After watching a group of college kids sneak alcohol into a Kansas City movie theater, Cary Silverman had an idea to combine this beverage with popcorn. Silverman, senior at the University of Missouri, created Pub-Corn, the world’s first beer and cocktail flavored popcorn, in 2008.
“People said I was crazy,” Silverman said. “But what else are they going to say? If crazy is the worst they can say about me, then that’s okay.”
Pub-Corn did not sell well when initially marketed at the Hy-Vees in Missouri. But instead of conceding defeat, Silverman decided to place his product on the internet. The Web site opened in January of this year and had immediate success.
“A couple people heard about it and word spread like crazy,” Silverman said, “the rest is history.”
Though Pub-Corn features beer, Irish cream and Pina Colada flavors, the popcorn does not contain any alcoholic products. Pub-Corn is expanding their flavors with Margarita, which is scheduled to be available in May. Silverman said they are currently working on tequila, appletini, strawberry daiquiri and mojito.
Because Pub-Corn does not use alcohol the popcorn is a big hit with pregnant women.
“A lot of pregnant women are at the age where they would enjoy alcohol,” Silverman said. “We sell a lot to pregnant women who have the munchies but can’t drink.”
Though Silverman anticipates competitors, he doesn’t think they’ll be successful.
“People are going to try but they’ll never be able to do it,” Silverman said. “Others don’t have the story because they aren’t the first. People remember the first.”
Silverman told me he’d have to kill me if he told me his other entrepreneurial ideas.
“I have a nice page document, single spaced, of ideas,” Silverman said. “Some are goofy, but I like to look at it and dream about the future.”
Silverman also manages Grade Genie, a free online source for note sharing found on 27,000 colleges across the nation.
Silverman said he had a 99.9 percent chance of graduating this May and that he is really looking forward to giving Pub-Corn and Grade Genie his full attention.
“I just have to finish some Home-Ec classes,” Silverman said. “Graduating won’t be that big of a difference from now. I’ll still wake up every day and try and make my businesses bigger.”
Silverman attributes his success to his determination.
“Don’t make it more complicated than it is. Just don’t give up.”
Ten-ounce containers of Pub-Cron are available for purchase, as well as more information on the product, at www.pub-corn.com.
“A sweet flavor, but as you taste it the beer flavor comes out.”
“Irish cream tasted great.”
Natalie Pennington, graduate student in communication studies
“The beer tasted just like beer.”
“Irish cream tasted sweet, almost chocolaty.”
Kyle Pryor, senior in business management
“Irish cream was too sweet.”
“You get a real hint of the beer flavor at the end of it.”
Jacob Jensen, junior in construction science management
“I’d buy the Irish cream.”
“I don’t really like the taste of beer anyway — eww.”
Jessica Haymaker, senior in social work
“Oh my god, I never thought I’d like that, but the beer flavor tasted great.”
“Irish cream was good, but I liked the beer flavor much better.”
Melissa Prescott sophomore in english and women’s studies
“The Irish cream really didn’t taste like alcohol, more like caramel corn.”
Maddie Schuler, senior in accounting
“The beer tasted a little weird, but the aftertaste was really strong.”
Alyssa Williams, senior in graphic design