Steve Brancheau's name might be unrecognizable to the general public, but for the lucky few who have sampled his Urban Legend brand, the name is synonymous with good old fashioned spicy Bloody Mary's.
With summer cocktail season and patio parties in full swing, the Dexter resident and his wife Kristin are celebrating the launch of their beverage, which hit the shelves of pubs and grocers across Southeast Michigan in August.
"We are ecstatic to be bringing another Michigan-made product to stores in the Dexter-Ann Arbor area," Brancheau said.
The 50-year-old salesman for Asco Numatics, said the idea of creating his own Bloody Mary spawned from years of sampling unsatisfying mixes.
"Over the past five years, we've made and sampled many versions of our recipe for friends and family at parties. Every mix we bought and tried we ended up having to add something to give it taste or make it spicier, which proved to be time consuming and expensive, not to mention the inconsistency from drink to drink," Brancheau explained. "Our goal was to find a way to creat a recipe where 99 percent of the beverage came straight out of the bottle."
Borrowing ingredients from a top secret recipe handed down through generations in Brancheau's family, Urban Legend was born.
"Our unique blend of peppers (white, red, black) creates a foundation of flavor for the garlic and other natural ingredients resulting in a bold spicy flavor that leaves its enthusiast with a great taste that lingers on the tongue," Brancheau said. "With our shake-and-pour bottle, all you have to do is add ice; it's great for camping, tailgate parties, and even barbecue marinades."
Earlier this month, the mix was featured prominently at the nuptials of Natalie Burg and Mike Vial of Howell, whose "Made in Michigan" wedding theme made headlines across the state.
"(The drink) was so good ... seriously you have to try this stuff. It's spicy and rich and delicious," Burg wrote on her blog.
The drink was also featured alongside Ugly Dog Vodka as part of a experimental BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato) vodka at the eighth annual Iron Chef competition fundraiser at Bordine Nursery in Brighton.
So far, the 32 ounce bottles of Urban Legend, which retail for $7.99-$8.99 are selling well, especially in pubs around Ann Arbor and Dexter. Recently the mix was picked up by restaurant in Dexter and is currently being reviewed by and .
"I think we have a great product, and it's nice to see folks in this area supporting local businesses," Brancheau said.
As for the name, Brancheau said it was inspired by a dream he had in the months leading up to the product's launch.
"I didn't want to venture too far off the Bloody Mary name or people would get confused what we're selling," he explained. "One night I woke up with the name in my head, and the rest is history."
There are currently no plans to add more varities to the Urban Legend lineup, however Brancheau said he is experimenting with a margarita mix and other spice combinations for drink toppers.
"Right now it's a hobby, but we're hoping to get much bigger and continue to grow the word of mouth," he said.