Republic Tobacco Enters E-Cig Category With Purchase of Johnson Creek

March 13th, 2014

GLENVIEW, Ill. & HARTLAND, Wis. — Republic Tobacco announced its entry into the burgeoning electronic-cigarette category today with its purchase of Johnson Creek Enterprises of Hartland, Wis., a juice supplier for vaping products in the United States.

Republic Tobacco is the nation’s largest distributor of roll-your-own and make-your-own tobacco products and accessories that include such brands as Job, Top, Gambler, Drum, Largo and Tube Cut.

Since being founded by Christian Berkey in 2008, Johnson Creek Enterprises is the world’s leading smoke juice production facility.

Through its affiliates, Republic has taken an equity interest in Johnson Creek Enterprises.


#1 Bucky on 03.13.14 at 7:24 PM

Wow not sure what to make of this news. Really puzzling.

#2 Candy Girl on 03.13.14 at 7:39 PM

It looks like all the big, traditional tobacco companies are rushing to acquire e-cigarette assets. I expect that there will be more to come. I find it interesting that the acquisitions to date- Blu Cig by Lorillard, Green Smoke by Altria, the Ruyan/Dragonite IP porfolio by Imperial/Fontem and now Johnson Creek by Republic have been surprises. Many thought the likes of NJOY and LOGIC would be have been among the first to be acquired. You have to wonder now if the large, independent e-cig companies can succeed on their own in the long term.

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#4 OTP Kid on 03.14.14 at 4:15 PM

This looks like a super shrewd move by Republic. All the data is showing ecigs growth is slowing and retail dollars are shrinking, and vaping is headed up big time. By the time RJR and Altria get into the ecig biz, it might be a thing of the past. Republic should bring some comfort to a growing vape business that’s been lacking respectable players.

#5 Vapor Man on 03.14.14 at 7:05 PM

Not so quick there OTP kid – When Altria and RAI get it going the biz will really take off. The RAI product is not bad. And Altria made a good move with Green Smoke. The e-cig business is still growing – check the math. The liquid business is great but there are different strokes for different strokes. Republic is a good company and I agree they bring some respect. I hear that Altria and RAI want to shut down the liquid side. It will be interesting.

#6 Bucky on 03.14.14 at 11:38 PM

No doubt it’s all about tobacco as many said it would be one day.

#7 OTP Kid on 03.17.14 at 4:23 PM

I tend to think the Green Smoke thing is desperation, $100 million, really? RAI’s reviews are mixed at best, also lots of folks believe the numbers they keep quoting in Colorado are artifically inflated to make a good story. Ecigs are still a growing business, but growth and pricing continue to shrink. This could be fun to watch

#8 Vapor Man on 03.19.14 at 11:40 PM

Coupons are flying everywhere with RAI and Altria

#9 Anonymous on 04.03.14 at 12:04 PM

I’m not sure that this move is that smart with the chance that the FDA becomes very nasty with this stuff but their is a need for good companies getting involved -not the made in the usa label slapped on groups

#10 Johnson Creek Original Smoke Juice on 04.10.14 at 10:47 AM

[…] Republic Tobacco Enters E-Cig Category With Purchase of Johnson … Republic Tobacco announced its entry into the burgeoning electronic-cigarette category today with its purchase of Johnson Creek Enterprises of Hartland, Wis. a juice supplier for vaping products in the United States. […]

#11 OTP Kid on 04.14.14 at 10:19 AM

Saw the new Republic offerings of Real at the NATO show and was very immpressed. Also a great display of JC juice. This looks like a huge home run. I think this was the only booth with any traffic at the Nato show.

#12 play@playacarmen on 04.17.14 at 9:21 AM

Just in time for regs to kill refillable sales — this may be a step into doo-doo.

#13 Candy Girl on 04.17.14 at 11:12 AM

We’re a long way from Federal regs killing anything related to e-cigs. The deeming regs will take up to three years to fully enact and they are likely to be enacted in a form far different from what will actually be proposed. However, once the deeming regs are proposed look for states and municipalities to rush to restrict, limit and tax.

#14 play@playacarmen on 04.18.14 at 6:07 AM

I am not sure why you say they will take three years to enact and will be “far different” from what is proposed.

There are a lot of lawyers trolling for e-cig litigation business telling folks about what washington dc regulators “can’t” do.

After millions of dollars in litigation fees, they will tell you that you got sc***ed and should appeal.

Sottera just said these products have to be regulated under the Tobacco Act. It did not say these products cannot be regulated.

#15 Candy Girl on 04.18.14 at 10:48 AM

The FDA’s regulatory authority over certain tobacco products- cigarettes, small cigars and moist smokeless- was mandated by Congress in the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The Act also provided the FDA with a means by which it could assert regulatory jurisdiction over other products- large premium cigars, pipe tobacco- and products not contemplated by the act- e-cigs, gels, etc. This provision call for the FDA to “deem” the products not currently under the authority as being subject to such authority. Once it’s done that, the FDA will then propose regulations which will be subject to publication, public response and public hearings before the final regulations are enacted. It is expected that this process will take some time and that what will be introduced will not necessarily be what is finally enacted. While we all expect the FDA to propose regulations under its deeming authority many observers believe that that will be the start of the fight and not the end.

So, I agree that Sottera said that if the FDA were to regulate products with a constituent of tobacco, i.e. nicotine, it would have to do under the FSPTCA- but, it has to do so within the framework of the law and that will take some time.

#16 play@playacarmen on 04.18.14 at 11:02 AM

Well there will certainly be litigation no matter what the substance of the deeming regs are — I agree.

But ultimately you are relying on a judge to say that FDA has struck not just the wrong balance between public health (benefit) and costs on industry (cost), but one that is fundamentally unsound. That is a tall order — by comparison, the Sottera cases was easy.

#17 OTP Kid on 04.22.14 at 4:52 PM

I listened to the ecig panel at NATO – Logic, NJOY, Altria and RJR – I have gone from assumed to certain that these are the people running the liquid through the proverbial muck. These products scare the heck out of them. The RJR rep advocated non-self serve, taxes, age verification and FDA regulations – and not one of the others disagreed usbstantially with any of it

#18 Vapor Man on 04.23.14 at 12:11 AM

can you say dah – was such a waste of time

#19 Vapor Man on 04.23.14 at 12:15 AM

listening to three from altria just always thrills me but loved the interaction between Joe and Miguel – lack of insight on the logic team

#20 play@playacarmen on 04.23.14 at 6:23 AM

Big tobacco was slow to realize the danger of refillables to their control of the business. Europe almost killed the refillable market and I think refillable will be dicey here, too, as I think at this point everyone agrees that if refillables continue in their present form (i.e. without some other regulations substantially restricting competition) then big tobacco will not meaningfully control the vapor market.

#21 OTP Kid on 04.23.14 at 11:38 AM

Who will be the first truly e-cig company to dive into liquids? NJOY, Logic, FIN, etc? Maybe Blu?

#22 Vapor Man on 04.24.14 at 8:45 AM

OTP Kid – Some are already there like Ballantyne, Nicotek, 21st Century, Cig2O, Vapor Corp, IVG and Cigalectric and others have been there for sometime with the refillable cartomizers. By the way did you miss the fact that Fin is in now Victory and they will be there along with Logic soon. NJOY remember has a revolutionary product called the King. Bet they didn’t see this coming.

#23 wordonthestreet on 09.18.14 at 8:08 PM

Big lay offs at JC — I guess Republic working the magic.

#24 American e-liquid pioneer files for bankruptcy - Vaping360 on 10.10.17 at 7:15 AM

[…] Within a couple years, Blu and Johnson Creek ended their partnership. In 2014, Republic Tobacco bought a reported 50 percent share of Johnson […]

#25 American e-liquid pioneer files for bankruptcy – Best Vape Juices on 10.11.17 at 5:17 AM

[…] Within a couple years, Blu and Johnson Creek ended their partnership. In 2014, Republic Tobacco bought a reported 50 percent share of Johnson […]

#26 Lou Maiellano on 10.18.17 at 2:28 AM

In more recent news Johnson Creek has filed bankruptcy.

#27 E-Liquid pioneer Johnson Creek files for Bankruptcy | Vaping Vibe on 11.05.17 at 5:45 PM

[…] found themselves in financial difficulty, leading to them giving up 50% of the company’s shares to Republic Tobacco in 2014. CEO Christian Berkey, however, displayed renewed confidence in 2015, announcing a hiring […]

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