Erin Edds had drank one too many bad Bloody Marys and felt it was time someone made a good mix.
The Zionsville native felt she needed to use her culinary background to create a great Bloody Mary mix.
The 1994 Zionsville Community High School grad found her passion for cooking from her mom, Jennifer.
“My mom owned a catering company in town from the early 1980s into the 2000s,” she said. “That’s where my culinary interest stems from.”
Edds began selling items at local farmer’s markets and focused on quality of ingredients.
“We did a lot of salad dressings, and everything we made was seasonal,” she said. “We only did small batches, but nothing was shelf stable; it didn’t have a shelf life.”
Everything changed for Edds in the weeks leading up to Super Bowl XLIV, which featured the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints.
“We had gotten a request from an event planner in New York that was putting together gift baskets for the Super Bowl,” she said. “They wanted to do Indy-centric items but didn’t know what they wanted and heard about us.”
At the time, Edds was still producing items that did not have a shelf life.
“Nothing was appropriate,” she said. “I kept thinking I can’t miss this opportunity. Through a series of luck and divine intervention, I thought ‘Hey, I can do a Bloody Mary mix and can it and ship it’. The first mix was a very crude rendering of what we have now.”
Hoosier Momma has grown from a small company that had 20 accounts in 2010 to selling in seven states with more than 700 accounts.
“Two years ago, we would spend hours hand cutting and hand labeling,” Edds said. “We were going to Kinkos to print off labels. To look at that and see what it is now, it is just remarkable.”
Co-owner and Zionsville resident KC Cranfill said they have had to make a lot of adjustments along the way.
“The biggest thing we’ve had to change is our packaging,” she said. “Originally, we were selling it in the glass jars. It wasn’t helpful for restaurants because it was tougher to store and grab. We now sell a 64 ounce plastic bottle, which helps out the restaurants quite a bit because it is a bigger amount and easier to handle.”
Edds said the most important part about the business is staying true to who they are.
“We are not losing sight of what’s around the corner,” she said. “We never want to get bigger than what we can support. We could have grown a lot bigger, but we had to reel it back in and say ‘OK, here’s what we can and can’t do.’”
Edds, who also works at Harry and Izzy’s restaurant, said it is fun to serve her product.
“It’s really fun to me to be a fly on the wall,” she said. “People will order a Bloody Mary, and I’ll give them ours. They don’t make the association and say it’s the best Bloody Mary they’ve ever had. I get to be like ‘Yea, that’s my product.’ It’s a nice reminder that we are putting out a high quality product.”
Cranfill said the Bloody Mary mix can be used for more than making a cocktail.
“We cook with it all the time,” she said. “It makes great chili. It’s good for roast beef or a marinade. We use it a lot for chicken wings, too.”
As Hoosier Momma racks up great reviews and awards, Edds can’t help but consider herself extremely lucky.
“We work a lot, but we’re very lucky people,” she said. “We get some openings that just come out of the blue out of the goodness of other people. We have a lot of people rooting for us that have our backs. That is always a great thing to have.”