Fried-food enthusiasts journeying to the State Fair of Texas this month will feel less guilty about one of their dining decisions if they purchase SlimRitas margarita mix at the fair’s general store. SlimRitas, created by Houston resident Lucy Corona ’88, features fresh fruit juices and natural sweeteners and weighs in at only 100 calories per serving with tequila.
Losing the Baby Fat
Corona’s quest to develop SlimRitas was driven by her own effort to lose the baby weight from her three pregnancies. “We had three babies in a period of 40 months,” said Corona, a marketing graduate from Texas A&M. “So finally when the last one was born, I started to try to lose my baby weight.”
Her efforts weren’t as fruitful as she had hoped. “Usually, if I tried, I could see some difference, but this time I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t losing weight,” Corona said. She was in shock when she discovered the culprit was none other than her favorite date-night drink, the margarita. Each of her Friday-night margaritas contained between 600 and 800 calories. “Add that up and I was negating all the running or walking I was doing during the week,” she said.
Not willing to give up her weekend libations, Corona tried to find a low-calorie margarita mix at the liquor store and online. After disappointing taste tests, she decided to create her own recipe. “I had to teach myself everything,” she said. “I knew nothing about food manufacturing or food science. I didn’t even cook very much.”
A Burgeoning Business
Collaborating with Texas A&M University System AgriLIFE Extension’s Dr. Al Wagner and other food scientists, Corona spent more than three years developing SlimRitas. Her final formula had only 10 calories per serving without the tequila. “My goal was to get the mix as low calorie as possible without sacrificing great taste,” she said.
Since being introduced at The Houstonian Resort Hotel on Labor Day 2010, SlimRitas sales have seen continuous growth. The product, which has won four gourmet awards, is now being sold in 650 gift shops across the country and Nordstrom Cafe locations. SlimRitas is also served in numerous restaurants and resorts.
The Slim line has expanded with Corona’s success and now includes six gourmet glass rimmers and a Slim jalapeno rita, Slim strawberry rita, SlimBerry, SlimOnade and SlimTea. Her partnership with Rebecca Creek Distillery Aggies Randall Roessler ’84, John Morrow ’84 and Steve Ryan to sponsor tailgates at the 2012 Texas A&M football games allows them to co-market each other’s products. Corona also is working with Rebecca Creek Distillery to develop an Aggie-wrapped Holiday Gift Pack, which will be offered at the College Station Spec’s. A portion of the proceeds will be used to fund Texas A&M scholarships.
Corona views this collaboration as a growing part of her business model. “I’ve been fortunate to be able to forge strong ties with the guys at Rebecca Creek Distillery,” she said. “We’ve been able to work together to not only market our products, but also to grow our respective businesses in the past few months. We provide each other with feedback about the industry and serve as each other’s biggest fans. These relationships just reinforce for me
the special bond that Aggies have for each other. “
By Dorian Martin
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