Lucky Ruckus E-Liquid Interview
Accompaniment to the Lucky Ruckus eLiquid Review
SPINFUEL: Welcome to the Spinfuel e-Liquid Interview . We’ve been looking forward to talking to you for quite some time. Would you like to introduce yourselves to our readers?
LR: My name is Frank Blankenship. I own Lucky Ruckus Vape group along with my son Cory Blankenship who oversees daily operations. We have 2 retail locations in Amarillo and Lubbock Texas and we also operate an E-liquid manufacturing facility in Amarillo. We are founding members of SFATA Texas and extremely active in the advocacy arena at the local, state and national level. We have been in the vape business for 3 years. Thank you for taking the time to review this round of our E-liquids.
SPINFUEL: What position(s) do you hold in the company?
LR: I am co-owner, advocate, e liquid creator, purchasing,and any other task that needs to be taken on.
SPINFUEL: Who or what, inspired you to get into the e-juice business, and when was that?
LR: In November of 2012 I was a long time heavy smoker. I purchased a Blu, which I used for about two weeks until I could mail order an ego set up. Once my ego arrived I was off and running. I smoked my last cigarette on December 6, 2012. It was an amazingly simple transition and soon all of my immediate family was switched as well. After seeing how easy it was for me to quit tobacco I knew that there were others who could also benefit from this fantastic product so Lucky Ruckus Vape shop was born. In the beginning we carried other liquid but we were unsatisfied with the consistency and flavors so we began experimenting with E-liquid creation and developed some good basic recipes. As we fine tuned our manufacturing process we began to define more complex flavor combinations and added these to our line up. The last two and half years has been a whirlwind of changes and we are excited to continue providing small batch craft e liquid in 2016.
SPINFUEL: Are your eliquids made on site, or are they developed on site and then outsourced as many others are now doing?
LR: Our approach to E-liquid manufacturing is and has always been similar to the “craft beer” genre rather than outsourced to a third party high volume operation. Our flavor development process is a multi step process that takes a minimum of 6 weeks to complete. Once placed into production our E liquid flavors are produced by us. We have a dedicated manufacturing facility where all of our Eliquids are crafted with love in small 3300ml batches.
SPINFUEL: Could you describe your ‘mixing, bottling, labeling, and shipping areas or rooms?
LR: First and foremost our nicotine is titration tested and the results logged before use to verify nicotine content. Myself and Cory Blankenship are the only people who have access to the mix area. The mix area equipment is comprised of stainless tables, pyrex / HDPE mix utensils and FRP wall coatings. Entry into the mix area requires standard PPE including gloves, hairnet, facemask, shoe covers, safety glasses and lab coat. Once each batch is mixed it is stored for future bottling as dictated by orders and retail outlet needs. Each and every bottle of our Eliquid is bottled by hand. The only automation to our process is the use of a mechanical filler to distribute e liquid into bottles. As bottles are filled they are segregated by nicotine content, labels are printed in house and applied to each bottle and the finished product is packaged and shipped or packaged and delivered to one of our two retail stores.
SPINFUEL: How are your eliquids packaged? What type of bottle, dripper, labels, shrink-wrap or safety caps? What information do you include on your labels?
LR: All of our liquids are packaged in HDPE plastic bottles with slim tips. Labels are polyester gloss, and all bottles have CRC caps. We provide ratio, nicotine content, batch #, as well as prop 65 warnings for California and general safety information.
SPINFUEL: What “line” of eliquid did you send for review? Of the lines you have developed, which is the most popular with customers these days? Are you also seeing the trend to higher VG ratios?
LR: This round of samples contained the following:
Southern Betty-Red Southern Betty- Brown Southern Betty-Blonde Southern Betty -Black Acrynomics-SYWMS Acrynomix- NYFMR Standard Line- Precision Standard Line- Sugah
Southern Betty Red has been the most popular from this release followed closely by Both Acrynomix, Precision and Sugah
SPINFUEL: How would you describe the flavor profile, or signature, of the line we are reviewing?
SB Red is a decadent Strawberry Mixture that will flow smoothly and slowly over your coils producing an aroma and taste that you’ll want again and again!
Southern Betty- Brown
SB BROWN is sweet and sticky sugar cookie deliciousness that will leave you blowing perfect OH’sss!
SB Blonde.. Lemon Cheesecake that’s tart and edgy and ready for a romp in your tank!
Southern Betty -Black
Black is the exotic and slightly sinister member of the family. If you like wild dark honey with a tobacco hint this ones for you! Acrynomics-SYWMS
HI VG (25/75) Citrusy Lemon, Meringue, Pie Crust blended together to provide the perfect dessert vape
HI VG (25/75) This flavor profile is best described as smooth and mellow. It’s reminiscent of sweet vanilla, caramel with a hint of light tobacco and a tad bit of fruit inclusions.
Standard Line- Precision
An exotic sugar cookie blend with a slight touch of fruit Standard Line- Sugah
Sugah is a sweet & delicious candied apple with a hint of cinnamon
SPINFUEL: Where do you source your nicotine? Can you tell us, and our readers, about the nicotine you use?
LR: All of our nictine is sourced from a US supplier and is USP grade.
SPINFUEL: What assurances do you have at your disposal to make sure the nicotine levels in your individual bottles of e-Liquid are what they are supposed to be?
LR:Incoming nicotine is titration tested before use and logged and random titration test are completed on finished product.
SPINFUEL: What kind of special clothing is worn by your crew when they are mixing?
LR: Entry into the mix area requires standard PPE including gloves, hairnet, face mask, shoe covers, safety glasses and lab coat.
SPINFUEL: Do you mix eliquids everyday? Do you mix in batches, and if so, how large is a typical batch? How long are they steeped at your facility before they ship out to customers?
LR: Our Eliquids are crafted with love in small 3300ml batches. Typical steep time is 7 days.
SPINFUEL: Do you have a specific audience in mind for your eLiquids? In other words, are your eJuices best used with tanks, and clearomizers? Sub-Ohm tanks and RDA’s?
LR: We strive to develop Eliquid creations that are suitable in various devices; however we do offer high VG combinations for RDA’s and Sub Ohm tanks.
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?
LR: We typically do a dual test on new liquids. First test is done on an RDA and if the creation passes that test then it is tested in an RTA and from there standard tanks are utilized and final tweaking is completed. Some eliquids are better suited for RDA’s and some for tanks but the majority of our Eliquid will perform fine in either.
SPINFUEL: How does a professional eLiquid artist make sure that the flavors taste the same no matter what the PG/VG ratio?
LR: We offer 50/50 and Hi VG. We have found that in order to transfer the flavor profile from 50/50 to Hi VG requires extended in depth testing and fine tuning of the flavor percentages. In our opinion we have done an excellent job of keeping the character of the flavor profile intact across the different ratios.
S P I N F U E L : W h a t m a k e s a g o o d e-L i q u i d ? W h a t m a k e s a g o o d all-day-vape? Do you ever set out to create a specific “all-day-vape”, or is an all-day-vape simply a happy accident after vape testing begins?
LR: ADV is definitely specific to the individual. Taste is subjective and everyone is different. We strive to develop a range of great flavor profiles in order to provide each customer with options when searching for their own ADV.
SPINFUEL: Where do you think the eliquid sector of our industry heading? Do you have any predictions on the upcoming FDA regulations?
LR: Unfortunately our industry is playing defense against some others who have been playing the lobbying game for a very long time. Lucky Ruckus has been very active in the advocacy arena for quite some time. We are one of the founding members of SFATA’s Texas chapter and we currently support the AVA and Vaping Militia as well as being CASAA members personally. We made many trips to the State Capital in Austin during the 2015 legislative session and also recently made a trip to Washington DC to meet with our legislators there and also meet with the OMB regarding deeimng regulations and their impact to our industry. I cant make any predictions about the upcoming regulations but I sincerely hope that in the end we have reasonable regulations that will allow responsible manufacturers to remain in business and allow adults to continue to have access to the product.
SPINFUEL: Do you think the FDA or state laws will someday ban flavors, other than tobacco of course?
LR: I sincerely hope not. Flavors and variety are one of the most attractive options that allow adults to remain tobacco free.
SPNFUEL: Do you believe eliquid and mods should be labeled as tobacco products? If not, then why do you think the industry is being looked at as such?
LR: I do not agree with this approach. Milk isn’t a beef product, Maple Syrup isn’t a wood product….. The amount of nicotine in finished E-liquid is a very small percentage of the total volume in the bottle and the logic behind labeling our products as tobacco are rooted in greed and corruption.
SPINFUEL: How can vapers convince non-vapers that eliquid and mods are not tobacco products? Or is it a losing battle?
LR: The bigger question centers around what can we do to educate non vapors about the facts we have about vaping. The general public is bombarded on a regular basis with headlines promoting fear mongering, half truths and mis information. We need to take every opportunity to reach out with solid facts that refute all of the bad press with half the story. For example in our area I constantly reach out to the local media and have been given the opportunity on numerious occasions to present facts and data supporting vapor products as well as share my personal story.
SPINFUEL: Why should our readers buy their e-juice from you? There are a lot of Eliquid choices available today.
LR: The things that separates Lucky Ruckus from the rest is our craft E-liquid approach utilizing small batch methods and a continuous improvement mind set as well as our personal attention that is given to each and every batch. We are proud that anyone who purchase our e liquids can rest assured that the manufacturing environment where it is created is clean and orderly and we can provide third party test results for DA/ AP upon request. We are also proud to represent vapers as a whole in the local, state and national advocacy arena and appreciate all of the support we receive from our customers.
SPINFUEL: Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers while you have their complete attention?
LR: 2016 is going to be a huge year for the vaping industry. We are going to see some type of regulations be put in place and as an industry we need to continue to come together to represent the industry in a positive light. There are ~ 9million vapers in the US according to CDC data and its going to take every single one of us working together to keep vaping accessible.
SPINFUEL: I can’t thank you enough for talking with us today. We really enjoyed your eliquids and we look forward to reviewing more from Lucky Ruckus in 2016.