The smoke and vape industry these days is much like the Wild West, a new frontier filled with limitless opportunities for enterprising pioneers ready and willing to embrace unpredictable challenges. American Juice Co. has hitched its wagon to this booming market — but unlike so many companies simply chasing next gold rush, they’re outfitting themselves to stake a valid and lasting claim in this multi-billion dollar landscape.
American Juice Co. even started in the West, founded in Utah in 2013, at which time the company was known as JJuice after their brand of premium e-liquid. Founders Joe Deighan and John Ross felt that if JJuice focused solely on quality ingredients formulated properly they could capture a valuable piece of the market. Gathering a group of like-minded friends, they boot strapped the business and put every cent back into the venture.
“When we were in Salt Lake City we had built a tremendous reputation, but starting the company from nothing and growing it as we did, we were still limited in regard to what we were able to do. We just didn’t have the infrastructure of multimillion dollar companies,” says Deighan.
The solution was relocating to a new facility with unlimited potential. AJC found a new home in Dallas, Texas inside a 42,000 square foot facility complete with a 7,000 sq-ft clean room equipped with 36 HEPA filters for keeping the environment contaminant-free, and separate state-of-the-art research & development lab outfitted with pharmaceutical-grade equipment.
Another smart move was partnering with Global Tobacco, who in the same complex, produce and distribute traditional cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, pipe tobacco and e-cigarettes. The alliance gives AJC the resources and infrastructure needed, not only to continue towards dominance of the e-juice market, but also expand into new product categories and market segments.
“Over the years, we’ve become experts in manufacturing e-liquid,” Deighan says, “and now we can look at other areas of the counter-culture industry that align with our focus and where we can achieve that same level of expertise.”
A perfect offshoot of e-liquids was nicotine salts. AJC combined their knowledge of flavor profiles with Global Tobacco’s experience in overseas manufacturing and procurement to launch Rush, an innovative rechargeable vaping device and close system nicotine pods.
Rush is positioned as a competitor to Juul. Its design is more sleek and clean and utilizes a stronger batter and micro-usb charger. It also represents a better value for users in that the pods contain 40 percent more e-liquid than Juul — AND that liquid is the same high quality, flavorful formula that made JJuice popular.
“We have so much experience in developing flavor profiles and knowing what people like across different markets, that it’s easy for us to come out with the right flavors,” Deighan says. “We’re not just guessing.”
“Because of Global Tobacco’s reputation in the international market, we’re table to structure bigger deals than we ever could before,” Deighan adds. “There will obviously be similar products that come into the market, but having the exclusivity as we do on this type of device from this large of a manufacturer in China makes it very difficult for other companies to compete.”
If you’ve been to an industry trade show like CHAMPS recently, you’ve no doubt observed the feverish atmosphere around CBD. AJC’s entry into that arena is Wild Hemp.
With so many CBD products popping up in the market, it can be challenging to know good from bad. AJC is earning their place among the good ones by being we’ll versed on the industry from the source of their raw materials to the latest rules and regs. The raw full spectrum oil, for example, is farm bill compliant and backed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, and they recently brought in CBD experts like Justin Cox, who has nearly a decade’s worth of experience in the industry, to keep them at the top of their game.
Wild Hemp is produced through a proprietary process — bonding oil and water utilizing specific temperatures in laboratory-grade equipment and settings. Not only have they developed a quality product, but efficient manufacturing methods that enable production of 3,000 units an hour.
Another way Wild Hemp stands out from much of the competition is that the product is packaged in a clear bottle leaving nothing to the imagination. AJC also provides a paper trail from start to finish to ensure that Wild Hemp is seen by retailers and consumers as one of the most trusted brands in the industry.
JJuice, rebranded UJuice — as in Utah for its origins, continues to fill one of the largest product categories for AJC. Razzletaz (a blackberry, raspberry, blueberry fusion), Menthol and Wonder Crunch (tasting like Cap’n Crunch Crunch Berries cereal) are the proven favorites. Because AJC also does private label manufacturing, their R&D team is always testing new profiles to meet demand.
AJC is still shipping pallets of their popular Juice Bar too. Vape enthusiasts love being able to mix their own unique blends from the large pre-mixed bottles of e-liquid in a variety of flavors and nicotine strengths. Retailers like the Juice Bar because not only does it create return customers, but it saves them having to buy and store such a vast inventory.
What’s next for AJC? Deighan is excited about the future and the possibilities that lie ahead.
“If we catch something, and it looks like a category that we want to get involved with, we’re ready to pull the trigger,” he says. “We have the most bad ass team. Everybody comes to work ready to be professional and get shit done. We all love growing the company and accomplishing new things.”