The Zeus eJuice Interview
SPINFUEL: When and why did your company decide to get into the e-juice business? And why “Zeus e-Juice”?
Zeus: I started vaping in 2009 with a cigarette-sized e-cig. The batteries didn’t last very long, and kept failing in a matter of days, so I went back to analogs in less than a month. I tried a different manufacturer again in 2010 with no luck. I tried again when I heard of the larger sized EGO batteries in 2011 and finally quit analogs as they would last me long enough to kill the cravings. I tried to get my wife to quit but every flavor she tried wasn’t strong enough for her. So I started buying flavorings from multiple different companies and set out to make her something she would vape. After about three months of trial and error I had done it. I made her a strawberry that she felt tasted like a real strawberry. So I used that same core recipe structure and started playing with more flavorings for myself and created my all day vape now called Zeus Juice. I let some fellow vapers try it and they were amazed at how much flavor I was able to infuse into it. Everything has blossomed from there.
Zeus: Why the name Zeus E-Juice? Well when we decided to try selling my e-liquid creations, we went looking for a name. We wanted a name that rolled off the tongue easy and was pleasant to hear and say. One day someone who tried one of my flavors said that it was like the juice was sent from the gods. It was then that Zeus E-Juice was born.
SPINFUEL: How did you learn to make eLiquids? Did it take long to master the art of mixing? At what point did you decide to go “pro”? (Decide to sell eLiquid to the public)
Zeus: It took almost 4 months of research testing many products and hundreds of different mixtures to get the “Zeus” core recipe down. After many people who tried my recipes stated that they were the best they had tried, I decided to start a business. I took $5000.00 out of my 401K and converted our outside bathroom into a mixing lab.
SPINFUEL: Speaking of going ‘pro’, was it a particular flavor, or group of flavors, that you believed were the catalyst for going pro? Was there a particular flavor, or recipe, or group of flavors, where you said to yourself “We need to offer these to the public”?
Zeus: Yes there was. My wife created Straw-Melon Cooler, and I had created Zeus Juice, Medusa Juice, and Poseidon’s Poison. It was when we let others try them that, due to their feedback, we felt we might have something here.
SPINFUEL: Do each of you have your own ‘favorite’ flavor? What is your favorite category of eLiquids for your personal vaping? Fruity, Sweet, Tobacco, other?
Zeus: Yes we do. Mrs. Z vapes Straw-Melon Cooler as her all-day vape, and I vape Zeus Juice as my all-day vape. What we’re best at is the fruity and sweet.
SPINFUEL: After a hard day’s work, what category of eJuice do you reach for?
Zeus: Honestly, I vape whatever we’re working on at the moment as a secondary vape to Zeus Juice. Only after days of trying something, and vaping it through it’s steeping cycle, can you really tell what a flavor is going to end up like. But there is always a tank full of Zeus Juice with me at all times.
SPINFUEL: What is your idea of an ‘all-day’ vape?
Zeus: My idea of an all day vape is a flavor that stays nice and strong, no matter what the flavor is. Each person is different, and some days my taste is a little different, so the flavor doesn’t really factor in here, only how potent it is. If it’s not potent, you’re not going to enjoy it for a long period of time. So to summarize, an all day vape should be pleasant for the vaper, whether they like strong hits or a mellow and smooth experience, continually producing a nice strong flavor all day long.
SPINFUEL: How often do you vape? Or rather, ‘how many hours per day are you vaping?
Zeus: Honestly I vape more than I smoked. I can pretty much vape anywhere so I just grab it when the urge strikes me. If I had to guess I would say maybe 3 hours a day total. I go through about 6-8 ml a day.
SPINFUEL: What is your favorite vaping hardware? (No need to mention brand unless you want to)
Zeus: When it comes to batteries/hardware, I have many including mechanicals, but I always have my ProVari locked and loaded. It’s been 16 months now and it’s still going strong. I’ve only used 4 batteries in that period as well. They just make a high quality American made product.
SPINFUEL: Cartomizer, Cartridge, Clearomizer? Which is your favorite, and is your eLiquids created with any particular one in mind?
Zeus: I didn’t have much time to try new hardware for most of the last year and a half as I had a full time job for part of it and made juices in my lab at home in the evenings. But I’ve tried rebuildables, every CE device out there, Tanks, Nova’s, you name it, and I keep going back to the SmokTech dual coil cartomizers in a tank. To me they just produce the best experience while being easy and fast. Granted they aren’t the only atomizers that perform well, but for me they are just the fastest and easiest to change out and get going again.
SPINFUEL: Do you “Steep” your eLiquids before they are shipped to customers? If so, how long, on average, does it take to steep, or are your eLiquids ready for vaping right out of the mailbox?
Zeus: This is a very important subject to us. I decided long ago that people want a variable selection when it comes to their PG/VG ratio. Due to offering 10 different PG/VG/H20 blends to our customers in six different nicotine strengths we would need 60 different variations pre-made for just one flavor. Due to that, we make everything to order. None of our juice is steeped unless you are buying it from one of our brick and mortar vendors across the globe. We have plans to pre-steep our top 40-50 flavors in the future in our house blend ratio, but we aren’t there yet.
Are our flavors good right out of the mailbox? This is another very important subject to us. We know that customers are going to try the juice right away. I did. I still do. So in the beginning when we were creating our recipes we created them so that most every one of them is good right away. It takes a lot of flavoring to make a robust ejuice that can be vaped right away. So after our juice steeps, many say it’s out of this world robust.
SPINFUEL: On average, what is the shelf life for eLiquids in general?
Zeus: We recommend to use them within one year. It is stated many places in the community that the shelf life is two years. So what we do is we date every bottle the day it is made. That way you know when it was made and can decide for yourself how long you want to keep it around. We find mostly though that the bottles are vaped quickly and don’t last many moons.
SPINFUEL: How is your eLiquids packaged? What sizes do you offer?
Zeus: At this time we offer 12ml, 30ml and 50ml. We have plans to offer 6ml sample sizes again in the very near future.
Zeus: Packaged? We learned a lot in the first year of doing business, sending thousands of packages out. We started shipping with the most economical method utilizing bubble wrap envelopes. What we found though is that some items can be damaged during shipping in those envelopes. So we changed about 8 months ago to shipping everything in white cardboard boxes. This keeps the contents much safer in transit.
SPINFUEL: Why is American Made e-Juice so important to you? (If it is) Before you became an eJuice flavorists/creator, was “buying American” as it pertained to eLiquids important you personally?
Zeus: It is absolutely important. I feel that we, as Americans, should try our hardest to produce quality products and promote our own economic growth and stability. As a society, we get many products from other countries and I’m OK with that as it helps stimulate their growth as well, but if we can keep it “in house” I feel we should. We could have easily partnered with another country to have them make and bottle our brand of e-liquid as some American e-liquid companies are doing now, but I wanted to have full control of the ingredients that were going into our product. We use only FDA certified USP grade flavorings, and USP and Kosher PG and VG. We don’t skimp here as a high quality product is only made from high quality ingredients.
SPINFUEL: How would you describe your flavors? (Subtle, obvious, strong, etc.)
Zeus: Strong. Robust. Out of this world.
SPINFUEL: Do you have a ‘specialty’ when it comes to creating eJuice? (Sweet, fruity, tobacco-flavored, etc.)
Zeus: Our specialty is fruity and dessert type, as that is what pleases my palate the most. Our signature line is comprised of all fruity vapes.
SPINFUEL: When working on a new flavor: How long does it take to go from an idea to the final product, on average?
Zeus: Great question. There are times when we have an idea, give it a try, and hit the nail on the head the first try. Then there are times where it can take months to perfect. If I were to say on average, it would be around 6 – 10 tries. Within 6 – 10 tries you know if you are going to continue to go down a path, or turn around and start down another. We are continually vaping our flavor lineup and trying to improve. Some things are perfect the way they are, and some things could be improved. It’s only through listening to our customers and continually striving for perfection that we can create amazing flavors that can be loved by the masses. In summation, improvement is never ending.
SPINFUEL:. How and why did you choose the particular flavors you submitted for review by our team?
Zeus: We let our customers decide what we sent you. We took our 10 most popular selling items and that’s what we made fresh for you, from scratch. We could have sent you some private stock that has steeped and is more well rounded, but we wanted to give you the same experience that our customers get.
SPINFUEL: How important is it to use pharmaceutical grade ingredients?
Zeus: Highly important. Probably the most important. You’re taking the vapor from an e-cigarette into your lungs. It has to be the cleanest and safest it can be. No exceptions.
SPINFUEL: Are you concerned with the upcoming FDA regulations? Not necessarily for your company but for vaping in general?
Zeus: We are not concerned. We welcome regulation as an important factor in guaranteeing the safety and well being of the American public. We are preparing now for regulation by making the changes needed to become AEMSA certified. Hopefully by strictly governing ourselves before the FDA regulates, those of us that have prepared will have an easy transition. This industry needs to be regulated and the end user needs to have assurance that the product they are vaping is of the highest quality. We all know there are DIY mixers making juice on their living room couch. That juice cannot be allowed to be sold to the American public.
SPINFUEL: How far do you think the FDA should go when it comes to regulation?
Zeus: They should monitor and inspect just as they would a pharmaceutical company. Nicotine is a poison though harmless at the levels we are vaping it at. One small human error could lead to nicotine poisoning, so only the highest quality lab grade mixing and testing equipment should be used, calibrated, and inspected on a regular basis.
SPINFUEL: Where do you stand with the opinion that the government should have the right to restrict people’s freedom to vape?
Zeus: This is a free country, so we should be free to do what we choose. Propylene glycol glycerine, and food flavorings have been FDA approved for human consumption since the 1950’s. And since they currently approve formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, nicotine, and 900+ other chemicals and toxins in cigarettes for human consumption they should have absolutely nothing to say about vaping.
SPINFUEL: Do you think, when it comes to teenagers, that ‘vaping leads to smoking’?
Zeus: Absolutely not. Smoking leads to vaping. Smoking has been around for thousands of years. You have been able to buy fruit and candy flavored Hookah tobaccos for many years, so flavorful eliquids isn’t a gateway to smoking. I feel that anyone who thinks smoking leads to vaping is not properly educated.
SPINFUEL: Safety is a huge factor today. What kind of measures 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?
Zeus: This is the number one factor in how we do things, write processes, and perform our daily duties. We mix all of our flavors in a clean room. All of our employees wear lab aprons, hair nets, nitrile gloves, and shoe coverings. We clean all surfaces every morning with anti bacterial cleaners and then isopropyl alcohol. We do not allow vaping, eating or drinking in the clean room. That area has to stay as sterile as we can make it, so we take every precaution we can to ensure that it does.
SPINFUEL: What is your suggested PG/VG mix? You ‘House Blend’? What is the reasoning behind it? (if any)
Zeus: Our house blend is a 100% true 60/40 PG/VG blend. It’s not a 60/40 PG/VG blend after we put the flavoring in. It’s not 60/40 for this ejuice and 65/35 for that. All of the flavorings we use come in PG carriers, so the amount of flavoring is factored into the final ratio. We do not use alcohol or distilled water in our main mix as we find it reduces the amount of vapor produced, though we do offer a blend with distilled water for our PG sensitive customers.
SPINFUEL: How do you make sure that your flavors are always consistent, that each batch or bottle delivers the same flavor and nicotine levels time after time?
Zeus: This was the #1 reason we took our time to grow. When you eat at a specific favorite restaurant in one town and then eat there again in another, you expect the flavors to be the same. We expect them to be as well for each bottle over and over again. The only way to ensure that they are the same every time is to create and stick to stringent manufacturing processes. The process has to be easy and fast and documented so that anyone can do it like the last person. It took a long time to figure out how to do that with 250+ flavors without spending hundreds of thousands of computer controlled systems, but we did it before we would allow ourselves to grow out of our britches. J
SPINFUEL: Speaking of which, do you mix customer’s orders by the bottle or by the batch?
Zeus: We mix every order by the bottle to the customers specifications, though we will start mixing by the batch when we start to offer a select number of our favorite flavors to be purchased pre-steeped.
SPINFUEL: How many flavors do you offer today?
Zeus: 263 and growing.
SPINFUEL: Why should our readers buy their e-Juice from you?
Zeus: Because we love what we do, and you can taste it in our juices. We know that our customers are just like us, people who want a robust, flavorful, eliquid that lasts and lasts. We take the upmost pride in providing our customers with the cleanest and safest product out there, even before the FDA regulates the industry. Although the industry standard is a no return policy on eliquids, we want our customers to enjoy their vaping experience, and we do what it takes to make sure they’re happy.
SPINFUEL: Do you have more than one person mixing eLiquids?
Zeus: Oh yes. Everyone that works here at Zeus E-Juice Inc can mix. Some have an artistic talent for it and are continually coming up with new flavors, but everyone here can follow our manufacturing process and make a bottle of juice.
SPINFUEL: Where do you think the eCigarette industry is headed? Are electronic cigarettes the “future of smoking”?
Zeus: I feel that there will always be tobacco users, but with the health risks of tobacco being much greater than vaping, vaping will replace smoking for a large percentage of the smoking population. As more and more “easy to use” products are developed, the learning curve is shrinking for the new vaper making it easier to stick with it.
SPINFUEL: What advice do you have for people that are new to vaping as it pertains to hardware? Should they start out with a mini-ecig and prefilled cartomizers or should they dive right in with eGo batteries and Clearomizer Does it matter?
Zeus: I think it really does matter. The person who smokes two packs a day, I feel, will not be happy with a 350 mah mini-ecig starter kit as they don’t last long enough, take a couple hours to charge, and before you know it you have two dead batteries and are having cravings for a cigarette. I myself tried twice with mini-ecigs and failed due to that very reason. I personally recommend a standard ego battery with a bottom coil cartomizer to anyone new to vaping.
SPINFUEL: Which APV or Mech-Mod released this year, 2013, do you think was the best one introduced to the vape community?
Zeus: The iTaste line from Innokin.
SPINFUEL: Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
Zeus: Thank you for taking the time to read this. We love what we do and it is with the help of our amazing customers that we can continue to do so. We value your time and respect your intelligence. Happy Vaping!