Q&A with Barbecue Wife

Barbecue Wife

We recently hosted a Pop-Up Pitch Room Competition in Austin, TX where five Austin based small business owners had the opportunity to give a two minute business pitch for a chance to win a $10,000 grant, a year of extended mentorship from Samuel Adams, and a media package from Foursquare.

Catherine Stiles of Barbecue Wife Bloody Mary Mix not only won over the judges with her pitch, but she also took home the $5,000 People’s Choice Award – which was voted on by drinkers via Facebook Live.

We caught up with Catherine post competition to ask her what inspires her business and to give us her insider secrets for concocting the perfect bloody mary.

What was the inspiration behind Barbecue Wife Bloody Mary Mix?

My husband opened a craft style barbecue joint here in Austin back in 2011 called Stiles Switch BBQ. If you know anything about craft BBQ, you know that there are no automated processes involved. There’s a pit master tending to those fires 24 hours a day, 6 days a week – we don’t cut corners, everything from the cuts of meat to how they cook it is hand crafted with the best ingredients.

This integrity for ingredients and cooking process carried over into my bloody mary mix. I had been a big bloody mary fan before this started, and this gave me an opportunity to marry two passions that had converged in my life.

What makes your bloody mary mix special?

The biggest thing for me is that my mix is “junk free” – we have high integrity for the ingredients we use. It’s not the cheapest way to make it, and it won’t be the cheapest option on the shelf, but we make it by hand and we take a lot of time to taste test every batch.

I would also say that it is more than a bloody mary mix – it’s called Barbecue Wife for a reason. We celebrate the barbecue community, especially the women who are oftentimes in the background who are at home taking care of the family or running the business behind the scenes while their husbands serve as the face of the business. We started as a bloody mary mix, but we have a lot more in the works as a lifestyle brand.

What is the recipe for your dream bloody mary?

My favorite bloody mary is 3oz of my mix, 1.5oz of premium vodka (never use cheap vodka – there’s no room for that), and smoked meats as my garnishes. I don’t believe in the overdone bloody mary with a pizza or burger hanging off it – it’s not my style. I do an extra squeeze of lime, celery, and a sausage and cheese skewer or a rib as a swizzle stick. 

What was the Pitch Room Competition like for you, and how will you use the grants to support your business?

It was a great experience. I got a lot of valuable feedback from the judges and it was great to get validation on how I talk about my business.

The grants from the Pitch Room Competition will allow us to increase our points of distribution into other markets like Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas. It will also allow us to get product demo teams to do beverage samplings in those new markets.

What advice do you have for emerging entrepreneurs?

I would say keep moving forward. You’re not going to wake up excited every day to fight every battle that comes your way as an entrepreneur, but every day is a new day, so wake up with a smile on your face and think about what opportunities there are out there and tackle them – you never know where they will lead.

Want to learn more about Barbecue Wife Bloody Mary Mix? Check out their website.

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