Jennie Ripps, Greenwich native and Mom of two, is the Founder and Ceo of Owl’s Brew, an amazing line of spiked sparkling teas made from fresh-brewed organic tea and whole real ingredients.
Please tell us a bit about your family and life in Greenwich (names/ages of kids, where you live, etc), what do you like to do as a family? What do you love about your neighborhood?
My family lives in Cos Cob. Juliet is 9, and Miles is 7. As a family, we love swimming, reading, and trying new foods (and beverages, of course!). Some local activities we enjoy are going to Tod’s Point, picking up books at Athena Books, and getting ice cream at Gofer.
For anyone who isn’t familiar, how would you describe Owl’s Brew?
Owl’s Brew is a female founded company that makes boozy beverages from 100% clean ingredients. Our line of spiked sparkling teas is made from fresh-brewed organic tea and whole real ingredients. I’m actually a tea sommelier and I develop every flavor in my kitchen!
Can you please share about your professional background and what led you to launch Owl’s Brew?
I fell in love with tea and botanicals by accident, more than a decade ago. I actually started my career in publishing – at the time, I was searching for something immunity-boosting and antioxidant- rich for a family member who was ill. I started blending tea and botanicals for them, but along the way, tea became – honestly – the passion of my life. I couldn’t believe I could make so much flavor – and benefit – simply by dropping leaves & flowers into water!
In 2012, my co-founder Maria & I linked up professionally. I was able to convince her that tea (fresh-brewed or spiked) could be a business! We launched a tea company together, Brew Lab, based on the belief that we could make great-tasting beverages with tea and botanicals as a base. Our clients soon included places like Sweetgreen, Quality Eats, Upland, Momofuku, Soho House and others.
While Brew Lab grew, we started hosting tea cocktail parties together, brewing up boozy teas at events. The more we steeped, spiked & poured, the more feedback we got that people wanted to drink the same way we did — delicious, and with ingredients that could be trusted.
In 2018, Brew Lab was acquired by a bigger tea company. In 2020, Maria and I launched Owl’s Brew Boozy Tea, which can now be found at places like Trader Joe’s, Target, Whole Foods, and Total Wine.
From the beginning, we’ve always believed in our motto to Drink Wise, and that everyone deserves a great-tasting beverage that’s made completely clean – and that’s why we do what we do!
Owl’s Brew is absolutely delicious, we are huge fans. Can you share what separates Owl’s Brew from anything else out there in the boozy beverage market?
Our Boozy Tea is made from all clean & real ingredients. We use fresh-brewed tea and we never use artificial flavors or natural flavors (these are made in a lab, not nature! They can actually be made from animal byproducts).
What’s next for your brand?
This fall we are launching a cozy and delicious holiday pack, trust me you will want to bring this to your holiday parties! Then we have something really exciting coming up in early 2023! Stay tuned!
What are the biggest challenges and rewards of being a female entrepreneur and what advice would you give to someone else trying to launch their own company?
Building a business can be exhilarating and challenging. A few pieces of advice: be prepared but opportunistic (ie, earn your luck!). We’ve also found great value in building a network of advisors – our mentors have played a critical role as we have navigated building a brand, a business, and a team.
What is your “mom mantra” or anything that gets you through busy times as a working mom/ how do you handle the life/work juggle with kids?
A shared family calendar is key!!
Additionally, while I don’t think there are a LOT of luxuries when it comes to owning a small business, one of them is certainly that I own my priorities. For instance, any night that my Max & I are home, pretty much without exception, we have a sit-down family dinner (even if I need to finish something up after hours!).
Anything else you’d like to share?
My co-founder Maria and I are also very proud of our women-for-women initiative, Wise Women Collective. When I went from publishing and then tea into the spirits industry, I quickly realized that women were pretty under-represented. With a little digging, we found some eye-opening statistics: while in the US, about 22% of women are in C-Suite positions, in spirits, it’s actually only 4%. Similar statistics apply to sales teams & brewmasters (so in essentially spirits/beer is 4% female and 96% male across the entire category!). Wild!
We started WWC to shine a light on other women in our industry. We also wanted to promote female voices, so we launched our “Boozy Book Club”, and we partner up with Penguin Random House authors for our monthly author interviews. We have some cause-based partnerships, as well, including Keep A Breast, and Women’s Voices for the Earth.
I’m actually SO excited to share that this autumn we are turning our best-selling ParTEA Pack pink in support of Keep A Breast. Consumers can scan the box, and we are donating $1 for every social share. You’ll find Pink ParTEA locally at retailers like Val’s on Glenville, Trader Joe’s, Stew Leonards, BevMax, Whole Foods, Palmers and others!
We love to support local businesses. What are your fave places locally to:
Grab coffee: Hyper-local – my kitchen 🙂
Go on a date night: I love The Wheel, in Stamford
Go out for a girls night: Orienta is so pretty!
Go out to dinner as a family: Elm Street Oyster House
Get your nails done: Top Nails in Riverside
Have fun as a family: The kids love SkyZone in Norwalk!