BERLIN, Md. – His company started in a small restaurant on a side street of this tiny Maryland town, but now it’s coming to grocery stores around the region.
Before starting his business, Greg David, CEO and president of George’s Bloody Mary Mix, was a bartender at The Globe Restaurant and Bar in Berlin. On the weekends, he made his own secret recipe for Bloody Mary mixes and would have customers try his concoction.
Now George’s Bloody Mary Mix, the name a tribute to his late father, has quadrupled in the past year, according to David.
David couldn’t imagine the success his business would have. After his two business partners, Theda Bakis and Alex Bakis, convinced him to sell his famous Bloody Mary mix, he started to realize the demand for his product.
“Although it took 15 years, we didn’t start bottling until April of 2013,” David said. “We first sold the bottles in The Globe. Then I left The Globe to do this full time in January.”
The business makes its name through festivals and events, but caters to larger venues such as M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens, and more recently, Giant Food Stores.
David is eager to expand his business to the entire East Coast within the next three years, but is concerned that rapid expansion could affect the quality of the product.
“If I’m not moving the product and being the face of it, we aren’t helping our sales teams move the brand,” David said. “We are building a strong base for our brand.”
This base consists of stores and restaurants who reorder George’s Bloody Mary mix on a consistent basis. Approximately 93 percent of retailers are repeat customers, according to David.
David prides his business on its wholesome farm-to-table approach and said he started selling his mix at a time when organic and natural products were gaining momentum.
“We’re keeping the integrity of all the ingredients,” David said. “Everything is fresh and we took our time.”
Approximately 60 percent of tomatoes used in the bottled mix comes from farms around Maryland, Virginia and Delaware, and the horseradish is grown regionally, he said. Additionally, the mix is gluten-free, kosher and free of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
Now David is making sure his Bloody Mary mix is of the best quality before he moves on to making a new product.
“If there is a mistake made, we learn and move forward,” David said. “I have learned more in the past three years than in my entire life. We are highly motivated and have always done what we enjoyed. It’s an outstanding journey.”
Consumers can find product reviews on georgesmixes.com.