- people on the move
Brewt’s hits Meijer shelves
Locally made bloody mary mix is a health-conscious alternative.
Brewt’s Bloody Mary hit Meijer store shelves this past summer as a health-conscious alternative to the standard bloody mary mix, and co-founder Emily Griffen said the move is a big leap for her homemade mix.
Griffen said Brewt’s has pushed hard for brand awareness since 2016 by visiting food and wine shows, and farmers markets across Michigan. Opening distribution through all Meijer stores in the state has almost doubled Brewt’s business over the past three months, she said.
“We just hit a little over 700 accounts across the state,” Griffen said. “We’ve been really crazy this summer.”
Having trained and competed professionally in the world of combat sport Muay Thai for six years, Griffen always was serious about her health and fitness, which often came into conflict with her love for bloody marys. She said conventional bloody mary mix is heavy in sugar and salt, making it more of a meal than a cocktail.
“(Brewt’s) came from taking a healthier approach to the bloody mary industry which, at the time, did not exist,” Griffen said. “Having a bloody mary left me feeling really full and gross, which was not fulfilling.”
Griffen, along with business partner Luke Alan, spent between 40-50 hours in their kitchen crafting an all-natural mix they were proud of, eventually naming it Brewt’s after their Chihuahua, Brewtus.
Griffen and Alan introduced Brewt’s to the Grand Rapids Wine, Beer and Food Festival in 2015, and 30 days later, they got an offer from Kalamazoo-based Imperial Beverage to begin distributing her product to over 100 retailers in Michigan.
Brewt’s is bottled in Grand Rapids and made from locally sourced ingredients, including real tomato for the base, pickled jalapenos, horseradish, lemons, limes and black peppercorn.
The mix contains no added sugar and is one of the lowest-sodium mixes on the market, Griffen said.
Once Brewt’s took off, Griffen knew she had to put her Muay Thai career on hold. Prior to her business success, she had trained and competed throughout California, London and Thailand, including winning the California state title in 2015.
“I probably would have tried to get into bigger things if Brewt’s hadn’t happened the way it did,” Griffen said. “I’m kind of glad because Muay Thai became a little wearing on my body.”
Griffen still trains at least four days a week, whether training by herself or serving as a personal trainer for local gyms. But as Brewt’s has grown, Muay Thai has become more of a hobby.
Brewt’s Bloody Mary won bronze at the SIP Awards in 2017, according to an earlier Business Journal report. Griffen said Brewt’s hasn’t submitted itself for awards much in the past, opting instead to focus on branding and promoting a more health-conscious bloody mary, but that could change as business picks up speed.
“When the right things come up, we’re for sure going to go for more awards,” she said. “We’re always looking for new opportunities to get our name out.”
With Brewt’s now available in every Meijer store, including Bridge Street Market on Grand Rapids’ West Side, Griffen now has her sights set on taking her product out of state via distributors in Indiana and Ohio.
Brewt’s also is aiming to expand its product line in the near future. Griffen did not disclose what specific new products were on the table, but the business likely would stay in the realm of craft mixers.
“Now, it’s our time to start adding to our catalog and expand into other states,” she said. “Next year is going to be even bigger.”
Brewt’s will be conducting several tastings and demonstrations in Michigan over the next several months, including one at the Grand Rapids Wine, Beer and Food Festival from Nov. 15-17 at DeVos Place.