As with each new eLiquid vendor we welcome into the pages of Spinfuel eMagazine we sat down with Brandon Fountain, owner/partner of Atomized Labs LLC and Evolve eLiquids in order to get an idea about how they view the eLiquid creation process, a bit of background into the company and the people that run it, and whatever else comes up at the time. Below is that interview. We hope you enjoy it. Don’t forget to read the Evolve Review! – Julia Hartley-Barnes
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?
Evolve: Thank you for giving us the opportunity! My name is Brandon Fountain; I was a pack-a-day smoker from the age of 16 until I discovered these wonderful devices at the age of 24. I instantly became intrigued with the mods, the variety of liquids, and ultimately, the culture. Coming from a pharmaceutical background, my partners and I saw a growing need for a truly FDA-compliant e-Liquid that was being made in a cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Procedures) laboratory. Our goal was to develop a safe and very consistent product.
SPINFUEL: What position(s) do you hold in the company?
Evolve: I am a Managing Partner and the Director of Business Development.
SPINFUEL: Getting down to business, how did you wind up in the eLiquid business?
Evolve: Given the state of the industry and our core business, it was a logical business move for us. Our parent company (Atomized Labs, LLC) and our sister company (Concentric Bio Services, Inc) have provided testing and consulting services for the heavily regulated pharmaceutical industry for a number of years. A collaboration with an analog cigarette tube manufacturer and distributor, Beretta Tube Company, allowed for easy distribution of the Evolve brand.
SPINFUEL: You launched Evolve with just a handful of flavors. Do you plan to ramp up quickly or take the slow road to adding more flavors?
Evolve: We’re going to be taking the slow road … LOL, mainly because of our internal procedures for new product development and release and strict product approval process from QA.
SPINFUEL: Do you steep your eLiquids before they are shipped to customers? If so, how long do they sit before you ship them out? If you do not, do you suggest that customers ‘home steep’ them before vaping?
Evolve: Our proprietary formulation method really reduces our “steep” times. We are a large volume production facility and all ‘product’ is stored in our temperature and humidity controlled warehouse after manufacturing. When the product arrives to the customer, it’s ready to vape straight from the package.
SPINFUEL: Let’s talk about packaging. How are your eLiquids packaged? What kind of information can customers expect to see on your labels?
Evolve: We decided early on in the process that a premium e-liquid could also be offered in a plastic bottle. All bottles have tamper-proof shrink bands. The labels include Brand Name, Flavor, Bottle Size, Strength, Ingredients, and product use warning. Each product label also includes a dedicated barcode making it more point of sale friendly for our vendors.
We have recently released a multi-pack inner-carton which makes product sorting easier for our large order vendors it also makes life easier on us when fulfilling multiple flavor orders for our direct sales customers. Each inner-carton allows for four 15ml bottles and designates flavor and nicotine strength.
SPINFUEL: What methods do you use to prevent contamination or tampering, or other factors that can harm your product?
Evolve: We are very procedural driven; all product is manufactured in a cGMP facility with a HEPA filtered class 1000 clean room and packaged in a controlled temperature and humidity environment. After the product is packaged, it is stored in the warehouse which is also temperature and humidity controlled.
SPINFUEL: What assurances do you have to make sure the nicotine levels in your individual bottles of e-Liquid are what they are supposed to be?
Evolve: All incoming raw materials are put in quarantine until Certificate of Analysis is reviewed and approved by QA. All outgoing finished products are tested prior to product release.
SPINFUEL: Does your crew wear any type of special clothing when they are mixing?
Evolve: Well manufacture in accordance 21CFR 211, so you will find our employees wondering around in the lab and manufacturing area with Laboratory coats, shoe covers, hair nets, beard covers and latex gloves.
SPINFUEL: Do you mix everyday or do you mix in batches?
Evolve: In the beginning we did some small-scale batches for release in our test market. We are currently mix large batches every day and running an 8 hour shift, we anticipate running a second shift after the first of the year.
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?
Evolve: We really go through a lot of hardware during testing so there is always a stockpile of Innokin products lying around. We do most testing with the IClear 30 and IClear 30S and miscellaneous variable voltage hardware. From time to time we will randomly throw in some un-used hardware on a direct to customer order just to reduce the stockpile of hardware.
SPINFUEL: What is your “house blend” for PG/VG ratio for your eJuice? What kinds of options are there for your customers with respect to PG/VG ratios?
Evolve: All of our flavors are developed for maximum flavor, throat hit, and vapor production. Due to the approval process and testing requirements we do not offer custom blends of PG/VG at this time.
SPINFUEL: How does a professional eLiquid artist make sure that their flavors taste the same no matter what the PG/VG ratio? Or are they?
Evolve: All process at Atomized Labs are validated and product is manufactured following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), batch records are completed for each production batch. Our proprietary mixing procedure ensures that our products are consistent.
SPINFUEL: Were you a smoker before you switched to vaping? If so, what made you decide to quit smoking?
Evolve: I began smoking at the age of 16. Late last year, I began seeing more and more eCigarette brands in local convenience stores. Curiosity got the best of me and I made the purchase, but was quickly back on analogs after being disappointed by disposables. A dear friend introduced me to the world of liquids and refillable tanks and here I am!
SPINFUEL: How long did it take to completely leave analogs behind?
Evolve: With disposables, I was back to smoking analogs after a few days; I truly stopped smoking once I purchased my Innokin iTaste MVP and became intrigued with this wonderful culture.
SPINFUEL: Do you have a “favorite” flavor in your lineup?
Evolve: That’s easy: Southern Pecan. I’m a sucker for a good dessert vape, and what’s better than biting into a delicious, buttery pastry filled with pecans? Vaping it!
Spinfuel: In other words, what order of importance are flavor, vapor, and throat hit in an Evolve e-Liquid?
Evolve: I break it down like this:1) Flavor – This will always be our number one. Consumers are always looking for that next great flavor that truly emulates the original – we like to think that our formulation team is incredible at offering this. 2) Throat Hit – Being an ex-smoker (and I’m sure many of you are), what better way to help people quit analogs than to give them that oh-so-familiar throat hit that they once craved? 3) Vapor Production – Smokers love to see smoke. It’s intriguing and “cool”. Our flavors were aimed to yield maximum flavor and throat hit while managing to provide consistent vapor production.
SPINFUEL: Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers while you have their complete attention?
Evolve: Thank you so much for taking the time to read this review/interview. Seeing you throw away your packs of analogs inspires us to continue providing a consistent, quality product. If you would like more information on the Evolve brand please visit our product website, whyevolve.com. If you are consumer interested in purchasing our product you can do so at evolveeliquidusa.com.
SPINFUEL: I can’t thank you enough for talking with us today. We look forward to arranging a “sequel” when you add more flavors to your line.
Evolve: And once again, thank YOU guys for the opportunity. It was a pleasure speaking with you, and there will most definitely be a sequel. We currently have 4 more flavors in the pipeline that we are very excited to share with everyone.