The DistroMike Story
The DistroMike story began when our Founder & CEO Michael Hammer created a start-up business by the name of CleanAF CBD in late 2019 in Santa Rosa, California. With little more than ambition and an idea to put the World’s first Puff Bar style disposable CBD Vape on the market, Michael hand-assembled and packaged the first batch of 10,000 vape devices with a few friends to help.
Armed with just 5 flavors of a single product line, Michael drove his car around the Santa Rosa area from vape store to head shop in order to meet the retailers in the market and attempt to gain shelf space. Weeks of daily drives led to a presence in the local area, and the need for a legitimate manufacturing facility became apparent.
As COVID related shutdowns began to sweep across California, and available commercial space was extremely limited, Michael drove to Las Vegas to meet the owner of a 2000 sqft commercial unit about a mile west of the Las Vegas Strip. After a brief review of the property, the lease was signed. Michael left his car in Vegas, flew back to California, and rented a Uhaul to drive back to Vegas loaded with his belongings and a few boxes of products and materials.
The first few months of operating in Las Vegas were both exciting and stressful. The demand for the products outpaced the ability to manufacture, and countless mistakes were made in development and scaling of the manufacturing processes. In time, a skilled manufacturing team and sales team were built, and the possibilities for the business truly started to show. 5 more flavors were added for the CBD mini, and the CleanAF MAX was released.
The business was beginning to hit its stride in the CBD vape category in late 2020 when Michael came across an opportunity to test a nearly unknown cannabinoid called Hexahydrocannabinol. Initial tests showed extremely promising results, and the decision to create the Baked HHC brand was made.
Around this same time, Michael was introduced to Justin Mulrooney while visiting a mutual friend’s house party in Las Vegas. When Michael revealed a sample of HHC, Justin knew he was onto something that would change the landscape of the business. Justin made his departure from a 10 year career in Las Vegas nightlife to work on the project full-time, and Baked HHC hit the market as the World’s first HHC vape.
After an initial launch that was met with skepticism and uncertainty, the Baked brand gained massive national traction and the sales team was able to secure distribution in a number of large domestic markets. In a matter of months, the business had once again outgrown its ability to manufacture. Daily operations began to include storage units on adjacent city blocks, and it was once again obvious that the business would need significantly more space to operate to its potential.
After searching with no success for space in Las Vegas, the boys and their girlfriends took a last minute trip to Tampa, Florida early in 2022 to meet a realtor only previously spoken to on an email chain. Over the next week and after visiting dozens of unworkable units, an abandoned warehouse in Clearwater appeared as a diamond in the rough.
The crew flew back to Las Vegas and began the process of loading 2 semi trailers that would carry the entire business across the country to its new Florida location. A trailer was loaded with the team’s personal vehicles, and a group of 12 boarded one way flights to the Sunshine State.
This stage of the business came with its own challenges. The building began to undergo a $750,000 renovation and expansion in order to completely refinish the structure and create designated Clean Room manufacturing spaces, and over 30 manufacturing and warehouse personnel were hired. As budgetary constraints began to loosen, key office personnel were added to the team in the creative and sales departments, and the business began to take its current form. This team would go on to develop several new products for the CleanAF and Baked brands, and would also work together to create and launch the budget. brand.
The organization now operates as a parent company called DistroMike, with over 18,000 sq ft of dedicated warehouse, manufacturing, and office space. The business manufactures all products for its own brands, and also white labels and co-packs for a number of large national and international brands. Daily operations now include 4 e-commerce entities, and nearly 50 people work in the building split between operations and office staff members.
Our team culture is built around inclusivity, and every member of the DistroMike team takes great pride in making some of the highest quality vape products on the planet. We have our team of remarkable people to thank for every milestone we have reached on this journey and we are proud to call them all family. Welcome to the DistroMike Difference.