More than one way to enter the drinks industry

Veronica Stover with her new Copperhead Bloody Mary Mix that won first place in the Recipe Challenge at the West Virginia State Fair.
Veronica Stover with her Copperhead Bloody Mary Mix that won first place in the Recipe Challenge at the 2013 West Virginia State Fair. It’s now making its way to liquor stores.

We sometimes forget that there is more than one way for a small, local business to enter the drinks industry. You don’t have to produce an alcoholic beverage; you don’t have to own a bar or liquor store. You can make something else the drinks industry needs.

That’s just what Appalachian Mountain Specialty Foods of Spencer, WV, did with its Copperhead Bloody Mary Mix.

If the response at a recent liquor trade show is any indicator, this Bloody Mary Mix will be finding its way onto many retailer’s shelves and soon.

Veronica Stover, who along with her spouse Greg own and operate Appalachian Mountain Specialty Foods, has long been a fan of Bloody Marys.

“I’d tried several brands of Bloody Mary mixes and found that I was always having to add something to them,” said Veronica. “I wanted one that had more of a bite to it.”

Little did she know that the bite she wanted would lead to not only a new product but also to the product’s name.

Copperhead Bloody Marys
Copperhead Bloody Marys mixed and ready to drink. Photo: courtesy of Appalachian Mountain Specialty Foods

A couple of summers ago, they succeeded in putting together a list of Bloody Mary mix ingredients with enough zip to finally satisfy Veronica. Greg Stover, who is in charge of formulating new products for the company, says they were trying to get the new product finished so they could enter it in the Recipe Challenge at that year’s West Virginia State Fair. To do this, they also needed a product name. They wanted a name that related to West Virginia.

One bite is all it takes

Around that time, they were hearing numerous reports of copperhead sightings around their area. Then Veronica’s son was bitten by one.

Greg said to Veronica, “You always wanted something that has a good strong bite. Well. it’s copperhead.”

And that’s how they came up with the name for Copperhead Bloody Mary Mix. Her son recovered from the bite, and they entered their recipe in the Recipe Challenge. It won first place. Since then, everybody wants to try their Copperhead Bloody Mary Mix.

Drinks Industry response encouraging

This week, with Blue Ribbon in hand, they took their mix to the WV Alcohol Beverage Administration Trade Show in Charleston and sampled it with liquor store buyers and managers from across the state. The response was tremendous.

It seemed like the words out of everyone’s mouths were, “Oh, that’s good.” They really enjoyed that Copperhead’s bite.

Appalachian Mountain Specialty Foods certainly has a winner here.

Company best known for salad dressing

While this is the company’s first foray into the drinks industry, they’ve been producing tantalizing cooking sauces, glazes, and salad dressings for many years. They are best known for their Old Fashioned Wilted Lettuce Salad Dressing, which has become a staple at Tamarack and specialty food retailers around the region.

Appalachian Mountain products can also be ordered through their website store.

The Stovers stay active in their community, and you will find them and their wares at the upcoming West Virginia Black Walnut Festival, October 7 to 11, in Spencer. Stop in and say hello.

You don’t have to get snake bit to enjoy a Copperhead Bloody Mary.


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