An entrepreneur who made his fortune in the adult film biz thinks he may have the biggest must-have product since porn.
Jay Grdina is the new CEO and majority owner of NoHo, the No Hangover Defense.
"We're first to market. We have a great product," says Grdina.
NoHo claims to use natural ingredients like ginger and prickly pear juice to mitigate the effects of a very long night.
Consumers are supposed to drink NoHo before a night out as a preventive measure, though a mixer with vodka is in the works. "We call it the condom of drinking," says the CEO and President Sean Stephenson in unison.
The product is packaged like an energy drink, which it is not, with the aim of making NoHo look "cool" in what the CEO calls a new category—"the Functional Lifestyle category".
The product launched in 2009, first landing in AM/PM stores. Through parties and social media, word spread, and now NoHo is in 7-11 and Circle K, moving into Vegas casinos.
Does NoHo work?
I tried some New Year's Eve and woke up fine, but I'm not a big drinker.
Lil Jon, on the other hand, is. "It honestly has helped me through Vegas," he tells me. (More on him here.) "We probably sold 450,000 units total last year," says company President Sean Stephenson. "That number this year soon (will) be five times that, six times that."
Does a product like this encourage people to drink more? The videos on the NoHo websitecertainly suggest that more is better. "This isn't like a green light to go, 'Oh my gosh, you can drink ten drinks now instead of four," says Grdina. "This is protecting your body. I call it loving your body."
While the target audience appears to be young men, Grdina says he's seeing older guys buy. "You look at these guys doing business meetings in their 50s, 55, and it's hard for them to keep up with the young guys."
In interviews here, Stephenson explains how the company started. Jay Grdina discusses his plans for the company (including a Super Bowl ad next year). And then there's this blog I wrote about NoHo two years ago, when labels were slapped on cans of Red Bull. Stephenson says it was a case of props gone bad.
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