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Meet Craig Cook and Chris Miller of Baja Bob’s Cocktail Mixes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Craig Cook and Chris Miller.

Craig and Chris, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Baja Bob and his spearfishing buddies have been partying in Baja Mexico for longer than they care to remember. Reeling in fish all day and trading stories around a campfire all night had become a lasting tradition. Delicious margaritas were a key ingredient to these perfect vacations. But as the years grew, so too did their waistlines. You see, the boys discovered they just couldn’t pack away all those sugary margaritas without putting on some serious poundage. On one particular trip that is remembered as both a breakthrough and a little embarrassing, all of the boys fessed up to being on low-carb diets.

They needed a plan, and straight tequila seemed the answer. This worked out for a while, but the boys missed their mainstay: the perfect margarita. They also missed several days of work. Angry phone calls from wives and girlfriends didn’t help either. Baja Bob, ever the trailblazer of the group, set to work. It took innumerable batches of different alternative sweeteners and a lot of taste-testing to reach perfection. He refused to compromise on flavor. But in the end, Baja Bob had invented the world’s most delicious low sugar, low carb, and low-calorie margarita mix!

It was a huge hit with all the ladies. It was way too good to keep under wraps. Baja Bob wanted guilt-free margaritas to be enjoyed by partygoers everywhere! What started with a simple band of buddies who didn’t want to give up their beloved margaritas, has turned into a luscious line of deliciously authentic cocktail mixes.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Years ago, our bottler in Oregon was raided by the ATF (Alcohol Tobacco Firearms) leaving $80,000 of our inventory stranded inside a warehouse. Apparently, the bottler was illegally producing liquor for another customer. We desperately needed that inventory and raw ingredients to survive. The bank that eventually repossessed the building began selling all of its contents, including bottling equipment and our personal inventory. We tried to convince them that some of the product in the warehouse was our property. It almost put us out of business. We had to hire an attorney in Oregon to threaten the bank that they could not sell our product. The bank offered us a two-day window to get our stuff out of there.

Chris and I flew up to Oregon and drove to the building. When we arrived, the windows were boarded up and several bullet holes were seen through the front door glass window. We were met by a property manager along with several ATF agents who trailed behind us as we looked for our stuff. The building was as large as a Costco, had no power and it was 40 degrees inside. The only light came through skylights but we still needed flashlights. A good deal of our product was stored 10′ high on industrial shelving on pallets. The forklifts were electric and so were completely dead. We had to hire someone to bring over a forklift in the snow and bring our product down to the ground. Chris and I had to move 68 pallets by hand using a manual pallet jack across the warehouse to a loading dock. We had hired three 18-wheelers to come take our product out of there. All of this while an ATF agent made sure that none of our product contained any alcohol. We were absolutely exhausted with raw hands

We’ve had several bottlers go out of business on us.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Baja Bob’s Cocktail Mixes – what should we know?
We are two Chiropractors and good friends who started this with two other friends in 1999. Because we both believed in the low-carb lifestyle, we began selling low-carb products to our patients. Eventually, we started looking for our own product to produce and sell. We tried looking into low carb bagels and muffins but that didn’t pan out. Chris had an idea for low-carb margaritas. We went to a company that developed flavors for us but Chris was the one to refine the taste into a real margarita.

Our first product was a powdered margarita mix. The minimum we could produce at this manufacturer was 17,000 packets. Gulp! We were thinking we would start with 500 packets. We all through in some money and took the plunge. Several months later, we were sold out. We knew we had a hit. Strawberry came next. We then started producing our liquid mixes in many different flavors. BevMo is now one of our best customers.

We were the very first company to manufacture a complete line of sugar-free cocktail mixes. We cater to those who still want to enjoy mixed cocktails without all the unnecessary sugar, carbs and calories. We are so proud to have created a product that lets people still enjoy a cocktail without all the guilt. We have a loyal following. There are 380,000 references to us on Google. Anybody can make a sugar free cocktail. What’s incredibly hard is to make one that tastes as good as one that contains 25 grams of sugar and 250 calories. Our margaritas are sugar free and only 10 calories.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
We are a small but growing company struggling to compete for shelf space. If it wasn’t for our two employees, Chris Marquardt and Kathy Clark, we would have had a much tougher time building our business. Of course, our wives and children have been so incredibly supportive and involved in various parts of our business. We also owe a debt of gratitude to Tom Leib and Bob O’Connell our salesmen.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.bajabobs.com
  • Phone: 760.634.5316
  • Email: craig@bajabob.com
  • Instagram: bajabobs
  • Facebook: BajaBobsSugarFreeCocktailMixes
  • Twitter: bajabobsmixes

Margarita in glass with lime isolated on white background


Image Credit:
Ian McCauley

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