The Evolution of eLiquids
One of the universal truths about the evolution of things is that, on the whole, they improve. There might be wrong turns, mistakes, and things like that, but eventually they right themselves and get better. This began to happen in early 2012 and it is happening in 2013… in the eLiquids marketplace.
If you compare the eLiquid marketplace from just a year ago to today’s marketplace you’ll not only notice a lot more brands of eLiquids, you’ll notice that nearly all eLiquids are getting better; better tasting, better vapor production, better everything. The chances of finding several flavors of eLiquid that you love to vape are exponentially easier than it was a year ago.
Why? What has changed?
eLiquids – Evolution
Just a handful of years ago the people involved in making eLiquids for e-cigarettes knew little about how all the ingredients interacted with one another. They knew that combining Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Glycerin, nicotine, and water/alcohol/mysterious-X, that it would produce thick vapor clouds laced with flavor that was basically harmless to inhale. Just how much did they really know in the beginning of it all? Compared to today, not much.
Some of the most successful eLiquids brands in the US today are comprised of people who have not only learned how to measure out X amount of this and Y amount of that, they are getting a firm handle on the ‘nuance’ of doing X, Y, and Z, and what these ingredients will actually do. By sheer practice, learning, remembering, and experimenting, eLiquids and eLiquid ‘creators’ have stepped up. Big time.
The eLiquid companies that refuse to learn and grow will eventually whither and die on the vine, some already have. Some companies, who will remain anonymous, that were kings of the hill a couple of years ago are becoming irrelevant today. Some are barely hanging on and others have given up and gone away.
Several brands/companies that launched just last year are doing well because they came into the market knowing more about eLiquids then the originators did when they started, which is normal in any field, and companies that have launched just this year are making huge strides in a very short time because they have learned from the mistakes of all of the past companies that have tried to build solid eLiquid businesses. This is the normal course of events for all businesses, it’s evolution at work.
Spinfuel Choice Awards
Last year when Spinfuel began to award certain eLiquid ‘flavors’ with a Choice Award there were so few really good juices out there that when one came along in which the entire team thought was a fantastic eLiquid that delivered great flavors, plumes of vapor, and decent throat hits, along with layered tastes (the nuance and complexity factor), it was almost magical really, and we felt they ought to be recognized. Today we find ourselves with a huge increase of eLiquids that deserved to be recognized, and in so doing we’ve increased the number of Choice Awards we’ve given out. Some day that might have to change, but not now.
It used to be that anyone with a little practice, enough money, and enough ‘bravery’ to launch their own line of eJuice could do so, and because there were so few of them the chances at making a fast buck was easier than you might think. How many brand owners started out as a member of a forum, learned how to mix PG and VG, nicotine and flavor concentrates, and began selling them to friends in the real world, then the virtual world, and then launched a website and begin filling orders?
Some are still doing it, and some have even gotten really good at it, but its not like you could go to school and earn a degree in eLiquid mixing. Not then, not now. Not yet.
For the past five years or so these small companies had the majority of the market, collectively anyway. The large companies, like Johnson Creek, who just celebrated their 5th anniversary, had a larger slice of the pie than any single small company, but collectively the small brands, the one’s that mixed their eLiquids in not-quite-contamination-free’ areas, had the biggest slice. Not to mention the early Chinese eLiquids that were made under God-knows-what conditions.
And Then Came The Egos
Jane and Joe Q Public, without any knowledge of chemistry or training in flavor concentrates, had lucked out by inventing a clever name; clever graphics, and a network of friends on various vaping forums, suddenly began making some serious money. Soon others jumped in and copied the successful ones and the slices got smaller and smaller.
Meanwhile, a company like Johnson Creek (or maybe it is JC but we won’t say) continued to learn the science of these ingredients, began spending more and more time in development, and learned more and more about flavor concentrates and how they interacted with one another. The end product was so incredibly superior to what the mom n pop shops were producing that the only way to fight back was to develop these enormous egos and create a virtual persona that could not easily be pierced. All of us, right now, could name half a dozen brands like this… and not a single one will anyone to take a peek behind the persona, much less put their eLiquids to the test.
The small eLiquid companies with the huge egos and virtual personas hide in seclusion, seldom wandering out of their home forum where their sycophants live, and as a result learn nothing about new techniques, new ways of doing things, never building state-of-the-art mixing rooms with calibrated stainless steel equipment and proper sanitation procedures, and who have bothered to learn the nuances of flavor concentrates. They remain hidden from the public, the real public, and only show up as friendly venues where their egos can be stroked and their inferior wares can be sold. They are irrelevant now; they just don’t know it yet. This too is the natural selection of survival.
A New Age
As the Troglodytes die off, or wither away, a new breed of eLiquid company has come to the fore. Beginning in the first months of 2012 a superior eLiquid began showing up on the scene. ELiquids that tasted a hundred times better than the early cave dwellers, which were consistent in flavor, and was mixed, packaged, and shipped in facilities that rivaled hospital operating rooms, and they were immediately accepted by the ever increasing number of Vapers looking for safe and delicious eLiquids.
These new age eLiquid companies didn’t hide in the forums, they reached out across the Internet, proud of not only the product itself, but also how the product was made. The appearance of these “professional” eLiquid companies changed the eJuice market forever.
Today, halfway through 2013, the eLiquid companies that reach out to Spinfuel are the companies we began working with in early 2012 when they were brand new on the scene, and companies that have launched in the last few months. They wind up going before the review teams because they are well-funded, professionally trained, have built facilities any surgeon would feel safe operating in, and deliver one great eLiquid after another. Their eLiquids are so far superior to previous year’s troglodytes that it is hard to believe the Trogs are still trying to hold out. It’s just a matter of time before the professional brands, or the FDA through regulation, force the others to surrender their inferior product and move on to something else. Either that or join today’s eLiquid community and invest in new equipment, learn the new techniques and become better at what they do. Most will refuse because that too is the way of evolution.
So yes, evolution is hard at work in the eLiquid community, and it’s happening a lot faster than most people realize. There is a whole new crop of professional eLiquid brands today, and it is the most natural thing in the world.