It began as any Sunday morning might. Two new friends met for brunch only to discover they share an affinity for a well-crafted Bloody Mary. As one Sunday flowed into the next, an idea was born. The Bloody Brunch was born.
On a personal level, Bloody Brunch co-founders Amy Kant and Sara Conrad hope to try as many Milwaukee Bloody Marys as they can through this venture, but that's not the real goal, they say. The ladies went public with their weekend events via Twitter and accrued quite the following. Today Bloody Brunch is a popular monthly Tweetup that gathers the Milwaukee Twitter community to raise money for a good cause.
"It kind of exploded without us trying," says Kant. Their first event at AJ Bombers had about 25 attendants and their second at Cafe Centraal saw nearly 40. Kant and Conrad don't charge an entry fee, but instead turned the Tweetup into a charitable event. They ask for small donations and give 100 percent of the money raised to the Blood Center of Wisconsin and The Great Lakes Hemophilia Foundation.
"For me, the Blood Center is very dear to my heart," says Kant, who has a friend who suffered complications during labor and needed six blood transfusions, all of which came from the blood center. "That's why I donate and why it's always in my mind as a charity. She wouldn't be here if it weren't for the Blood Center."
The next Bloody Brunch Tweetup is a holiday extravaganza set for Sunday, Dec. 13 at Stack'd Burger Bar, 170 S. 1st St. All who show up between 11 a.m and 2 p.m. with a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots worth at least $10 receive a free Rehorst Vodka or Gin Bloody Mary with a Buffalo Water Bison Blonde chaser. The first 25 people to bring a toy valued at $25 or more receive the Bloody Mary, a build-your-own Stack'd burger and a swag bag full of goodies donated by local businesses.
They're also hosting a silent auction in the Stack'd lounge with some impressive prizes, including a one night stay at Iron Horse, a pair of MukLuks (which are locally made), a pet portrait, massage packages and more. The event, they say, is kid friendly. Word is that Santa Claus will be making an appearance with free photo ops. DJ Ed Cetera plans to spin holiday classics and, of course, the Packers vs. Bears game is on.
"It's a real family-friendly event," Kant says. "We don't encourage people to over-drink. It's brunch."
In the future, the Bloody Brunch gang hopes to host its Tweetups at places like Branded at the Iron Horse Hotel, the Wicked Hop, the Milwaukee Ale House and, with a little prompting, Hi-Hat Garage.
"We don't really want to go to chains," says Kant. "We want to highlight local businesses and have people try Milwaukee's best Bloody Marys in the process." There are only two stipulations, she says. The bar obviously had to make Bloody Marys and the business must be on Twitter. No exceptions.
"We're trying to get Scott Johnson to get on Twitter so we can have a Tweetup at the Hi-Hat," says Sara.
Twitter is special to Kant and Conrad. It's where they first met, and it's been a powerful tool in boosting awareness for their charitable events. But, they say, you don't have to be a part of the Twitterverse to attend a Bloody Brunch Tweetup. It's open to everyone, and if you're a newcomer to the the social media site who wants to learn more, Trivera Interactive president Tom Snyder will be on hand with his laptop to show you the ropes.
OnMilwaukee.com staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.
As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When OnMilwaukee.com offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”