The manager here back in the day had been doing this thing where he would mix up different color flavor shots in bottles for the teams in the CWS. When we took over, I said, ‘That’s kind of a pain in the rear end when you’re busy and you’re trying to mix stuff up.’ So we said, ‘Why don’t we try Jell-O shots?’ We had a little shelf in the back and we bought multicolored Jell-O shots and split them up into containers. Elizabeth wrote all the team logos and names on them and it was just kind of fun. We didn’t track it or anything.
Then when Arkansas was here three years ago, they had a bunch of guys who were buying a lot of shots. And bartenders kind of started keeping just a little tally just for them on a sheet. By the end of the tournament, they had drank like 800 Jell-O shots, which I thought was just, you know, this is just crazy.
Fast forward to three years ago when Mississippi State University came into town. That was the old format where you didn’t have anything going on Saturday and Sunday, and the championship series was played on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. So I knew a lot of these people would be coming into town, not much going on. So like, I told my wife, ‘Listen, I’m gonna take a little piece of paper. I’m gonna write a flyer up here saying there’s a Jell-O shot record out there just for fun. And it’ll say 800-some shots from the University of Arkansas.’ Well, you know, 2,000 Jell-O shots later, Mississippi State had the record.
I went out and had a plaque made up, which had the all-time Jell-O shot record for Mississippi State. I got very fortunate that the right teams came to town again and we ended up getting both Mississppi and Arkansas. Arkansas rented the party room on the first day of the tournament. And between 9am and noon, they had already drank 3,000 Jell-O shots. Shattered the record.
So then we knew we had kind of caught lightning in a bottle. Things just kind of exploded with social media. It went from people buying 2, 3 shots at a time to 10, 50, 100, 200. It was just one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen.
How did you and your team prepare for the carnage of 2023?
Last year, we just had some premade Jell-O shots that we kept on a shelf. And I only bought 2,000 for the whole series. That was gone by one o’clock in the afternoon on the first day. It was just cannibalizing the bar, because I do this to sell pizza and beer and my bartenders were just spending their whole time trying to unbox Jell-O shots and sell them to people. It was a mess…in a good way.
So this year, we decided, “Listen, we got to change a few things around.” We built a 16-foot Jell-O shot-only bar that sits across from the regular bar. Then we teamed up with a company that is actually making the Jell-O shots on site. It’s called Jevo and they’re based out of Nashville. They contacted me this summer and said they wanted to be a part of it. They flew into town with their Jell-O shot machines and a team of people. They’re staying just outside of town for the tournament. They make 7,000 Jell-O shots every day with their four machines, which make 100 Jell-O shots every 4 minutes. We haven’t run out yet. And to be real honest, it’s a much a much better tasting Jell-O shot. There was some stuff last year towards the end, and we could kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel to find what we could find.
So they just make Jell-O shots all damn day?
They’ll make Jell-O shots all night. They get out of here about three in the morning like the rest of my staff and then I’m normally here about 5am and they roll in around 7am and start the process again. We’re opened by nine and are kind of the only place down here that opens early.
How do you know the numbers are accurate?
It’s actually integrated into our computer system now. Back in the day, we’d write it on a piece of paper. But now when you go up to the shop and you order a shot, they’ll ask you specifically which one of the teams you want it to go to. And when they press the key to ring that shot up before you pay, it actually goes on to that team’s total. So it’s all on the registers.
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Inside the Great College World Series Jell-O Shot Challenge