Charleston Mix came to be thanks to a hangover.
Founder Ryan Eleuteri was sitting around with some friends after a big night on the town. They wanted bloody marys, so he went to the store. When he couldn’t find Zing Zang, he bought a bunch of other brands.
They mixed up some drinks back at the house, but the hungover crew didn’t approve. None of the mixes were stellar. So Ryan decided to make his own.
Ryan tells a long, amazing and hilarious story about the beginning of his now incredibly successful brand - Charleston Mix. But here’s the abridged…
He mixed the original batch in his kitchen and sold it out of his car. But it was terrible (according to Ryan), and nobody wanted to reorder it. So Ryan got serious, hired a friend in the bar biz (who thought the original mix “sucked”) and they settled on the current recipe.
They started tasting people on the new mix in Total Wine. Then Ryan entered the Made in the South Awards competition put on by the Charleston-based magazine Garden and Gun (it’s a big deal if you don’t know it).
And he won for best new product in the food category. The judge for this category (who also wrote the article about Charleston Mix) was none other than celebrity chef Sean Brock.
After that, things got crazy. Ryan struggled to fill orders and the Charleston Mix name got out there. But that didn’t stop the hustle.
After years of hounding his great, white whale - Publix, Ryan finally got an order after the Publix buyer tasted his product at the Charleston Food & Wine festival. Now it’s in 1,800 Publix supermarkets around the nation (among many other stores). And Charleston Mix is the No. 5 bloody mary mix in the country.
Yes, Charleston Mix is made for vodka. But you can still make a mean, virgin bloody with some lime juice and some hot sauce.