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Daily Inspiration: Meet Corrie Scully and Renie Schoenkerman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Corrie Scully and Renie Schoenkerman. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Corrie Scully was born and raised in New Orleans. In fact, she is the 1998 Home Economics Champ of Louisiana (thank you! thank you very much). She honed her Bloody Mary making skills behind the bar at various NOLA establishments and then pursued a career in television as a producer. After more than a decade in Hollywood, she is ecstatic to now be the President of MiddleBar, where she combines her production background with her natural southern hospitality and top-notch kitchen skills to create bold and innovative dishes and drinks! Renie Schoenkerman honed her mixology skills in various cities, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, while she worked her way through graduate school in Psychology. Her interest in Positive Psychology and Happiness drives her natural creativity and embodies the ethos of MiddleBar; to help people create the kind of rituals that make life Happy. As the Chief Creative, Renie sees the MiddleBar mission to help people GATHER with loved ones, RELAX, and ENJOY some precious time here in Earth. Her interest in chemistry, both human and cocktail, allows her to concoct potions that are often much greater than the sum of their parts. Perfecting the Bloody Mary is not about a cocktail, it’s about bringing people together. Now more than ever, people need to gather, relax, and enjoy some precious time on Earth.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Throughout every stage of our business, there have been challenges. At the beginning, the Status Quo was our biggest obstacle. Companies like Mr. & Mrs. T’s had dominated the bloody mary market and saturated it with meh marys. Over time, we’ve seen other companies like Zing Zang take over, and dozens of smaller companies spring up to address the need for a better bloody. These days, Covid has been the significant challenge. In January 2020, we got our first batch of bloodies back from a manufacturer. After years of toiling, we were finally ready to grow into bars, restaurants, hotels, stadiums, airlines, and airports. And then the world shut down, and all the hotels, restaurants, bars and stadiums vanished. So, we pivoted to stores and shops around Los Angeles. We began selling our award-winning MiddleBar Mary in LA’s best liquor shops and gourmet markets. We grew from four stores at the beginning of Covid to over 200 stores in Los Angeles and the Pacific Northwest. So, in all cases, we’ve learned that challenge is part of life, obstacles bring new opportunities. As entrepreneurs, it just depends on how we adjust our sails, pivot, respond to pressure, and make changes that edge toward growth.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
MIDDLEBAR has evolved from our love of music, cooking, cocktailing, design, and hospitality. We’ve grown over the years from a food lab and blog to an underground private supper club to a couture cocktail catering service. We are proud to have launched our successful brand of boutique bar products in Farmers Markets, Gourmet Markets, Hotels, Restaurants, and Bars. In 2018, we opened our kitchen space up to the public. MiddleBar on Market St. became a local community space for artists to showcase their work. Soulful Saturdays hosted dozens of local musicians and artists on the stage, while the MiddleBar mixology team created brilliant cocktails with fermented spirits, blowing the lid off the traditional beer & wine license. Sundays were for Soulful Jazz Brunch with Parlor Social who always brought THE. BEST. in musical talent. Keyboardist Ric’key Pageot not only plays piano with Madonna and other Legends, he and his wife Dessy Di Lauro, of Cirque de Soleil, brought with them exquisite artists. On a given Sunday, you could hear Lenny Kravitz’s trumpet player, see Beyonce’s dancers tap dance, and sing, and dance in the aisles. The percussionists, and bassists, and all the guest vocalists brought a unique and distinctly MiddleBar vibe to Market St. All against the backdrop, our favorite thing: Brunch.

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
We like anything creative! Music, food, drink and art. Helping people Gather, Relax and Enjoy life is the core of MiddleBar’s ethos, and we are so happy to bring that joy to those around us. That’s what really keeps us going!

We dislike the status quo, and we believe in shaking things up 😉


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