Emily Griffen describes her background as bizarre, noting she is a former competitive Thai fighter who spent four years traveling the world competing in martial arts competitions before returning to her hometown of Grand Rapids and becoming an entrepreneur who makes bloody mary mixes.
“I moved out to California when I was 18 to go to college. When I got to Los Angeles I was looking for a different workout and I found this kickboxing class.
“The instructor was a retired fighter and she said ‘you’re really great at this, you should start competing,’ so I started fighting. I moved to Europe, then Asia and eventually returned to LA.”
After retiring from competitive fighting in early 2016, Griffen turned her attention to another passion of hers, bloody marys.
“Brewt’s (Bloody Mary) was kind of an accident. It was made in my kitchen,” she said. “It originally started not as a business idea, but because I’m a big bloody mary fan. Drinking a lot of bloody marys I realized there weren’t any healthy mixes on the market.”
She noted while bloody marys might seem like a healthier choice compared to other cocktail options, they often are filled with preservatives and sodium.
“I’ve also been a personal trainer and been involved in nutritional aspects of training for the last eight years, so I’m pretty health conscious,” Griffen said. “Drinking bloody marys, I realized every mix is filled with sodium and preservatives, and usually you could only drink one before you start to feel full and groggy.”
Griffen developed her own custom bloody mary mix and started bringing it to gatherings and making up batches whenever she had friends over. Pretty soon, word got out about her tasty concoction.
“The Wine, Beer and Food Festival (held every fall at DeVos Place) caught wind of it and they contacted me and said they’d love to have me. They didn’t have anything like…