Cloud 9 bills itself as the first and only premium, all-natural aphrodisiac drink. Its President, John Holohan believes Cloud 9 can give the wellness drink industry a sexy-time boost.

The seatbelt. GPS. Google. Some of the most vital innovations common to everyday life are the results of college students’ work. So it should be no surprise that a business class at UCLA in 2009 could be looked back upon as the cradle of aphrodisiac/wellness drinks.

As part of a class project to introduce the best idea, product or service, two UCLA students concocted Cloud 9.

After soft intros at bars and clubs in Los Angeles, the Bruins came across a former giraffe in 2013.

“They introduced me to Cloud 9 and we worked out a deal where I would get Cloud 9 to the general public,” says John Holohan, former Executive Vice President for Toys R’ Us, and the man whose goal it is to have Cloud 9 be a gift from the heavens for the wellness drink industry.

Holohan says his curiosity in Cloud 9 was piqued by the name (“it’s synonymous with feeling good”); the originality of an aphrodisiac drink (“there’s nothing like it on the market”); and the taste (“it tastes really good”).

“People enjoy it and it’s healthy for you,” says Holohan of Cloud 9, which contains all-natural ingredients, including Ginseng extract, maca (an edible herb), and B vitamins.

After a few years of initial conversations, Holohan and Cloud 9 were ready to make a splash—in an all-new arena.

The Cloud 9 display at the Hustler Hollywood store in Nashville.

“Metro Distribution was instrumental in getting us into adult stores,” recalls Holohan. “They got us launched. They have a bunch of stores called Amazing Intimate Essentials, up in New England and they put it in all of their stores and that helped us get into other chains as well.”

Those stores and “other chains” include Hustler Hollywood, Adam & Eve (select locations), Fairvilla stores (Florida) and the Ambiance store chain in Ohio, among others. Cloud 9 has also found an audience in bars, nightclubs and gentlemen’s clubs, as evidenced by Stars Cabaret in Oregon, which sells 12 cases per month.

That tried-and-true method of physically distributing your product and relying on word of mouth? Holohan knows that will likely be Cloud 9’s most effective marketing tool. Because the beverage is perceived to be an “adult product,” the company will (like many other “adult” products or businesses) face roadblocks with social media sites’ advertising gatekeepers.

“We’re getting the product in stores and working directly with stores on promotions, because Cloud 9’s target consumers are already in those stores,” says Holohan. “We’re going to use people in the industry who do this for a living, the store owners and their staff, to help us get the word out about Cloud 9.”

Holohan has confidence that Cloud 9—which comes in 3, 6, 12 and 24 packs—can do well, and early reviews show the winds of fortune blowing favorably. As Holohan notes, where Cloud 9 is in a refrigerator near the checkout counter, there are stores selling close to 1,000 bottles a month, making it one of the most popular products sold in these stores.

“Cloud 9 Natural Aphrodisiac Beverage has been a great addition to our aphrodisiacs department, especially for women due to the fact that there aren’t near as many sexual enhancements made for females as opposed for males,” says Mary Ann Sellers of Ambiance, one of the chains Cloud 9 has cemented its foothold. “It’s been a steady seller for us, with a lot of repeat customers, because it tastes good, enhances your mood, sparks that passion, and also mixes great with alcohol when you’re ready to get the party started. Just imagine what kind of party you can have when both partners partake!”

Holohan predicts Cloud 9’s popularity will come, but he realizes more help distributing the product is what will accelerate growth the most.

“We’re looking for people that want to be frontrunners in the growth of this product,” says Holohan. “I say the potential for this thing is huge at some point, it just takes time to get there,” says Holohan. “I see us, potentially with this product, being the Red Bull of the adult industry, the natural aphrodisiac industry. That’s the kind of potential I see in this product. There’s nothing out there like it.”

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