Jennie Ripps was pushing a 80-hour work week at a mega-marketing firm. And like many of the hoards of overworked Manhattanites, she decided it was time for an intern. She had no idea that the first applicant, Maria Littlefield, would become much more than an intern.
Once Maria got over the new intern nerves, she began to notice that Jennie had a keen interest in tea. She often saw her boss decompressing from the daily grind by steeping herself in research about different strains for her own homemade tea blends. Soon Maria was venturing with Jennie out on weekly tea expeditions. Lazy afternoons slowly by slowly spilled over into happy hours. It was no leap of the imagination that they should combine their passions into one boozy drink and blend their one-of-a-kind teas with afterwork libations. The first was a riff on the classic vodka-cran: a cranberry tisane with vodka. Heavy on sweet fruity notes but noticeably without the sugars of fruit juice, it was just what the two were looking for.
But they couldn’t keep their “tea-tails” to themselves. What started as a hobby expanded into a series of soirées for friends featuring their innovative infusions. But as is the case in the very small town of New York City, word travels fast. They broke onto the scene by serving the cocktails for the NYC premier of a Twilight film. Suddenly, Jennie and Maria’s tea-riffic secret was out, and they were receiving requests from big-name events – everything from NYC Fashion Week to Coachella. The demand was overwhelming, and the two said goodbye to their marketing careers and officially launched what is now Owl’s Brew. New flavors free-flowed almost as easily as vendor requests seemed to flow into their inboxes. The two recently expanded into unchartered brews yet again as they launched a canned product blending their tea with beer.
While Jennie and Maria are happier pursuing a shared passion, they readily confess that they still work long hours. Maybe it’s time for another intern.