E-Liquid pioneer Johnson Creek files for Bankruptcy

This Wisconsin company was one of the earliest vape businesses in the country.

3 min read

E-Liquid pioneer Johnson Creek files for Bankruptcy

Johnson Creek, a market-leading e-liquid manufacturer recently declared bankruptcy for the company. Spearheading the e-juice market, they climbed to the top thanks to online business.

They have become yet another manufacturer whose story is another symptom of the difficulties faced by e-cig industry players amidst the new FDA regulations.

Founded by Christian Berkey and based in Hartland, Wisconsin, USA, the Johnson Creek Vapor Company was one of the world’s most important providers of quality e-liquid. The company’s success took off after they established a partnership with Blu and were among the first to offer e-liquids containing no propylene glycol, relying instead on a 100% on a vegetable glycerin base.

After the partnership ended, Johnson Creek 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 campaign of 120 employees for 2016. In May 2017, the company reached out to the Hartland municipality citing difficulties complying with FDA regulations.

“Johnson Creek will no longer be in business. I’m so very sorry that we’ve failed you.”

The collapse of a reputable brand such as Johnson Creek was a shock to many industry watchers. Furthermore, like a domino effect, this bankruptcy fell in the footsteps of another independent company, ProVape, which closed last February. The e-cigarette industry must today comply with new US government regulations which impose complicated and expensive requirements.

There is, however, a flicker of hope for Johnson Creek. A recent judicial decision could lead to the company open its doors again after a total restructuring. In an email sent out to customers, CFO Heidi Braun confirmed that she was working to lift the company “out of bankruptcy.”

In any case, the fall of a giant such as Johnson Creek acts as a painful reminder that the vape industry is on thin ice.