Jordan Cardenas - CRFT
True to name, the tastemakers behind CRFT have built a strong reputation in the industry for designing simple-yet-intricate eLiquid flavor profiles... and they’re only just getting started.
Though it began as a hobby for a couple of friends seeking an alternative to smoking, CRFT quickly evolved into a full-fledged business once friends and family got their hands on some samples. Supported by an overwhelming amount of positive feedback, founder Stephen Hong made the bold decision to launch the company officially in 2013 -- and it’s grown threefold since!
“The original vision was to manufacture small batch craft e-liquids while standardizing the process for a consistent, high quality product that would be scalable to meet our growth needs,” says Jordan Cardenas, Research & Development Manager.
Like many others, Jordan’s path to vaping started with his own DIY experimentation. He had a knack for flavor design, and after doing a bit of research online to get the components just right, began sharing his passion with the company. “I’d start with a single component to build as a base for the flavor, decide what pairs well for that ingredient, and go from there.”
Whether it’s traditional, tobacco free, or nicotine Salt eLiquids, CRFT sets out to push the boundaries of intricacy and complexity of flavors while maintaining a simple profile. Take MANGO ICE SALT (Jordan’s personal favorite): a juicy and sweet yellow mango with a cool finish, made from rare ingredients that took time to source. Or TRAIL MIX (their OG flavor) which, although currently discontinued from large-scale production, artistically combined 9 components to capture just the right fruity, nutty, and creamy flavors -- complex yet full. Even STRAWBERRY BLONDE (their best-selling and first recipe), layers notes of strawberry and vanilla custard to create a symphony of dessert perfection.
CRFT’s eLiquid journey from lab to shelves is a long and complicated process. Creating the flavor profile could take anywhere from a day to a couple of weeks, followed by an extensive in-house and external testing process. Only after they feel confident with the product itself do they discuss internal branding and marketing strategies, and then consider a launch. “In the beginning, it was about putting flavors together we personally liked that weren’t on the market yet. As it matured, we made sure to put out products in a responsible way… without childish branding and so on.”
Unlike several brands who are now under fire from the FDA for exuberant packaging that arguably appeals to children [see article here], CRFT designs clean and modern labeling that avoid hype trends. The minimalist aesthetic is intentional, steering clear of copyright infringement and content that harms the public image of the industry. With growing regulations, CRFT spends extra hours and effort to make sure their product is ready to meet all government guidelines. “Vaping is important because there hasn’t been anything so revolutionary that changes the tobacco industry. I think it’s here to stay as long as we make sure we put in the effort.” Cardenas (like many of us) wishes non-vapers appreciated what companies like CRFT are doing to help keep people away from smoking cigarettes, and how the art of flavor can be as helpful as it is delicious.
Liquid Barn Presents: CRFT One Shots
CRFT becomes the fourth company in Liquid Barn’s exclusive Tastemaker Series, offering three simplified and relatable candy flavors from the REUP line, available now for purchase by DIY’ers!
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