What: Sugar-free and
low-carb drink mixes
Who: Christopher J. Miller, Craig Cook, Robert Pfeiffer, Heike Pfeiffer and Kerri Bryant, co-founders of Low Carb Living Inc.
Where: Encinitas, California
When: Started in 1999
It was the renewed popularity of the Atkins diet that inspired Christopher J. Miller and his partners to start Low Carb Living Inc. After losing weight on the program, this chiropractor realized there were few cocktail options for people on low-carb diets, as nearly everything on the market was made with sugary syrup. "When I was on the diet, I couldn't drink margaritas," says Miller, 53. But during a trip to Mexico, he and his partners started experimenting with flavor combinations and sugar replacements to come up with a low-sugar alternative to traditional margarita mixes. Baja Bob's Sugar Free and Low Carb Bar and Party Mixes was born.
Selling the mixes was a challenge at first--the company started with powdered mixes that tasted fine, but they weren't moving off the shelves as fast as their liquid competitors. "People weren't looking for [powdered versions]," Miller says. "The liquid version was more recognizable."
So they found a co-packager to make the mixes. Now the company sells a full line of drink mixes, including piña coladas, daiquiris and Bloody Marys.
The Baja Bob's line is so popular with the weight-conscious set that the makers of the Atkins diet catalog contacted them. Says Miller, "I have a stack of e-mail from people who are so grateful we've come up with this idea." And with sales of about $500,000 in 2002, that gratitude seems to be pouring in.