BROWN BOXER ELIQUIDS INTERVIEW
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?
Dave: My Name is Dave Grillmeier.
SPINFUEL: What position(s) do you hold in the company?
Dave: I am the owner/President of Brown Boxer Elixers.
SPINFUEL: Getting down to business; who or what inspired you to get into the e-juice business? When was that?
Dave: I was a smoker as many who vape now were, almost 35 years. I am a carpenter by trade. I had some friends who I worked with who started vaping about 2 years ago. They were always yelling me to quit the smokes and start vaping. Also, my family eats pizza at a local shop near me. One of the workers had stopped smoking and started to vape. I asked her if she missed smoking. She told me that it was the best thing she ever did and I needed to stop. So the next day I went to a local vape shop, purchased a inexpensive setup, and have never picked up smoking since.
My good friend Steve Gore, the one who was always yelling at me, he was the reason I started to make my own liquids after some time. Steve had been making his own for the last few years. After some time at making my own for personal use, I shared some that I had made with Steve. He was blown away with the recipes and said I had to start sharing these with others and so I came up with the idea of our own line. That was in January of this year, and now I am very happy that I now have the chance to share with others. On a sad note, we lost Steve to lung cancer almost 5 weeks ago, and his passing has made me want this even more. If I can help one person stop smoking, and possibly extend their live, it has been worth it.
SPINFUEL: I am really sorry to hear that Dave. That is a really special story and thanks for sharing that with us. Where are you located? What’s the local and state level situation there with respect to electronic cigarettes? What’s the “attitude” of the people there about eCigarettes?
Dave: Brown Boxer Elixers is located in sunny Orlando Florida. Florida is having much the same problem as the rest of the nation in regards to vaping. People who are against conventional smoking are dead set against vaping as well, not all-but most. All vapors need to help spread the word to their local and state officials about the benefits of vaping because it is saving lives. Big tobacco is the main threat to anyone who vapes, they are losing money and smokers because of vaping. It’s easier for them to pay lobbyists to fight for them than it is to admit vaping is better for you. Florida has had some bills get to the state level wanting all types of vaping equipment listed as drug paraphernalia. I’m sure its only a matter of time before Florida will follow suite with other states wanting to add a tax on e-liquids.
SPINFUEL: When you launched your company how did you decide on your first flavor or “set” of flavors?
Dave: I had tried many other liquids on the market, some I loved and others not so much. I had already come up with some recipes that I was vaping and did some studying on other flavors in the market and went from there. It is a challenge to come up with new unheard of flavor profiles. Some time you have to look at what is good and bad in a flavor and make the adjustments you feel make the best flavor. Everyone’s taste is different and you’re never going to please everyone.
SPINFUEL: It seems that no matter how many eLiquid vendors we review, they all have their own “signature” recipes. Each brand is different, which I find remarkable, and exciting. With just a handful of ingredients each company is able to create their own specific traits. How would you describe your signature?
Dave: Brown Boxer Elixers wanted to take the approach of craft beer makers. We believe that making e-liquids by the tanker truck full, tends to not have the personal touch. All of our liquids are made in small batches of 6500ml, then bottled. We have come up with liquids that are more blends than single flavors. While this adds some difficulty to recipes, you get a flavor that starts one way and finishes another. We have not tried to follow the trends as to flavors that run their course in a short time, but basic profiles that are good all day vapes.
SPINFUEL: We steep all the eLiquids we receive for review purposes, even if we’re told there is no need to do so. 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?
Dave: All of our liquids are steeped at the bottler for one week before being packaged. We hold the products for another week before we move them into the market place. I believe it’s a good idea to open a fresh bottle and let it air for a period of time, if that’s possible. Not all e-liquids require the same type of treatment as others, some with heavy creams, custards and vanilla will require more time to develop the final flavor.
SPINFUEL: What’s the best way, in your opinion, for customers to ‘steep’ eLiquids at home? Do you have an area in your facility where your liquids go to steep?
Dave: All of our liquids are bottled from our fulfillment house when we receive them. They are always stored in a dark environment away from sun light and kept at a temperature around 75 degrees. Sun light and heat are not good for any e-liquids. This is one reason we wanted to use brown glass bottles to protect from UV light. If someone wanted to steep their e-liquids at home, I would do just that. Keep them in a cool and dark spot, open the bottle once a day to allow for fresh air until they achieve the taste they like. Some liquids can steep for months, it much up to the vapor to decided when its ready.
SPINFUEL: Let’s talk about packaging. How are your eLiquids packaged?
Dave: All of our liquids are bottled in 30ml amber glass bottles. Each bottle is equipped with a CRC cap, completely shrink wrapped. This process is done at our fulfillment company.
SPINFUEL: There is a lot of concern these days about how and where eLiquids are being made. Could you describe your ‘mixing’ area? Where do you do your mixing, bottling, and shipping?
Dave: We have hired a fulfillment company with the expertise and state of the art equipment to mix, bottle, label and test our liquids. When possible in our local area, we hand deliver all of our products. When needed, we ship our products via USPS.
SPINFUEL: How do you make sure your mixing tools and containers are kept clean and sterile?
Dave: Our fulfillment company has set fourth very stringent guide line’s on their clean rooms. Dailey cleaning with alcohol on all equipment and tools used. They have ongoing monitoring of product and process performance.
SPINFUEL: Safety is also a huge factor today. What kind of measures do you take to make sure that your e-juice is safe to consume? What methods do you use to prevent contamination or other factors that can harm your product?
Dave: Our products are made in a clean room environment, and operates under AEMSA and GRAS standards to ensure the product is the highest quality. We use validated laboratory procedures and laboratory systems. We have specification and documentation control and lot traceability record management. Our products are tested organoleptic, physical, chemical and for stability. Each batch is shipped with a certificate of analysis.
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?
Dave: Our fulfillment company does incoming, in-process and final product testing. They utilize their on site testing laboratory. All raw materials are tested on qualified and calibrated equipment.
SPINFUEL: Does your crew wear any type of special clothing when they are mixing?
Dave: They all wear gowns, gloves, and hair nets. When mixing, face shields are used as well.
SPINFUEL: Do you mix everyday? Do you mix in batches, and if so, how large is a typical batch?
Dave: All of our liquids are made in 6500ml batches.
SPINFUEL: Do you have a specific audience in mind for your eLiquids? In other words, are your eJuices best used with cartomizers, tanks, and clearomizers? Are they blended for dripping, or subohm coils?
Dave: Our liquids are 30% PG and 70% VG. We have found that this mix is good for both drippers and those who use sub-ohm tanks. This mix may be a little to thick for those using some older equipment.
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?
Dave: We use a dripper to test all of our formulations before having them produced. With the new sub-ohm tanks, the taste is about the same. The industry has grown as far as the performance of these newer sub-ohm devises.
SPINFUEL: How do you make sure that your flavors are always consistent, that each batch or bottle delivers the same flavor time after time?
Dave: That’s the beauty of small batches, you have more control over the end results.
SPINFUEL: Something that as always had me wondering; How does a professional eLiquid artist make sure that their flavors taste the same no matter what the PG/VG ratio?
Dave: Todays flavoring used in e-liquids has grown in quality since the boom. As always, the higher PG the liquids are, the more throat hit you’ll have. Some adjustments may be needed in the formulations at different PG-VG levels.
SPINFUEL: Does nicotine levels affect the flavor of your eliquids?
Dave: I have not found that our liquids have a direct affect as to the level of nicotine. The higher the level, the more chance you have of getting a pepper taste.
SPINFUEL: Were you a smoker before you switched to vaping? If so, what made you decide to quit smoking?
Dave: Yes I smoked for 35 years. Vaping helped me quit.
SPINFUEL: What type (and/or brand) of eCigarette did you use to break away from analogs?
Dave: I used to smoke regular Marlboro lights.
SPINFUEL: How long did it take to completely leave analogs behind?
Dave: I quit as soon as I started to vape.
SPINFUEL: How often do you vape? How many hours per day?
Dave: I always have my mod with me, more while I’m at home than at work. I would say 7-10 hours a day.
SPINFUEL: Do you have a “favorite” flavor? What is your favorite category of eLiquids for your personal vaping? Fruity, tobacco-based, sweet, and so forth?
Dave: I am more of a desert kind of guy. But I do like fruits as well.
SPINFUEL: What makes a good eLiquid? In other words, what order of importance are flavor, vapor, and throat hit in your e-Liquids?
Dave: That depends a lot on why you vape. I like the flavor, not the throat hit. Some like to blow big clouds. It’s a balancing act between these.
SPINFUEL: Where do you think the ecigarette industry is headed? Do you have any predictions on the upcoming FDA regulations?
Dave: I want to say I believe that it’s here to stay. I do think some regulation is needed as far as labeling, packaging and quality. It’s need to be produced in clean rooms, and not mixed behind the counter. Everyone needs to support their local, state and federal advocacy groups. Sign any petition that comes your way to protect the rights of those who choose to vape rather than smoke tobacco. The FDA has to realize that vaping the the safest alternative to conventional smoking.
SPINFUEL: Why should our readers buy their e-juice from you?
Dave: I believe we have taken every opportunity to develop a safe, clean and enjoyable e-liquid. Sometimes because you’re the unknown, doesn’t mean you’re not good. All the big players in this industry started where we are at with a good product at a fair price and the attention to detail. That’s what we stand for.
SPINFUEL: Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers while you have their complete attention?
Dave: Give our products a vape, you’ll love them. One day you’ll look back and say “ I remember when Brown Brown Boxer Elixers was a little Florida based juice Company”.
SPINFUEL: I can’t thank you enough for talking with us today, even if it is through email. We really enjoyed your eLiquids and we look forward to arranging a “sequel” when you have some new flavors!