Sunrise Survival is the brand name of the bloody mary mix that started off as something a couple of friends whipped up to drink while playing golf.
Three West Texas farmers are branding their way across the Texas food and beverage industry with their bloody mary mix they say epitomizes the trademark taste of spice expected from our area.
Sunrise Survival is the brand name of the bloody mary mix that started off as something a couple of friends whipped up to drink while playing golf. This mix, once enjoyed by a couple of friends, has turned into a bottled brand that can now be found throughout the state in thousands of locations.
Bobby Sansom, Tyler Stanton and Roddy Huffaker are co-owners of Sunrise Survival, based in Lubbock. The men grew up together farming the fields of nearby Petersburg and Abernathy. “I’ve known them since they were born. We’ve farmed together, played golf together and now this. It’s great to be in business with people you are friends with,” Sansom said.
Sansom explained it was some time after kicking things off with his first partner until his two farming friends came on board as partners, but the beginning of the venture came about while he was playing golf with Stanton. Sansom said Stanton and he usually took their own bloody marys to play golf, but one time they ordered from a club’s bar and were not pleased with the taste. “I asked the bartender if I could make my own and she let us. Our mix was much better—even the bartender agreed and said we should sell ours. We ended up talking about it. Lots of people talk about doing things like that, but not everybody does it. We did,” Sansom said.
The friends went home with gallons of tomato juice and began making various recipes until they came up with what they felt was their best recipe and decided to test it out on a friend, Abuelo’s restaurant manager Brad Spicer. They also took some of the mix to Mamarita’s Fat Dawgs Cantina. Each restaurant bought six batches of the mix from Sansom.
“We continued taking batches to the restaurants every Monday and talked with customers for feedback to tweak our recipe. About a year later we had a taste testing at Abuelo’s and all 20 people doing the tasting chose our recipe over what was normally sold there,” Sansom said.
Sansom explained it was just after this taste test that he called National Food and Beverage in 2014 to begin producing the mix for greater distribution. The drink began to flow with 44 cases being ordered and within two months, he said, Sunrise Survival was in Spec’s wines, spirits and finer foods stores throughout Texas. The mix can currently be found in about half of the Texas giant liquor store chain, and Sansom said thousands of other locations including Market Street, United, Pinkie’s, Doc’s and other beverage stores and restaurants from El Paso to Corpus and Houston to Dallas, Austin, Tyler and more.
In addition to being the bloody mary mix chosen most to use for taste testings by what many consider the best vodka in Texas, Tito’s handmade vodka, Sansom said Sunrise Survival is also made to use for cooking. Sansom said the mix is great to use as a marinade for chicken breasts and brisket and he adds it to queso, chili and spaghetti.
“From the beginning, my first partner, Rick, and I came up with a name to use that said Texas. We ended up with Sunrise Sampler because a lot of names with Texas were already taken. The sunrise is something we think about when we think about West Texas. Our mix is more of a spicier pepper flavor—more of a West Texas flavor. We’re different—spicier than other parts of Texas—and we wanted our mix to taste like West Texas,” Sansom said.
Samplings of Sunrise Survival can often be found at taste testings in Lubbock liquor and grocery store locations. For more information, find Sunrise Survival on Facebook.
By Kim Lehman