Spinfuel Talks With Derby City Flavors
SPINFUEL: Welcome to the pages of Spinfuel. We’ve been looking forward to talking to you. Would you like to introduce yourselves to our readers?
Derby City Flavors: Hi, Spinfuel readers! We know you want to know what’s really happening in the vaping world, and we are honored to be interviewed by Spinfuel and by you, Tom.
Derby City Flavor offers the vaping community a very high-quality product while maintaining positive ethical values for our consumers and our society. We produce our vaping elixirs out of the highest quality ingredients, including food ingredients. We don’t want our consumers to take any unreasonable health risks, so, in our premium elixirs, we avoid many dangerous chemicals commonly used in mixing e-juices. Derby City Flavor also wants to create impressive media and design, and we want to be out front in the ethical and legal landscape that is developing in the vaping industry.
SPINFUEL: What position do you hold in the company?
Derby City Flavors: I am Chief Operating Officer. I also fill and label bottles, and I sweep a lot of floors.
SPINFUEL: Who or what inspired you to get into the e-juice business? When was that?
Derby City Flavors: Our Mixmistress had been making vaping liquids for her friends for quite awhile when I became interested in starting a business that contained ethical risk. I wanted to put my investment into something that wasn’t yet fully shaped by regulation; I want to be a part of that conversation. At the same time, I want to be in an industry that was emerging and vibrant. When I learned that the Mixmistress and others she knew had switched from combustible tobacco to the electronic cigarette, I wanted to know more. It didn’t take much research for me to realize that this was the industry I’d been looking for. Our decision to start Derby City Flavor occurred near the beginning of 2014.
SPINFUEL: When did you officially launch your company?
Derby City Flavors: We launched in May, 2014.
SPINFUEL: So just a few months ago. Where are you located?
Derby City Flavors: We are located in Louisville, KY.
SPINFUEL: How many eliquid ‘flavors’ do you have today and how many did you launch with?
Derby City Flavors: We currently have eleven flavors, and we launched with six flavors in our Charter Series.
SPINFUEL: Do you have a specific demographic in mind for your eLiquids?
Derby City Flavors: We believe that many people who prefer Derby City Flavor will care about, at least, one of three topics: Health, Taste, or Louisville. Health-conscious vapers will like that we don’t use obscure and dangerous chemicals, like Diacetyl, in our products; we start from food ingredients wherever possible, and we take the extra time to ensure that consuming our products results in the lowest possible health impacts.
We also believe our consumers have already tried low-quality vapes, and they are ready for an adult’s product. Our flavors don’t have chemical aftertastes, like a diet soda, and our elixirs don’t taste like candy coatings and artificial flavors. This is because we don’t use these kinds of ingredients.
Being able to taste chemicals in food or a beverage is a clear sign to me that I don’t want to put this into my body; I want naturally derived flavors that taste like the real thing. Derby City Flavor’s vaping elixirs provide this type of experience. We don’t want chemicals in a vape that we wouldn’t want in our food. We believe many of our consumers feel the same way. Finally, we love Louisville, KY, the city all of us at Derby City Flavor have chosen to call home. We want to celebrate the culture, the places, the history, and the flavors of Louisville with our products. There is a lot of local pride in Louisville these days, and we wanted to merge with those vapers who care about the flavor of their mint julep or bourbon ball. To many Louisvillians, these details are important when enjoying great experiences.
SPINFUEL: The selection of eliquids your company sent for review is uncommon flavors. That being the case, do you consider your line a boutique line filling a certain niche?
Derby City Flavors: We believe that we can be an everyday vape. Our product is light on the throat, big on the flavor, and easy to enjoy at all times of day with any activity or accompaniment. At the same time, we are offering a particular aesthetic sense and ingredient mix that we were unable to locate in our analysis of the market. We also want to highlight local flavors, culture, and history from Louisville, and this kind of combination doesn’t seem to have come together in a serious way before we hit the market.
SPINFUEL: Do you have a favorite eliquid? If so, which one is it, and why?
Derby City Flavors: I love Our Signature Modjeska. For vaping enthusiasts, this is our Mixmistress’s answer to the high end vanilla custard vapes. We think it’s a delicious interpretation of that vaping liquid tradition, and I enjoy it as my everyday vape.
I also love Our Signature Modjeska because of its historical connection to Louisville. In 1883, a local candy maker saw the Polish actress, Helena Modjeska, in Henrik Ibsen’s powerful play, A Doll’s House. The candy maker created a delicious candy from marshmallow and caramel, and he named it “Modjeska” after Helena’s potent performance. This candy has been a part of Louisville history ever since, and it’s a favorite flavor combination in my family, particularly for my father. Even if I didn’t love the flavor, Our Signature Modjeska might be my favorite for all of that, alone.
SPINFUEL: Are your eliquids available in any retail vape shops? If so, how many shops carry your line?
Derby City Flavors: Currently, we are available in one retail vape shop in Las Vegas, Nevada: Dreamland Vapors (www.dreamlandvapors.com). We are excited about partnering with this company and other retail vape shops, and we offer deep wholesale discounts to all new retailers, as well as solid customer service for any and all needs.
SPINFUEL: How do you beta test your flavors? Is it done in-house or do you invite customers to try flavors under development?
Derby City Flavors: We have a host of loyal friends and colleagues who have helped us in beta testing. We have plans to include a broader customer base in beta testing as we begin to release more flavors.
SPINFUEL: Do you use a standard PG/VG ratio or does it change according to each specific blend?
Derby City Flavors: We have a standard 70/30, pg/vg, ratio. We will create custom blends for orders of 100 ml or more.
SPINFUEL: When you launched Derby City Flavor how did you decide on your initial flavors?
Derby City Flavors: The Mixmistress and I launched Derby City Flavor with traditional flavors of Louisville that could be mixed into vaping elixirs through a food-based process and that could fit into Colonel Archibald Binghamton’s life history. Using these criteria, we arrived at our first four Charter Series flavors: Our Signature Modjeska, The Mayor’s Mint Julep, Bluegrass Bourbon Ball, and Archie’s Derby Reserve.
Kelba’s Morning Coffee was added when we learned that we could use real coffee, and we thought we could offer a better-tasting coffee vape than those already on the market. The Mixmistress’s dog is also Archie’s dog, and both dogs like to drink their owners’ coffees!
Likewise, our sixth Charter Series flavor, Shanghai Ginger Candy, fits our process and also fits in with Archie’s travels. Archie discovered Chinese ginger root in 19th century China, so we use real ginger root to create a subtle flavor completely unlike others we’ve found in the market.
SPINFUEL: What would your “signature” flavor profile be? Do you lean more toward strong flavors or strong vapor production?
Derby City Flavors: The flavor production at Derby City Flavor is more taste-oriented, but we are capable of mixing custom batches for cloud chasers, if interested customers will contact us through email.
SPINFUEL: Let’s talk about packaging. How are your eLiquids packaged?
Derby City Flavors: We use recyclable and reusable glass bottles with rubber droppers. If anyone wishes to send used glass bottles and rubber droppers to us through the mail, we will reuse them for tasting events, buy less, and, as a result, we will help the electronic cigarette juice industry keep some amount of waste out of the landfill. Part of our strategy includes avoiding the creation of more plastic and other trash through our business activities.
Our labels are compostable, as is the ink and the glue used on them. We use a plastic safety seal on our dropper tops, but the rest of the package is either recyclable, reusable, or compostable.
SPINFUEL: What information do you include on your labels?
Derby City Flavors: We have our Derby City Flavor logo, the flavor name, the nicotine strength, a glyph that links to our website, a portrait of Archie or one of our other characters, the bottle size, and the batch and bottling date. We also have nicotine warnings, health warnings, allergy warnings, child safety warnings, and an ingredients list.
SPINFUEL: There is a lot of concern these days about how and where eLiquids are being made. Could you describe your ‘mixing’ facility?
Derby City Flavors: We have two mixing locations. Our Mixmistress, who is a professional chef with a culinary degree, has converted part of her home into a dedicated mixing laboratory. In this 300 square foot space, she has all that she needs to create and perpetuate Derby City Flavor elixirs. There is metro rack shelving and a commercial ventilation system, as well as power, water, and refrigeration, among other necessities.
We have also partnered with The University of Louisville to gain access to lab space in Old Louisville, the classic Victorian neighborhood that inspires Derby City Flavor’s unique aesthetic and our spokesperson, Colonel Archibald Binghamton. U of L has helped us make several connections through their Office of Technology Transfer in order to work in professional laboratory settings when mixing. As of this interview, all test batches are created in the Mixmistress’s lab, and our commercial batches are mixed in a U of L partner facility in Old Louisville.
SPINFUEL: How do you make sure your mixing tools and containers are kept clean and sterile?
Derby City Flavors: Our staff members have all worked in professional scientific and culinary environments where sterile cleaning standards are required. Derby City Flavor’s tools and containers are cleaned to rigorous scientific standards, and our cleaning program in both venues utilizes checklists developed from cleaning protocols in other successful business and government settings.
SPINFUEL: What methods do you use to prevent contamination or tampering, or other factors that can harm your product?
Derby City Flavors: We follow all safe food handling and relevant hazmat handling practices. These include the use of gloves, masks, hair restraints and nets, stringent handwashing, separate doors for the mixing area, and other relevant methods. We keep unbottled batches sealed, and we keep our bottling area free from contaminants.
SPINFUEL: What types of hardware do you use when testing your liquids? Is there any specific hardware that provides the best ‘vape’ for your eLiquids?
Derby City Flavors: We test with a Kangor ProTank II with a bottom coil and the standard iClear 16 tank on an MVP 2.0 battery. We think our liquid is best when pulled from a tank, but it can also be enjoyed on a dripper.
SPINFUEL: Which eliquid in your line up is the most popular right now?
Derby City Flavors: Our most popular flavor currently is our Raspberry Linzer Macaroon.
SPINFUEL: In your opinion, what makes a good all-day-vape eLiquid?
Derby City Flavors: A good all-day vape should be light on the throat. It should also be low in nicotine and big on a light, sweet flavor that doesn’t make it impossible to enjoy coffee, tea, and food. There should be no chemical tastes present in a good all- day vape.
SPINFUEL: Which eLiquid in your lineup would you describe as all-day-vapes?
Derby City Flavors: For our crew, Archie’s Derby Reserve, Kelba’s Morning Coffee, Our Signature Modjeska, Bluegrass Bourbon Ball, Phu-ket Mango Lychee, and Mandvi Chai Tea all work well as all-day vapes.
SPINFUEL: How quickly will you introduce additional eliquids to your lineup?
Derby City Flavors: We are developing a story arc that contains Archie’s life. We will introduce additional elixir flavors when they fit our sense of story, including the development of Archie and his fellow characters. If consumers would like to drive that timing and story development by suggesting flavors, we are certainly open to those conversations.
SPINFUEL: Can you tell us anything about the next flavor to launch?
Derby City Flavors: We have been expanding our flavors based upon Colonel Archibald Binghamton’s fictional travels. Archie is a Victorian Louisvillian living around the time of the development of many Louisville traditions, like the Modjeska candy and The Kentucky Derby. My own travels often take me to Panama City, Panama, and, while there, I’ve been able to experience the Cuban cigar in many of its texture and flavor combinations. By mixing my travel history with Archie’s, our next flavor will combine sweet Georgia peaches and the exotic Cuban cigar to create our first tobacco vape.
SPINFUEL: Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers while you have their complete attention?
Derby City Flavors:
We want to thank Spinfuel’s vaping community for giving us a try and to the editors at Spinfuel for reviewing and featuring us. And, as Archie says, “Delectantur Caliginibus Felicissimis!” This is Latin for, “Let us enjoy the most fortuitous vapors!”
derby city flavor
SPINFUEL: I can’t thank you enough for talking with us today.
Derby City Flavors: We are honored to be included in Spinfuel. Thanks again.