Finding the Right Mix

Andrew Potter

James Hanken spent plenty of years behind a bar mixing drinks. Now his product is the one that is ending up behind the bar.

Hanken started a company which makes Bloody Mary mix known as Madame Mary. It is based in the western Iowa town of Templeton and has been growing in distribution throughout the state after starting just 10 months ago.

Hanken, 28, is a 2004 Marshalltown High School graduate and the son of Doug and Kim Hanken of Marshalltown. He said he perfected his Bloody Mary recipe while tending bar during his time at the University of Northern Iowa.

"I made a good Bloody Mary mix in college and developed this recipe from scratch," Hanken said. He said the key to his recipe is using a well-balanced mix of 16 ingredients in which no flavor overpowers the others.

While the recipe and product is his, it is currently being manufactured by a third party in Kansas and stored at Hanken's warehouse in Templeton.

"Our ultimate goal is to produce it from start to finish here in Templeton, but just starting out that's hard to do," he said.

The goals don't stop there as he wants Madame Mary to continue to grow in scope and reach. "I eventually see us as a national brand," Hanken said. "But right now we want to focus on Iowa first."

He has been working with distribution companies to make that expansion happen in Iowa. The product is now on the shelves at Marshalltown Hy-Vee Wine & Spirits. Hanken will do a product demonstration and sampling event at the Marshalltown Hy-Vee from 11am to 1pm Saturday.

"This means a lot to me to be able to bring this back to my hometown," Hanken said.

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