasers with the top tricksters from Lithuania showing that their creative vaping.
MadMoney (Main Music Act)
MadMoney is three-person rap act based in Lithuania. They have the largest youtube plays and followers of any music group in Lithuania Based in Kaunsas, these guys killed it and brought the house down with a massive energy set.
When the lights came on at about 3:00 AM the venue was still packed with lots of smiling faces. The party went off without a hitch with the exception of a couple of lost items but that is to pretty par for the course. We'd like to say a HUGE thanks to Ecodumas, Debesu Lyga and all of the awesome folks that came out to the event.
Secret Garage Party Goes Global:
We will be expanding the Secret Garage Party events in 2017 with possible stops in Indonesia, China, Spain, Belgium, UK and and other countries where Cafe Racer has been on the market for some time and it's time to thanks all of our customers and partners for their help in making Cafe Racer a truly global brand.
Here's a little video we put together to capture the spirit of the party:
Post Party Sauna
Lithuania takes sauna seriously and after a long night of partying, it was just what the doctor ordered for the ecocumas team and a super cool way for us to experience this traditional custom. It also helped sweat out some of the alcohol from a 14 hour day/night.
National News Covers Electronic Cigarettes:
As we were getting worked at the Lithuania Sauna ( a guy literally beats you with a stick and leaves in the Sauna) the national news came and and I was able to film a short clip
This aired nationally in Lithuania in prime time on Sunday night just before X Factor - a top rated show there. Great to see that they were using Cafe Racer for the test.
We set out on a 1 month European adventure in late September 2016. We booked 3 expos over a 3 1/2 week span with some extra time built in to travel and learn more about the vaping scene in some select areas.
In France, Vape is pronounced "Vap" - which in some ways has a cooler sound to it than it's english counterpart. The French are notorious for being heavy smokers. It's a cultural thing. Vaping has been growing at a rapid clip in France as smokers rapidly transition from combustibles to combustibles while maintaining the ritual that is such a part of everyday life in France.
Our booth set up was pretty basic and once again we were able to score an awesome Cafe bike. This bad ass Moto Guzzi actually is the personal bike of Cafe Racer's partners based in Paris - US Vaping
Opening day on Sunday was a madhouse. The line to get in stretched for about a 1/4 mile outside of the venue.
Our booth was up in the balcony as part of the US Vaping VIP area. We had a chance to meet vape shop retailers from all over Europe - including this crew Switzerland - www.facebook.com/CaveDuVapoteur/
The weather was spectacular during our stay in Paris. The walk from our hotel to the Grand Hall was along a river and had lots of nice areas to hang and enjoy the day.
One of the highlights of the Expo was a boat trip around the Seine River organized by US Vaping for their partners.
One of the big questions we had going into this expo was how would the french like our latest flavor creation - Croissant. The french have a lot of pride in their cuisine and culture and we were a little nervous as to their response .... after the first few locals sampled croissant we knew that it would be a hit. We sold out of croissant after the 2nd day at the show!
We made a ton of new friends at VapExpo Paris and look forward to returning again in 2017. Big ups to the organizers and US Vaping for helping make this a huge success
Next up on our EuroTour: Kiev, Ukraine
With Paris under our belts, the real adventure was about to begin as we made our way to Kiev, Ukraine for Kiev Vape Expo held October 1 - 2, 2016
Ukraine has a shared culture and history with neighboring nations, dating back to the 9th century. Mutual customs are shared among the cultures of Russia, Poland, Belarus and other Central Asia countries. Ukraine has gone through number of major political shifts starting with the fall of the Soviet Union then the Orange Revolution in 2004, the ousting of it's president in 2010 and most recently the protests in Kiev's Independence Square. Unlike the bloodless Orange Revolution, these protests resulted in more than 100 deaths, occurring mostly between 18 and 20 February.
We arrived in Kiev and were taken back by the friendly welcome we received from everyone we met. After settling in at the apartment we rented for the week - we met up with our local team from Vaping Stuff for a pre-event dinner.
Like many places around the world, Cafe Racer culture is alive and well in Kiev. We were able to team up with some local builders to showcase this bad ass Moto Guzzi at our booth.
This was one of the first major vape expos held in Ukraine with mostly local shops nad distribution companies exhibiting.
The event definitely had a some colorful elements that one doesn't see at most vape events in USA or Europe ... like the twerk competition and body painting.
Our booth was pretty slammed for both days. We had a ton of fun meeting the folks from Kiev and other cities in Ukraine and neighboring countries who attended.
We held a little party at a cool spot in Kiev called Rockfellow 210 which offered private rooms with Playstation, Fusball and our own bar and lounge area. Was great to chill with our #Vapegypsy friends and partners.
Big ups to Kiev and the Ukraine crew for hosting an amazing first Vape Expo. We are more than stoked to be returning for not 1 but 2 events there Nov 12 + 13 for Ukrainian Vapor Week by Smile and Ukrainian Vapor Week by Events-International
NEXT UP: Tour of Belgium and Amsterdam
After doing the Expo in Paris and then Kiev, we were ready for a little adventure and decided to head to Belgium and Amsterdam for a week to check out the vape scenes there. The fact that Belgium also has some of the best beer in the world in no way influenced this decision ;)
The first stop was Brussels where we have a Cafe Racer retailer called VIP Corner.
Pairing Lucky 13 and Lucky Bastard with Belgium Beers was the idea behind these flavors since we started the company. Leffe is a common Belgium beer found in many countries around and it one of the best beers to pair with our award winning tobacco flavors.
No visit to Brussels by someone who loves craft beer would be complete without visiting Delirium Cafe - which features over 4,500 beers. We could have spent weeks here but unfortunately only had one evening to sample the local suds.
After cruising around Brussels for an afternoon, we made the trip out to Waterloo to visit our friends at VIP Corner. This is their original shop and one of 3 that they have in the Brussels area.
After a visit to the shop, our hosts took us to a local craft brewery/restaurant for some amazing mussels and of course, some awesome local beer.
NEXT STOP: GHENT, BELGIUM
Brussels is an international city and home to the EU Parliment. It's mostly french speaking and is a modern cosmopolitan urban center. For some real Belgium scenery, we headed west to the picturesque city of Ghent.
Ghent is similar to the famous city of Bruges, but also has 100k college students and is definitely more lively. Ghent almost feels like you've entered a city from Game of Thrones.
While in Ghent we dropped in on one of Cafe Racer retail partners e-life to check out their shops and get to know the team.
NEXT STOP: ANTWERP, BELGIUM
After 4 amazing days in Ghent, we hopped on a train to Antwerp. Antwerp has a totally different vibe than Ghent. Having been mostly destroyed by bombing during WWII, Antwerp features much more modern architecture and is also home the largest diamond trading business in the world.
We decided to check out a hostel in Antwerp vs renting an apartment on Airbnb just to change things up - and man were we stoked on finding this gem called ASH
After settling in, we went out to explore and check out some of the local vape shops in Antwerp.
What we found was beyond anything we've seen in any country - a top notch vape shop called Vapor Shop with a line out the door to get in... and this is the scene there everyday!
We closed out our trip in Antwerp by dropping in on a pop up party held on the 21st floor of an office building with some top DJ's from Holland laying down some amazing deep house until the wee hours.
NEXT STOP: AMSTERDAM
The trip from Antwerp to Amsterdam by train takes a little over 2 hours. We would have liked to have stopped in Rotterdam but with only 3 days open before heading to Birningham for the Vaper Expo UK - we put that on our list for the next trip.
We were able to score a nice apartment through our friends at HardCore Vapers who are based in Amsterdam. It's always nice when you're on the road for an extended trip to stay in places that feel like home - with plenty of room to work, chill as well as cook the occasional meal.
Amsterdam is a city built for cycling. Stats show that over 40% of the people in Amsterdam bike commute to work vs drive or take public transport. We took this to heart and rented a couple of bikes to explore as well as use to get to our meetings there.
We were stoked to be able to drop in and visit our friends at Hardcore Vapers. They have a shop plus a lab and distribution company and are one of the main drivers of vape culture in Holland.
Thank you Amsterdam for a few days of catch up, cycling and another opportunity to meet some awesome people.
NEXT STOP: BIRMINGHAM UK FOR VAPER EXPO UK
This was Cafe Racer's 2nd time being a part of the Vaper Expo UK but this time we were able to bring our full booth vs be a part of a distributor's booth. The event had over 8k visitors last year and the organizers were predicting at least 10k over the course of 3 days.
Big Ups to our friends at Down And Out Cafe Racers for sharing this 2014 Custom Triumph Scrambler with us. It's aways great to meet the Cafe Racer builders spread out around the world.
Things got a little crazy at the booth when our friend Alika from Kvass broke into the bottle of Ukranian Vodka that we brought for him.
The show was pretty large as vape expos go. The creativity in the booth designs was definitely some of the best we've seen at any show - highlighting how mature the vape market is in the UK.
Our European partners US Vaping had a bangin booth that was packed from the opening bell to the closing hour of the show.
The UK was an amazing last stop on the Fall Tour. It's great to see how the scene here has matured and that the % of people vaping vs smoking is steadily increasing and spreading beyond the hard core vape community.
We are headed back to Europe in mid November 2016 for some more expos and touring. Keep an eye out on the blog for the next update.
Europe is quickly switching from combustables to vaping and we are stoked to be exhibiting at 3 of the top Vape Expos there over the next month.
First up is Paris Vape Expo taking place Sept. 25 - 27 at the majestic Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris. This was one of the biggest vape events in Europe last year and we look forward to introducing Cafe Racer's line to the French vape community. We can't wait to see how the French like Croissant!
The next stop on the tour will be the Kiev Vape Expo being held October 1 - 2. Ukraine will be a fun adventure for the Cafe Racer crew. It's a country with a rich cultural history but a vaping culture that is really getting started.
Our last stop on this month long vape adventure will be in Birmingham, England for the Vaper Expo UK taking place October 12 - 14. We exhibited at this show last year but this time we'll be bringing the full Cafe Racer booth and are stoked to be featuring a kick ass Cafe Racer bike from a local builder. Here's a sneak peak at the bike we'll be featuring in Birmingham
With the upcoming European vape regulations, known as the TPD , kicking in shortly, we have been working around the clock to meet the stringent rules that will govern vaping in Europe in the coming months - including the very unpopular rule that any eLiquid containing nicotine must be sold in 10ML plastic bottles.
We’ll be teaming up with US Vaping to distribute Cafe Racer's award winning eLiquids throughout Europe and will have our TPD compliant packaging ready by the end of October 2016.
We'll post some post event blogs in the coming weeks.
Cafe Racer Vape
The Vaper Expo UK, now in it's 2nd year, is one of the UK’s biggest and most recognized vape expo’s.
In conjunction with the Vaper Expo UK, Vapouround Magazine held a gala Awards event. The Vapouround Awards were held on May 4th at the NEC in Birmingham. From January 2016 to April 1st 2016 Vapouround invited companies to enter their products into the Vapouround Awards for a number of categories including 8 Juice flavors, Best Mod, Best Trade Show, etc - which were all judged categories. In addition to these, Vapouround opened up 3 categories for fans to vote: Best Vape Shop, Vaper of the Year and Juice of the Year. All entries were free of charge and had to fit 1 of the categories.
Held as a stand alone gala dinner event, this was truly a touch of class that was a high water mark for the vape industry as it relates to awards. The care that the Vapouround team took to insuring that things were submitted and judged properly ie blind judgjing on all Juice awards, making sure that each entree meets certain minimum compliance and ethical standards really was outstanding.
Cafe Racer's Lucky 13 made it to the finals for Best Tobacco flavor category. Additionally, Lucky 13 was nominated for Juice of the Year. This was a huge honor for a flavor that has already won Best in Show at Vape Summit V in Houston, TX in 2015 (click here for full recap of that event)
With over 250 industry execs on hand for the dinner and awards event, the evening had the air of a proper awards event that many more mature industries hold and was lacking in the fast growing vape world.
With 2 major nominations for Cafe Racer's Lucky 13, I was a bit nervous but also elated to be in such awesome company with the top UK and USA brands.
Lucky 13 won Best Tobacco. Like a proud father, I was super stoked and proud of the Cafe Racer team and elated that Lucky 13 once again was recognized as one of the best tobacco flavors in the world.
Lucky 13 was also up for Juice of the Year. Unlike the regular flavor categories which were judged, this was a reader poll and anyone around the world could vote for their favorite eLiquid as often as 1x per day for a period of 3 weeks. When we found out that Lucky 13 was nominated for this category we put out the word to our fans via social media and our newsletter - and they responded in droves! While Lucky 13 didn't take first place, it did finish 2nd and very close to the winner in voting % with 21.5% of the overall vote vs 30.5% for the winner - Nora's Dream. Big thanks to everyone who voted!
For a full overview on the Vapouround Awards a complete list of winners in all categories CLICK HERE
With all the excitement of the Vapouround Awards over, it was then time to prepare for the Vaper Expo UK. Held in the massive NEC Complex in Birmingham (UK's 2nd largest city located about 1 1/2 hours Northwest of London) the Vaper Expo UK would be Cafe Racer's debut in Europe and were stoked to mix it up with the UK vapers, retailers, distributors.
The turnout for the expo was fantastic with over 15,000 people attended over the 3 days.
The team rocked it all 3 days and we once again found some great craft beers to pair with Lucky 13 and Lucky Bastard to share with folks at the stand.
After 3 hectic days at the show, I took a couple of days in London to take in the sights and enjoy some downtime.
#Handcheck from the top of St. Paul's Cathedral
The Ace Cafe in northwest London is one of the most iconic biker hangouts in history—and the spiritual home of the original 'cafe racer' motorcycle. It was great to make the pilgrimage here to experience this place first hand and hang with some of the local motorbike enthusiasts.
I truly felt like a #LuckyBastard on this trip. From the Vapouround Awards to the Vaper Expo UK and to taking in some of London's sights - it was an amazing trip - the first of what I feel will be many more to come.
Some additional images from the show via Instagram:
We usually post about vape events and vape related topics - but we couldn't resist to share this article showcasing the best custom BMW bikes of 2015 - and there are some real beauties! Below are some of our favorites.
To read the full article, check out the Top BMW Custom Motorcycles of 2015.
Vape Northeast was billed as the largest vape event in the Northeast - which is the sprawling urban megalopolis that spans between New York and Boston - an area with a population of approx 30 million people! Held at Foxwoods Resort and Casino in southern Connecticut - the event was about 2 hours from Boston to the North and 3 hours to New York City to the South only an hour from Providence Rhode Island - making this a pretty easy drive for the thousands of vape shops and vape fans in the area - and the turn out didn't disappoint.
Vape Northeast was the expo we had been looking forward to for months to be able to share Cafe Racer's award winning e-liquid creations with the fine folks of New England and the mid-Atlantic states.
Once again we parachuted in a few days before the show to do a vape shop tour of the area. Visiting local shops is a great way to learn about the regional differences in e-liquid preferences, innovative shop design and what's hot in hard ware. We also really enjoy meeting the shop owners and retail staff in their stores vs just meeting them our booth. We hit about 20 shops in Rhode Island and Connecticut between Tuesday and Thursday - including a fun Vape Northeast Pre-Party at one of Cafe Racer's accounts in Bridgeport CT called Stoked.
It was great to meet up with the Stoked team and their awesome customers while enjoying some craft beer - usually paired with Lucky 13 and Lucky Bastard.
After a fun evening with the Stoked crew we headed north to Foxwoods and set up the booth and prepared for a rawkus 3 days of Vape Northeast.
We once again were able to score a great bike from a local builder. This bad boy is a 2004 Triumph that Peter from Cafe Cycles RI had been working on for a customer for 6 months. Peter specializes in hand formed metal parts for vintage motorcycles, restoration and bad ass custom builds.
The Cafe Racer Tasting Bar was pretty much slammed from the opening bell on Friday afternoon until the closing of the event on Sunday evening. We made a ton of new friends and fans and are stoked to have signed up a grip of new shops to carry our products in NH, RI, CT, NY, NJ and even a couple from outside the area including FL and KY.
We'd like to say a special thanks to Michael Wittenberg and his amazing Vape Northeast Team for hosting a great regional event. We look forward to their next event being held in Colorado later this summer.
Great to see many old friends and new - including the team from The Real Destination Vape from East Providence RI (top left), Mad Vapes Nashua NH (top right), Stoked CT (bottom left) and the one and only 2 Mod God Joey Jux (bottom right)
We once again featured Craft Beer pairing at the booth with Lucky 13 and Lucky Bastard - great beer and finely crafted e-juice - what's not to like!
The Racer Tasting Bar line-up
The team from Vapor 9 in CT - who picked up all 4 Cafe Racer flavors for their 3 awesome shops
Both tasting bars were slammed for the duration of the show
Giant Vapes sponsored the show and broke out it's awesome mega booth
Cloudy with a chance of Vape at the show stage!
Being close to the town where I grew up in Rhode Island has it's benefits - including inviting my Mom out to the show to see experience the vape world first hand.
Behind every good show there's a production manager - and Sue had a box of supplies that was stocked to the hilt to help exhibitors out with whatever we needed in a pinch. Thanks Sue and the entire Vape Northeast Team!
ECC is known throughout the vape world for throwing the biggest vape expo in Southern California every summer - last year’s ECC Pomona (see our recap of that event here) attendance was estimated at 75,000. ECC has also been putting on a series of regional shows called VPX the Vapers Exhibit - first in Niagra Falls then last fall in New Orleans (which we also exhibited at) This time around - ECC chose the motor city and we sure are glad they did - what an amazing place, vape scene and a great location in the midwest that brought vape shop owners/managers from Chicago, Ohio, Western PA and even some from New York and further.
Detroit is a city that is known for the auto industry, birthplace of techno as well as for it’s urban blight - almost declaring bankruptcy in 2014. When most people think of Detroit, many recall the film 8 Mile staring Eminem, which was actually a pretty dope film. What they don’t picture is a city that is in the midst of a rebirth - transitioning from a rust belt manufacturing center to a more modern urban city with tech companies (Quicken Loans being the biggest), hipsters on bicycles, great craft beer and a urban lofts for a fraction of what people pay in Brooklyn.
Downtown Detroit by night
Signs of Detroit's decay still abound
VPX Detroit was held March 4 - 6th. Cafe Racer’s plan was to parachute a few days before the show to check out the shops in the area. Flying in from warm and sunny southern California was a bit of a climate shock - landing in a snow storm and 24’ temperatures (- 4 Celsius). The weather only got worse on day 1 - with a major storm swinging through the area dropping 4” of snow - making driving unmanageable for this fair weather Cali dude.
When the weather broke on Wednesday, I was able to hit about 12 shops over the course of the day. Starting out in mega college town of Ann Arbor and working my way closer to the center worked out great. I even had a chance to stop at Cafe Racer Vintage Motorcyle Shop - a custom motorbike shop that we had contacted to sort out a bike to use at our booth at the show. John and Malisa, the owners, were super friendly and were also really interested in quitting smoking and starting to vape - which was a double plus - as this is always one of our primary missions to convert smokers into vapers and leave behind a legacy that will help transform people's lives.
The reception by the local vape shops to our award winning line of artfully crafed e-liquid was amazing. Highlights of the day included dropping into one of Cafe Racer’s existing accounts - Detroit Vapor and finally meeting the team there and then the last stop of the day - Metro Vapor Plus closer to downtown.
JD from Metro Vapor Plus
Metro Vapor Plus is a thriving shop. The place was packed with regulars when I stepped through the door - but the store manager and team were super friendly and when I pulled out some Cafe Racer samples they jumped at the chance to try them.
VPX Detroit was held in the mega center knows as Cobo Center. This is the same building that hosts the world famous North American International Auto Show - and it’s massive. There were approx 45 companies exhibiting - surprisingly most were based in Michigan with many of the big California based companies opting instead to do a show in Poland or opting out completely. Their loss was our gain as the show delivered a fantastic attendance for both the B2B and a terrific number of vape enthusiasts for the general admission.
The Cafe Racer team was busy from the opening bell with the tasting bar bangin’ non-stop. We picked up some fantastic local craft beer from Founders Brewing Company to do pairings at the booth with Lucky 13 and Lucky Bastard. One of Founder's flavors was even called Dirty Bastard - which was an amazing dark ruby in color and brewed with seven varieties of imported malts with hints of smoke and peat, paired with a malty richness and a right hook of hop power to give it the bad attitude that a beer named Dirty Bastard has to live up to. With an ABV of 8.5% - this was one to sip slowly but paired amazingly well with Lucky 13 and Lucky Bastard.
We made a ton of new friends at VPX and were able to sign up some new accounts on the spot - ranging local shops like Metro Vapor Plus, Hometown Vapor and others to Flavr Vapor Lounge from Lancaster, PA and Time 2 Vape from Queens, New York and even a great shop back in SoCal called Vapor Zone.
E-liquid flavor tastes tend to be regional and Detroit definitely welcomed our line with open arms - especially the tobacco based Lucky brothers as well as Peach Guzzi and Yogurt Bomb. I look forward to returning to Detroit - hopefully ECC will choose to do another VPX here next year.
Here's a look at ECC's VPX Show which took Detroit by storm March 4 - 6, 2016. Cafe Racer's tasting bar was rawkin all weekend. We made lots of new friends in Detroit - amazing city and a great place for an event like this. Vape Family is everywhere! MUSIC CREDIT: Who's Afraid of Detroit by Claude von Stroke Show Website: http://www.thevapersexhibit.com/
Full recap coming soon.
RY4 is one of the oldest e-liquid flavors for vaping with a rich history and it continues to evolve as e-liquid artists update this profile with new twists.
RY4 is an umbrella term for a flavor profile that incorporates three basic component flavors: a tobacco base (usually mild and understated, but occasionally stronger and more up front), caramel, and vanilla. The caramels and vanillas are as varied as the tobacco bases. The trend has been to slowly evolve RY4 by adding other flavors to the mix, but those three are essential.
The term RY4 comes from the original e-Cig produced by the Ruyan Group Ltd. Ruyan launched the first production electronic cigarette on the market back in 2004 under the Ruyan brand. For more details on this - go to http://www.caferacervape.com/blogs/news/36962049-a-brief-history-of-e-cig-vape-design-and-evolution
Orignal Ruyan e-Cigarette Ruyan founder Hon Lik
Ruyan’s blend #4 e-Liquid was originally made by Chang Ning Dekang Biological Technology Co. for Ruyan Group Limited. The name 'Ruyan' was commonly shortened to just RY, with the blend number being placed after it, thus 'Ruyan blend #4' becomes just RY4.
Here's a snippet from the RY4 Forum: “The very first RY liquid was created in a single afternoon by two men: Ludo, one of the owners of Janty, and a Chinese flavor chemist, presumably working for Dekang. They started in the lab of a Dekang factory in China with some basic flavors they both agreed on and made various "test juices" tweaking the recipe along the way. After about four hours, they came up with the one they liked best, and they christened it Ruyan 4—" the name was abbreviated to RY4."
FROM A Reddit THREAD ON THIS TOPIC WITH JANTY himself WEIGHING IN
“Ruyan never had anything to do with an RY4 flavor. It was Janty who designed it with Dekang. They were the first to sell it and when other companies started buying it from Dekang and selling it. Janty used to even write to them and ask them not to call it RY4 which is why you would see it called names like Riskee Yuice. Here's an interview with the founder of Janty:
Ludo | Janty: "We were never in this for the money, we grew out of the vaping community in 2006 and the only thing that drives us is passion. We design and invent stuff, the eGo for example."
Ludo | Janty: “ Our RY4 for example is named after him. I made RY4 in the lab of Dekang on a Sunday afternoon with the chemist and called it Ruyan nr4, then I changed it to RY4. …Then it was copied, just like our eGo."
Blake | GuideToVaping: "I’m shocked! I had no clue you were the first to make ‘RY4′… nor did I know where RY4 the name came from."
Ludo | Janty: "Ah, well now you know. Ha! Ruyan nr4 because it took us 5 samples to get to the fourth one, which was the one that was the exact right formula. I knew people would love that taste. I was a heavy smoker myself you know, 2 packs a day. No more since 2006…"
Whether that’s the full back story or not, it’s suffice to say that RY4 has endured and is still a top flavor out of thousands of options now available. Much like a beer style like IPA, RY4 has many different variants and some companies even market flavors like RY5 or RY4 2.0
One of the problems with the bulk of the RY4 e-liquids on the market today is that most companies use the same 4 or 5 flavor houses to get their tobacco flavor base concentrates. These are almost always synthetic tobacco flavors and, in my opinion, and the market’s opinion, most tobacco flavors are awful. Many are quite harsh, have either a pipe or cigar tobacco flavor element or worse, a cigarette like flavor which as we all know - is putrid at best. This has caused many people to move away from tobacco flavors … but we hope to change that.
When I started Cafe Racer E-Liquid, doing a proper RY4 flavor to go with my love of craft beers was a top priority. Given that most of the commonly used tobacco flavors available were unacceptable, I made a pilgrimage to tobacco country (Carolinas, Virginia, etc) in search of a new source. After weeks of meetings and testing, I was able to find an amazing tobacco flavor that was naturally extracted Virginia tobacco and a compound of several ingredients creating a rich, smooth almost buttery tobacco that was a perfect base to build a next generation RY4 that I would love to vape.
Our Lucky 13 flavor took over 6 months to create. We played around with many different versions - sticking with the base of Vanilla, Caramel and Tobacco sounds simple but when you have hundreds of vanillas and dozens of caramels to choose from, this process takes a while. Additionally, we felt that we could improve the RY4 experience by adding some new flavors. The addition of toasted almonds was a big breakthrough - giving Lucky 13 some backbone. Additionally we added several other key ingredients for a total of, you guessed it, 13, to get the final flavor profile.
Lucky 13 launched alongside our other flavor Peach Guzzi at the World Vapor Expo in Miami on May 29, 2015. Right away the feedback was fantastic with many people saying that it’s the best tobacco flavor they have tried. More recently, Lucky 13 took the prestigious Best of Show Award at The Vape Summit IV held in Houston for the tobacco category as well as host of other awards from Expos and Vape publications globally.
We couldn’t be more stoked and proud of this updated RY4 flavor creation and are have just launched a flavor extension of Lucky 13 that features a similar base flavor profile but with a richer, stronger and more nutty tobacco experience - which we affectionally named Lucky Bastard. Lucky Bastard launched in Indonesia in early January 2016 and launched in China, and the UK in mid to late January of the same year. To date, Lucky 13 and Lucky Bastard continue to be Cafe Racer's best selling flavors.
We have taken our years of tobacco flavor experience and ported this over to Nic Salts, optimized for low wattage devices like Mi-Pod, Aspire Breeze, Suorin Air, etc - and affectional call the line Salty Bastard. Salty Bastard Tobacco provides an amazingly smooth creamy tobacco experience for these MTL devices and is already becoming a global hit.
2015 was a milestone for the vape community in many ways - Sub-ohm tanks, temp control, and the rapid expansion of vape expos both large and small. It was also a year in which many new vape expos were launched - with varying degrees of success - and a couple of outright failures.
Conceived by Mark Evans Jr, one of the founders of the super successful World Vapor Expo that takes place in Miami every June, the Orlando Vapor Show's first edition on December 11 - 12, 2015 was something of a proof of concept test for Mark and the Orlando Vapor Show Team - and we think it passed with flying colors.
At first glance, Orlando’s central Florida location for a Vape Expo is a bit of a head scratcher. When you dig a little deeper - it actually makes a lot of sense. Orlando is the #2 city in the USA for trade shows after Las Vegas. Florida’s entertainment capital, Orlando, lies just 1 hour from the Atlantic Coast and home to the famed theme parks of Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World plus a plethora of great bars and restaurants.
The Orlando Vapor Show is a good example in the industry's shift from mega shows like ECC to smaller regional shows where manufacturers, retailers and vape enthusiasts can come together and create an amazing experience while maintaining level of professionalism that we have come to expect from a well run vape expo.
The International Palms Resort and Conference Center
For this first edition, the Orlando Vapor Show was held in a fairly small location - The International Palms Resort and Conference Center . The space for the show was actually pretty limited - held in what is better described as a ballroom than true exhibit hall and that only allowed approx 30 exhibitors space to display their wares. The event sold out the exhibit space months in advance as Mark and his team have deep roots in the industry and getting brands and distributors on board was the easy part. Delivering a large audience of shop owners/managers + a good showing on the General Admissions times was the real challenge - but Mark and his team had a plan.
With vape expos popping up like weeds across the country, it’s increasingly important for these events to have a strong marketing plan to drive traffic to the show that will deliver what they promise to the exhibitors who pay thousands of dollars for booth space, travel, hotels, etc. The Orlando Vapor Expo Team knew that making their first event a success would be a lot more than “if we build it, they will come” and executed a marketing plan that delivered over 2,500 general admission guests plus 800 B2B (vape shop owners, managers and staff) attendees.
The Orlando Vapor Show marketing plan included months of outreach to B&M shops throughout central and south Florida + a pre show magazine distributed to hundreds of vape shops throughout Florida They also worked with the Florida chapter of SFADA (Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association - http://sfata.org/ ) who organized a bus to bring around 80 people from several area shops to the show. These efforts paid off as the show was already packed by the opening bell at 10AM on Friday December 11th.
The smaller exhibit hall combined with a great turn out meant that most exhibitors were busy as hell from the opening to the closing bell. The Cafe Racer Tasting Bar was as rockin as we’ve ever been for almost all of the 2 days - sampling our award winning Lucky 13 Craft E-Liquid along with Peach Guzzi and Yogurt Bomb - delivering lots of great leads from FL shops and some nice onsite sales to consumers stoked to bring home some of our e-liquid flavor creations.
A clip our Cafe Racer's Brand Ambassador having some fun with her native Jamaican lingo
The social side of the event was impressive. Starting off with a pre-event happy hour on Thursday through two crazy nights with the crews form Vapouround Magazine, Vaping Militia and a host of other exhibitors and industry folks - we didn’t get a whole lot of sleep and drank a few too many sugary cocktails but it was well worth the time to hang with friends new and old.
Next up, Mark and his team will be hosting the 2nd Orlando Vapor Show March 25 and 26, 2016 at the much larger Central Florida Fairgrounds. The exhibit space will be double the size and with the success of the 2015 show, we would expect double the turn-out by shops and vape fans from throughout the Southeast USA.
Other vape show promoters are also adding regional shows - especially ECC under the banner of VPX - The Vape Exhibit, with expos in Detroit and rumor has it, Brooklyn this Spring/Summer. The list of vape shows in 2016 is growing by the day and it will be interesting to see how many the industry, vape shops and vape enthusiasts will support.
Special Thanks: We'd like to thank Donny Moore from Twisted Spoke Cycles in Melbourne Beach, FL for working with us to showcase his bad ass 1972 Green Machine BMW Cafe Racer at the show. We make it a point to work with local custom builders in each region where we do shows to highlight the amazing custom culture creations that these guys do for the love of building cool bikes.
As part of our recent Asian Adventure to exhibit at the China Vape Expo in Shenzhen, our crew teamed up with some old friends in Hong Kong and hit the underground party called Secret Island Party. We originally were just going to attend and hang - but were asked to set up the Racer Tasting Bar to share the vape experience and our flavors with the fine folks of Hong Kong - here's a look at this awesome event:
The first part of the trip was to take a ferry from Hong Kong to one of the many islands about 30 minutes away. The Hong Skyline from the sea was breathtaking. #YogurtBomb handcheck
Next we jumped in a local boat known as a sampan for the final leg to the mysterious Secret Island
The organizers sent out this map - which was actually fairly accurate as far as the layout and set up
Hong Kong's Jason B with a quick intro as our Sampan arrived at the beach
The beach arrival area was stunning - with camping nestled on the white sandy beach
The main area (aka center camp) had several bars, lots of food and of course, some excellent music.
Bass Music China and one cool looking Yogi
As the sun went down, things shifted to a nocturnal wonderland
We set up the Racer Tasting Bar at the stage called "The Rabbit Hole"
Surprisingly, the people of Hong Kong had very little knowledge of vaping, despite the birth of the Ecig industry less than 50 miles away in Shenzhen. They did love the concept and the Racer flavors and we hopefully turned quite a few smokers on to the idea that there's an alternative to combustion that is light years ahead of dirty old cigs.
It was a lot of fun to "share" Cafe Racer's flavors
Meanwhile, the 3,000 or so people raged on at the several stages.
Late night vape and cocktail before retiring
Daybreak by the camping area
Racer crew hangin in the shade with Steve, Louis and Pinky the Duck
Lots of interesting characters on the beach ... and one hard core acid techno guy
Big ups to the whole team from Secret Island Party and to our local hosts May and Jason for opening up the world of Hong Kong's underground music and arts scene to us ..... we can't wait to return next year!
Here are some more pics from the event organizers... enjoy
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
With the popularity of Rebuildable Dripper Atomizer (RDAs) and the birth of the early Rebuildable Atomizers (RBAs) for tanks over the last few years that allow people to build custom coils well into the Sub-Ohm realm, it was pretty clear that some company would take this concept and apply it to a tank with a pre-made disposable coil that was capable of delivering sub ohm performance.
First, Some Basic Vape Tech:
To simplify, Sub Ohm vaping uses much more power to spread a larger amount of heat over a much larger area, which causes more e-liquid to be vaporized in one moment. If you really want to geek out and learn more about the science of this, check out Ohm's law video - The Arduino Guide.
In a nutshell, the atomizer which powers the vapor production on a vape rig is basically a heating coil. It works because electrical resistance (the energy lost to the metaphorical “friction” on the circuit) creates heat, which can be thought of as “waste” energy.
You might assume that a higher resistance atomizer would produce more heat and therefore more vapor, but in actuality the power is more important. You can think of the resistance in the atomizer as converting a proportion of the energy flowing through the system into heat. So whilst a higher proportion is good, what’s much more important is the amount of energy flowing through the system in the first place.
With electrons flowing through the wire at a greater rate, more of them bang into stuff (encounter resistance) and produce heat. This is why power (the wattage) is the most important measure of the amount of vapor and flavor transfer you’ll get.
Whether you get the science behind the technology, or not, all that really matters is vapor production and a device that delivers the full flavor locked inside of the eLiquid you choose to vape.
Sub Ohm Vaping Moves from Hobbyists to Mainstream:
Eventually the engineers at some of the big vaporizer hardware companies caught on and got to work to replicate the experience of using an rebuildable atomizer (RBA) without the hassle and engineering know how. In 2014, Aspire released it's newest tank called the Atlantis. The Atlantis was the first Sub Ohm tank to hit the market with pre-made coils.
As a result, Sub Ohm vaping has created this new era in vaping where it doesn’t take a lot of experience to reach a high performance with much more vapor production and much better flavor delivery from e-liquids.
Leonardo DiCaprio spotted on a beach in St. Barts vaping
Sub Ohm tanks with pre-made coils have quickly established themselves as the industry’s hottest hardware segment, with companies like Aspire, Kanger, Joyetech and Smok and Herakles by Sense ( to mention just a few) all releasing their own new models over the last few months.
All of these represent an exponential leap forward in terms of vapor production and flavor clarity, delivering an experience that has historically been the exclusive purview of folks with ohm readers and spools of wire. Technologically speaking, these new tanks aren’t doing anything mind-blowing — they’re essentially taking what RDAs and RBAs have been doing for years and putting it on a production line.
So What does this All Mean for Vapers and the Industry?
Sub Ohm vaping delivers much more vapor. Vapor production is a key component for a satisfying vape experience. If you’re a smoker and try vaping for the first time, you would want to experience a full hit (ie throat hit) that you can feel as well as get some nice flavor. Many of the early e-cigs failed to delivery much vapor and required a lot of patience and persistence to get a decent draw, never mind replace the experience and ritual that smokers were looking for.
Since most of the early rebuildable atomizers required quite a lot of skill to make - this wasn’t a good option for a newbie looking to switch from smoking to vaping. They typically would buy a cig-alike at a convenience store or if they were well informed - might actually seek out a vape shop to see what was available in the higher end models. The early open tank vaporizers that used cartomizers were a big leap forward from the early cig-alikes, but still didn’t deliver an experience anything near what the more advanced RDA’s could.
Photo Credit: www.vaping360.com
Enter the new Sub Ohm tanks with pre-made coils - and you have a real game changer. Now pretty much anyone with a few $’s in their pocket can walk into a Vape Shop and get an advanced sub ohm tank and battery powerful enough to safely power the coil and walk out with a high performance device that delivers heaps of vapor and lots of flavor.
Does Sub Ohm Vaping Deliver Better Flavor?
Definitely! You have access to much higher concentration of vapor and the extra power being used unlocks many of the flavor subtleties that you wouldn’t notice if you weren’t using a Sub Ohm coil.
The flavor transfer is extremely intense. A good e-Liquid tastes amazing (and bad eLiquid tastes even worse). This has helped push the e-Liquid industry to work on more complex flavors that delivery an amazing range of flavors. It’s become an art form to work on not only the flavors but how those flavors mix and even the order that you experience them i.e. Cafe Racer's Peach Guzzi flavor starts off with the Peach, then you get some sweet notes from the Blueberry followed by the rich taste of Vanilla Custard - all on the inhale. On the exhale you pick up a nice refreshing hint of Green Tea. This was by design and this experience would not be possible without a more powerful (sub ohm) device.
Dropping Levels of Nicotine:
3MG is the new norm!
Many sub ohm vapers drop their nicotine level quite low as soon as they enter the Sub Ohm realm to avoid the harsh taste that nicotine delivers. Simply put, the less nicotine you use, the better your liquid will taste, especially with Sub Ohm coil performance. There is also a lot more volume of vapor being delivered with a sub ohm coil, so more nicotine is consumed, even though the percentage is less.
The most popular Nicotine level in Cafe Racer’s e-Liquid line up is 3MG - the lowest offered! This is a trend that we are hearing from almost every other e-Liquid manufacturer and all of our Vape Shop retail partners. Some e-Liquid companies are now offering 1.5MG - something unheard of just 2 years ago when the typical nicotine level for your average (non-sub ohm) vaper was between 12MG and 24MG.
Besides not having to deal with making your own coils (or having a builder at a vape shop make one for you) many long time vapers like the convenience of a tank over dripping. Dripping certainly has it's place but it's a bit of a pain in the ass when your driving, out with friends or working away at your latest project around the house.
You will need a higher wattage battery or MOD to put your sub-ohm tank so look for something above 20-30 watt range. There are a ton of options out there ranging in price from $30 to $100's of dollars. The variable voltage batteries tend to dominate the market with new models and chip sets that power them coming to market weekly.
The latest trend in vaping these high powered devices is temperature control.
Temperature control is the vaping industry’s latest attempt at improving e-cig power delivery technology. As with variable wattage and variable voltage devices before them, temperature control devices promise a better vaping experience with less fuss, by measuring and limiting the temperature a coil is allowed to reach. This is something that is still unfolding and is a topic that is worthy of it's own post sometime in the near future.
For a detailed History of Vape Design and Evolution - click HERE to check out a previous post we did on this subject covering the birth of e-cigs up to the Sub Ohm RDAs.
Note on this post:
Vaping and Vape technology can be a very complex subject. This article is a less about the tech side than about the implications of what the new technology means to vapers and the industry. We're sure we left out a lot of details on this subject and welcome your feedback on in the comments area.
We invite you to check out Cafe Racer's line of hand-crafted e-Lliquid. We launched in May of 2015 with just 2 flavors - Lucky13 and Peach Guzzi after more than 9 months of R&D. We focus on creating amazing flavors and releasing them slowly as we continue to push the frontiers of flavor delivery and experiences. On October 2 we'll start shipping our latest flavor creation - Yogurt Bomb. Enjoy.
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It's been 3 weeks since the ECC Expo was a wrap and the vapor is still settling in Southern California.
The event was a milestone for the fast growing vape industry with eLiquid + Hardware manufacturers, Vape Distributors and key people from thousands of vape specialty retailers rubbing shoulders for 4 days along with tens of thousands of vape enthusiasts who came during the open consumer days on Saturday and Sunday. Total estimated attendance over the 4 day event was 100,000.
With ECC Expo taking place in the heart of Southern California's "Vape Valley", many of the exhibitors pulled out all the stops and went all out on booth designs and set ups. Having a West Coast major vape event also makes it easier for overseas buyers and distributors attending from Asia - which is also experiencing rapid growth as people in countries like Indonesia, China and Japan are quickly moving away from combustible tobacco to vaping.
With any event at this scale, you have to expect some snafu's that will ruffle a few feathers.
In addition to hosting ECC at a new venue with 5 separate halls, mother nature decided to turn up the heat with a major heat wave that pushed daytime temps above 100 degrees for all 4 days of the show. This definitely added to the frustrations as thousands had to wait in line for up to 2 hours to gain access. There's got to be a faster way to check people's credentials/ID/registration confirmation and allow them access and I'm sure that this is a high priority for future ECC/Vape events.
With the event spread out over 5 Halls many reported frustrations in finding brands/exhibitors or even knowing that there were 5 halls to check out. Many attending didn't download the ECC App and were without any kind of map or guide to help them navigate. A simple paper map (vs the app only) would have been a big plus.
For exhibitors, many companies were not notified of their confirmed booth location until the weekend before the event, and some companies found out that they were not even placed inside one of the halls, but rather outside in tents between the halls. There were several reasons given by ECC for all the chaos around booth placement including a last minute decision by the Fire Marshall to force ECC to leave more space with so many pre-sale tickets being sold. Regardless of the reasons for this, ECC is very aware that they must get the back end exhibitor management sorted to avoid this from happening at future events.
Despite the heat wave, long lines at the entrance and chaotic 5 Hall Set Up, ECC was a resounding success for the industry and many brands (including Cafe Racer ) reported record orders placed at the show, hundreds of sales inquiries and new connections made - all important to moving the industry forward.
Cosmic Fog was the Premier ECC Sponsor and broke out their new mega booth. They along with hype brands like Space Jam seem to be in an arms race to see who can spend the most money and create the biggest, loudest mega hype booths possible - all to showcase the same 5 or 10 flavors of eLiquid that they've been selling for some time. This trend along with the fact that many smaller (and usually more innovative) companies were either denied the ability to exhibit or ended up with much smaller booth footprints in far flung locations does not seem like it benefits Vape Shop Buyers looking for new products, consumers or the Industry as a whole.
Many companies used ECC 2015 as a platform to launch new products. One notable was Mr Good Vape - who decided to reformulate all 12 of their flavors after receiving lab test results that detected trace amounts of Diacetyl and Acetyl Propionyl. More on this here.
ECC was also Cafe Racer's platform to launch our 3rd flavor - Yogurt Bomb, joining #Lucky13 and #PeachGuzzi as Cafe Racer's signature flavor line-up. Yogurt Bomb was a huge success at the ECC and will start shipping on or around September 16, 2015.
Innovations in Hardware and Accessories continue to come at a rapid pace. Everything from the latest temp control vaping set ups to cool accessories like Wüd - wooden skins and wraps to turn an ordinary box mods / batteries into real nice wooden boxes. It was a vapers paradise with many vendors offering great show specials and discounts for attendees.
ECC holds the distinction of being the world's largest Vape event. It's a little surprising that the event received very little media coverage from the likes of Vice or other progressive media outlets, especially with the event taking place so close to Los Angeles. Perhaps this is a good thing but at some point someone is going to break the story open and hopefully they will do this with an open mind and an agenda-less, non-biased story.
Here are a few more photos from ECC. We look forward to working with the show's organizers on future events - and it looks like ECC will be rolling into New Orleans in November - and we look forward to that and other events that the ECC team unleash around the country.
Here's a closing shot of Dustin Kott from Kott Motorcycles dropping off one of his custom Cafe Racer creations at ECC which we showcased at our booth.
This year’s annual ECC Expo was held at the Fairplex in Pomona, California (30 miles outside of LA) on August 13-16, 2015. ECC 2015 is on course to be a high water mark for the booming Vape Culture (so far). With 5 Halls packed with hundreds of vendors selling the latest hardware, eLiquid flavor creations and a variety of vape accessories and an estimated paid attendance of over 100,000 people, this still relatively unknown sub-culture is looking like it's about to burst into the more mainstream consciousness.
The Cafe Racer Tasting Bar and Booth has been jam packed all week with buyers and shop owners and their management teams loving our unique complex artfully crafted eLliquid flavor creations + clean distinctive design, packaging and in-store merchandising. Cafe Racer's #Lucky13 and #PeachGuzzi flavors continue to get rave reviews and the launch of #YogurtBomb has been a massive hit with retailers and vape enthusiasts alike.
Here are a few shots from the first 3 days of the show - we'll do a full wrap up once the vapor clouds dissipate.
I had a chance to catch up with Adam Bowen, Founder, CTO at PAX Labs (formerly Ploom) and my former boss. I was VP Marketing at the inception of Pax (then called Ploom) from 2007 - 2010 and it was great to catch up with a an old friend and see that Pax's Juul, while not a #Vape, is one heck of a device and was well received at ECC by industry and consumers alike. Juul is Pax's concept to fix the broken cigalike side of the vapor market and it works amazingly well and has a great form factor.
It's estimated that over 100,000 people attended ECC - and that estimate was pretty close to spot on.
This guy dropped by our booth with possibly craziest Mod ever! Custom culture really has no bounds.
We invited our friends from Team Gravity, a professional League of Legends eSports Team based nearby Pomona, to check out ECC as our guests. eSports is another huge sub-culture that most mainstream media outlets have yet to really get their minds around.
Part 2 of the Recap coming soon. Stay vaped!
All eyes in the world of vape are on the upcoming ECC Expo which starts on Thursday August 13th. This year’s annual event will be held at Fairplex in Pomona on August 13-16, 2015. ECC 2015 is gearing up to be the ultimate B2B convention for the vapor products industry as well as the ultimate consumer expo in the vaping world. Last year drew over 40,000 and estimates for this year's attendance are upwards of 60,000. Southern California has become ground zero for vape shops, hardware manufacturers and premium e-liquid artists and ECC is sure to be an epic gathering for all who attend.
We've been busy in the flavor lab working on new creations and are stoked to announce that we have new spectacular blend ready to drop at ECC - Yogurt Bomb! Months of working with real world yogurt creations featuring seasonal fruit and berries and an assortment of accompanying delights including organic honey, creamy coconut milk, toasted seeds and nuts and dark chocolate shavings gave us something to shoot for in the ultimate yogurt based e-liquid.
Recreating the real world Yogurt Bomb with endless experimentation with flavor extracts sourced from around the world finally produced a blend that we are proud to release. #YogurtBomb will be joining #Lucky13 and #PeachGuzzi as Cafe Racer's signature flavor line-up.
Yogurt Bomb's flavor profile is a complex blend of greek yogurt infused with fresh strawberries and raspberries with a dash of orange for a perfect blend of sweet and tart topped off with bavarian cream, coconut milk, nuts and honey. This is by far our most complex flavor art undertaking and one that we hope you'll enjoy as much as we do!
We're bringing an kick ass cafe racer bike to our booth at ECC made my a local legend fabricator Dustin Kott founder of Kott Motorcycles. Here's a sneak peak of the bike:
It's t-minus 2 days until the doors of ECC open and we're looking forward to the experience and meeting thousands of vape enthusiasts who we can't wait to share our flavor creations with. If you're attending, look for us at Booth # 1334 in Hall 7. We should be easy to spot with this bad boy racer by Kott and our new LED tasting bar.
Alcoholic Architecture, a new bar in London's Borough Market by the design firm Bompas & Parr, claims to get you drunk without drinking. It's a bar defined by its signature cocktail: an aerosolized cloud of alcohol (vapor) that patrons start breathing as soon as they walk through the door.
A 1:3 ratio combination of spirits and mixers that has been aerosolized, the breathable brew is so potent that imbibers need to actually don special protective suits, to limit how much skin (and, more specifically, mucus membranes) are exposed to it.
This is surely crossing many boundaries considering all the fuss lawmakers make about vaping + ecigs with nicotine (especially when viewed against the backdrop of the harm smoking causes millions). One can only imagine if this concept actually took off - what kind of backlash there would be to this and all forms of aerosolized imbibing.
This isn't Bombas and Parr's first foray into vapor based art installations. Visitors watching London’s fireworks between Westminster Bridge and Hungerford Bridge got to experience a total sensory assault with the different colored fireworks matched to fruity flavors. So as red pyrotechnics exploded in the sky, the city was engulfed in a strawberry flavored cloud of vapor.
Yes another project by Bompas & Parr called the Fruit Weather is a fruit based weather system for your tongue. The installation billed as a collision of meteorology and pomology at the Garage Centre of Contemporary Culture in Moscow in 2013 exploded fruit to the scale of buildings spatialising flavor to become an immersive and inhabitable cloud.
Fruit Weather used powerful humidifiers to super saturated the air with fruity vapour. The high humidity level itself enhances taste perception as meteorology and pomology (the study of fruit) collide. On any given day visitors were able to step inside a strawberry, raspberry, cranberry, lime or pear flavored cloud.
Sounds a little like entering your first big vape show like ECC or World Vapor Expo. Perhaps the world of high art and vaping are on collision course to develop a whole range of aerosol sensory experiences. It certainly would appeal to a wider audience than Cloud Chasing events - which are cool but not really meant for a mainstream audience.
Electronic Cigarettes have been evolving at a rapid pace over the last 5 years and with a dizzying array of options hitting the market at an ever faster rate. The earliest "cig-alike" models were a great start and upgrades and changes were slow at first, but then something truly amazing happened when early ecig enthusiasts started hacking their off the shelf models to increase the performance and create more vapor, add more power and increased battery life.
Two images of the earliest first generation Ruyan E-Cigs
Electronic Cigaretts Generation 1.0
Modern Electronic Cigarettes were first developed sometime in 2003/2004 by a Chinese pharmacist and heavy smoker named Hon Lik. Hon Lik set out to develop electronic cigarettes after his father died of lung cancer. Seeing a way to transform tragedy into a positive, he created a method that enabled smokers to have nicotine through inhalation, without smoke, tobacco, and the many thousands of chemicals that are part of the production of cigarettes. He named his company Ruyan, meaning “like smoke. After a lot of research and trial and error, Hon Lik released his smoking alternative to the public in 2004. Hon Lik’s first electronic cigarette consisted of a battery, a plastic cartridge containing a nicotine solution suspended in propylene glycol, and a heating element composed of an ultrasonic atomizer.
Many companies soon copied the Ruyan's design but in 2006, two brothers named Umer and Tariq Sheikh based in the UK made a big breakthrough when they invented the cartomizer. A cartomizer is a mechanism that integrates the heating coil into the liquid chamber. They launched this new device in the UK in 2008 under their Gamucci brand and the design is now widely adopted by most "cigalike" brands.
Most early generation electronic cigarettes looked and felt like a traditional tobacco cigarette—what the industry now refers to as “cig-alikes.” Small and light, these try to mimic many of the design features of real cigarettes, down to the filter pattern and the ash-like LED tip that lights up when the device is activated.
Cig-alikes dominated the market for number of years but as time wore on, a new subculture began to emerge who were hell bent on improving the performance of cigalikes. Made up of former smokers who used e-cigs to quit, these e-cig evangelists shared their quitting stories, encouraged one another to stay off "analogs" and swapped advice and DIY ways to improve the performance of stock models via the emerging omnipresent internet on interactive websites like Electronic Cigarette Forum or ECF. It was the perfect confluence of two relatively new technologies which enabled hundreds of thousands of e-cig users from around the world to share insights on ways to "Mod" the stock ecigs and eventually to building custom e-cigs from the ground up.
OPEN SYSTEM VAPORIZERS (Tanks): Generation 2.0
Photo Credit: http://vaping360.com/
Ecigs vs Vaporizers
Fueled by hobbyist innovations shared online via forums like ECF and others, sometime around 2011 the first generation of Open Tank Systems started to hit the market. These "Open System’ vaporizers consist of interchangeable batteries with open tanks or clearomisers. What makes these products ‘open system’ is the fact that users have a lot more flexibility in what they can do with them. They can use a vast range of different e-liquids, all sorts of different battery types, including ‘variable voltage’; they can take advantage of multiple types of tanks or clearomisers that suit a variety of performance and aesthetic needs.
2014 was a turning point for the E-Cig/Vaporizer market. Market Watch reported that open system vaporizers have officially surpassed the earlier generation “cigalike” electronic cigarettes to top the market. It wasn’t even a close call with open system vapes selling $500 million more per year. This is an eye opening look at how the ecig world is changing and what vapers prefer when it comes to their gear.
MODS and the New Generation of Sub Ohm Tanks - Generation 3.0
With hobbyists insatiable pursuit of better performance, and the growing economic incentive to spur corporate R&D, innovations kept coming from all directions.
A modded flashlight was one of the first common e-cig battery “mods,” and is the the grandfather of a lot of the current e cig mech mods you’ll see on the market today. Flashlights were easy to work with since they’re just comprised of a hollow tube for batteries, a switch, and threading where you’re supposed to screw in your light bulb. With a greater power source came many other innovations - so many in fact that I could fill up pages and pages of various innovations with technical nerd speak about wattage, variable wattage, rebuildable atomizers, ohms, etc. One thing for sure, this new generation of "MODS" was not your father's e-cig. They were in some ways highly evolved yet in others very simple designs. The one thing that they all did was increase the amount of vapor production as well as the releasing the full flavors of the also evolving e-liquids available on the market.
With mods it took a lot of know how to build, operate and maintain these devices. Despite these drawbacks, their popularity mushroomed and soon you started seeing people using them blowing big clouds of vapor in their cars, walking down the street and outside of bars.
Eventually the engineers at some of the big vaporizer hardware companies caught on and got to work to replicate the experience of using a Mod without the hassle and engineering know how. In 2014, Aspire released it's newest tank called the Atlantis. The Atlantis was the first Sub-Ohm tank to hit the market and the vaporizer market has really evolved rapidly since it's introduction.
To simplify, sub Ohm vaping uses much more power to spread a larger amount of heat over a much larger area, which causes more e-liquid to be vaporized in one moment. If you really want to geek out and learn more about the science of this, check out Ohm's law video - The Arduino Guide
As a result, Sub Ohm vaping has created this new era in vaping where it doesn’t take a lot of experience to reach a high performance with much more vapor production and much better flavor delivery from e-liquids.
The Sub Ohm Revolution has only just begun and will be the topic of my next blog post. Stay Tuned!
Eddie Van Halen seen here vaping in Billboard Mag's video interview with him for the recent cover story on the rocker titled: Eddie Van Halen on Surviving Addiction, Why He's Still Making Music and What he Really Thinks of David Lee Roth (and Other Past Van Halen Bandmates
Here's the video http://bcove.me/99y4sdeq
Interesting read and good to see that Eddie is off of cigarettes while still rocking and touring at the ripe young age of 60.
While the FDA has yet to make an official statement on it's ruling, we did get some good news today as Congress urged the FDA to not require vapor products already on the market to go through a lengthy and potentially multimillion dollar Premarket Tobacco Review application process. This bill would not impact the FDA’s ability to regulate these products, including setting rigorous product and manufacturing standards.
"Without action by Congress, the FDA's proposed regulations threaten to ban 99 percent-plus of vapor products currently available on the market,” AVA President Gregory Conley said in a news release. “This would be a disaster not only for thousands of small businesses, but also public health.”
It is unconscionable to effectively ban the sale of tens of thousands of vapor products while leaving combustible cigarettes freely available,” Conley said. Under the FDA’s proposal, the groups said all e-cigarettes and cigars on the market now would remain available so long as they file an application with the FDA within two years.
The FDA originally floated the idea of regulating e-cigarettes back in 2011, but four years later, public health advocates along with the entire ecig/vape community is still waiting.
The regulations were formally proposed last year to much criticism from both public health and industry groups. The final rule is expected by the end of this June.
Of particular concern with the FDA runling is the growth of Open System Vaping Products ( vs closed systems like cigalikes) and how Big Tobacco might try and pressure the FDA put a stop to the thousands of small businesses (vape shops, e-liquid manufacturers. mod makers, etc) that have sprung up to meet the rapidly growing demand for the 2nd and 3rd generation open system vaping products that are outside of the control and influence of Big Tobacco.
According to Wells Fargo Securities, open system vaporizers now contribute more than $1.5 billion to the overall electronic vaporizer market in the U.S., with electronic cigarettes accounting for $1 billion. Domestically, the combined electronic vaporizer market is now estimated at $2.5 billion -- and growing ( as of September 2014)
So while the industry and entire vape community still have to wait for the FDA ruling scheduled for the end of June, many are breathing (and exhaling a nice cloud) a sigh of relief with the news that Congress seems to be hearing what many millions have been calling for and that the FDA will hopefully act responsively and not bend to the whim of Big Tobacco or others looking to shut down an industry that is saving lives with each person that switches from combustable tobacco to using vapor products.
We've been working for over a year on the flavor profiles, packaging, website and branding and it was finally time to introduce Cafe Racer's Craft E-Liquids to the world. There are dozens of Vape meets and Vape Shows around the country but three really stand out: ECC, Vape Summit and World Vapor Expo. The timing of the World Vapor Expo made it a perfect launch vehicle for us to introduce our signature artfully crafted blends to the vaping world.
In my previous post on this blog, I shared our booth-buildout for the show. We felt that building our own custom booth would be a great way to extend the spirit of the Cafe Racer brand as well as provide a distinctive installation that would be both functional and stand out among hundreds of companies all vying for attention at the show. The idea was to showcase a kick ass Cafe Racer bike as well as provide a functional good looking sampling station for people to try our two signature flavors Lucky 13 and Peach Guzzi.
I walked this show last year to get a read on the state of the industry. I remember the energy at the Miami Convention Center being very high with a kind of vape electricity in the air - along with a thick vapor haze that happens when you get 15,000 people all vaping utilizing the latest and greatest Mods and Tanks. Being an exhibitor at this year's event was a vision that helped push the project forward over the last year as we painstakingly focused on creating distinctive, complex flavors that would stand out in a growing landscape of e-liquids that everyone claims are "premium" but many fall under the category of underwhelming and me too flavors created without much imagination or artistry.
CAFE RACER's BOOTH
We scored the bike from a local motorcycle crew called Cafe Moto Club. I reached out to them to see if they could help us find a local custom builder who might allow us to showcase his bike in our booth. The Cafe Moto Club guys were super cool and very supportive. They put me in touch with one of their members, James, who they said had just the bike I was looking for and one of the top custom Cafe Racer's in the South.
The Cafe Racer Tasting Bar turned out awesome! Lots of attendees dropped by to admire the piece of art that James had created from a 1974 Honda and to sample the e-liquid blends that quickly became the talk of the show. Some visitors also had fun playing with the uplighting at the bar creating vape cloud art and pushing out photos to instagram and twitter.
DAY 1: FRIDAY MAY 29th
Friday was B2B only - so you had to be a qualified Vape Shop owner or shop employee to attend. This was really our main target audience with this show as our goal was to connect with shop owners looking for new ultra premium brands of e-liquid to add to their shop's growing variety of top shelf flavors.
We sampled hundreds of vape shop owners and their attending staff along with many other industry folks who stopped by our booth to check out our flavors. I was a little nervous at the onset, this being the first real test to validate that our flavors were as good as we felt they were. We had received great reviews from a limited number of beta testers here in SoCal during the flavor development period, but offering our artfully crafted blends to the wide world of vapor enthusiasts and other e-juice makers from all over the country was another story completely!
The butterflies quickly dissipated as person after person raved about one or both of our flavors and begged us for samples or asked to buy a bottle. We probably had 400 people sample the flavors the first day and the reviews were overwhelmingly positive. More than a few people said that Lucky13 was the best tobacco blend they had ever tried and PeachGuzzi received high marks as a refreshing complex fruity blend unlike anything available on the market.
Day 2: SATURDAY - VAPE-AGEDDON!
Saturday was B2B from 10am until Noon and then the doors opened up to the general public - as a huge crowd of vape enthusiasts from all over the East Coast descended on Hall A to check the latest and greatest in vaping world.
By 2:00 PM Hall A was packed with people all vaping their high powered Vape Mods and Sub-Ohm tanks - creating a cloud of vapor beyond anything that I've seen before. What is also amazing - it smelled pretty awesome in the Miami convention center with thousands of flavors all intermingling to create a mélange of flavor unlike anything I've ever experienced. Had this been a Smoking event, the air quality would have been akin to Beijing during the evening rush hour (or worse!) but because vapor is merely water molecules mixed with flavoring, the sweet scented vapor clouds didn't negatively effect the air quality at all.
DAY 3: SUNDAY
I thought the closing day would be pretty slow, especially since this event was in Miami, a city known for it's all night partying. To my surprise, the action at the convention center was just a little less than Saturday's throngs with lots of people filling Hall A by 11:00 am or so. We continued to get a steady stream of people at the Cafe Racer booth throughout the day with many returning for a 2nd taste or request samples for their Vape Shop - something most shops do to test with their staff and best customers before bringing in a new line of e-liquid.
We wrote a few orders to vapor shops and took home hundreds of business cards from shops asking us to send samples to test. As the day wore on, the crowds held steady, with many booths still busy right up until the 4pm closing time. This was one of the first trade shows where I was actually disappointed to see the show close.
I closed out the trip with a swim in the warm aqua colored water of Miami Beach. Back in Cali, I surf almost every day so being in the water here in Miami was a perfect way to end this trip and clear my head before heading back to San Diego where the real work of getting Cafe Racer's artfully crafted e-liquids pushed out to stores nation wide was about to commence. Giddy Ops!
As a final note about the show, I'd like to mention that the World Vapor Expo organizers were an absolute pleasure to work with. Mark Evans Jr, President of the World Vapor Expo, stopped by the booth several times to see how things were going and made sure that we were happy with everything at the show. He was super accessible from the first email that I sent to them back in March regarding getting a booth all the way to closing day of the show. Big thanks to Mark and his World Vapor Expo Team!
After years of experimentation and over 6 months of work in the lab with a top flavorist, we are super stoked to be launching our first two flavors - Peach Guzzi and Lucky 13 at the World Vapor Expo in Miami on May 29th.
It's been a whirlwind Winter getting everything ready for launch. After relocating to sunny Encinitas, CA in December 2014 to start the business, we set out with one goal - make great flavors that we love. In addition to creating awesome flavors, we wanted to create a CRAFT e-liquid company that was true to the name - sourcing the best flavors from around the world, being 100% transparent about ingredients, finding a production lab that was ISO certified and would meet our very high standards and creating a brand that would connect with discerning consumers who would appreciate our passion and dedication to delivering awesome and unique flavors they could trust.
True to this dedication to DIY and Custom Culture, we didn't just buy a booth for the upcoming shows, we built it ourselves. I enlisted an old friend and legendary surfboard designer named Peter Scrhoff to help out. Here is Peter's original design sketch (note - Peter is very low tech) along with a few shots of he and I during the build (Peter's the one with the spray paint)
The idea of integrating an awesome custom Cafe Racer into the booth is central to the design. Peter took the other main design element of creating a fun tasting station for people to try our blends and combined the two. Since we only have a small 10 x 10 Booth (it's our first show after all) Peter decided to build the tasting station around the bike.
As for the cafe racer bike, I lucked out and found a Cafe Racer club in South Florida who had a member who was willing to rent me his racer for a few days. Here's a shot of the bike - which is I only wish I could take for a ride in addition to showcasing it at our booth.
It's t-minus 8 days and 17 hours until the doors open at the World Vapor Expo and there are still a ton of things to sort out before then. Can't wait to share our flavors with the world and see how the vape industry and consumers respond. Look for us at Booth # 200 at the World Vapor Expo in Miami and at other Vape events around the country throughout 2015.