Fun breeds success, according to entrepreneur and perennial most-winning Radical driver Alan Miller.
There’s an old adage that is equally applied in business as it is in racing — “It’s only fun if you win.” Blue Marble Premium Cocktail’s founder and CEO Alan Miller believes a better mindset is “having fun breeds success,” and it’s clear whether he’s on or off the track Miller’s approach has led to a lot of winning.
Growing up in the Indianapolis area, motorsports and competition were in his blood; however, it wasn’t always the four-wheel kind. Miller began his need for speed in wind surfing but soon switched to jet skiing, and being a man “always looking to win,” Miller raced the latter for nearly 20 years with the last six seasons traveling the world competing at the pro level.
“I loved the water and I loved the competition, but most of all I loved the experience and lifelong friends I made along the way,” explains Miller. “Whether it was a race in the U.S., Thailand or South America I was constantly striving to be the best. When I retired from jet-ski racing (runabout division) I was the Pro national champion, had finished second in the world, and collected numerous titles along the way.”
“It was such a great chapter in my life, but I was looking for something less prone to accidents and easier on my body, something equally fun,” Miller continues. “One of my business associates was a member at Spring Mountain (Motor Resort and Country Club, near Las Vegas) and asked me for years to come and see what it was all about. I finally visited the track with him and two corners into a ride along in a Radical, I was hooked and all in.”
Shortly after his initial passenger ride experience in the Radical, Miller began his four-wheel racing career with the purchase of a used car and undertaking instruction at Spring Mountain’s Radical Racing School. Since then, Miller has purchased six Radicals in total.
“I started racing at Spring Mountain in 2013. There was a huge rookie class in 2014, where I managed to win the Rookie championship,” he relates. “From then on, I have won several club series events at the track including multiple titles.”
“I really got into the off-track side of Radical racing. While the competition was great on the track, it was a different vibe off the track than any other form of car racing that I’d seen. It wasn’t about seeing your fellow drivers as foes. It reminded me of jet ski racing, so I really encouraged it. Let’s face it, a lot of a race weekend is spent off the track. I wanted to make the down time fun and relaxing, and that’s what we did. We threw parties, grilled out, and had a great time.”
The “release” was important to Miller, who off the track was consumed with work having built several companies including the world’s most successful dental soft tissue laser – AMD Lasers (Alan Miller Designed). Miller had sold his laser company to the world’s largest dental company, bought it back in 2014, and sold it again in 2018. After nearly 30 years in the medical and dental fields, Miller looked for a new challenge and started Blue Marble Cocktails, a “better for you” all-natural premium line of ready-to-drink cocktails with his wife Danyelle.
“Danyelle and I knew nothing about the beverage industry, so we had a clean-sheet approach,” he says. “Our Blue Marble brand and cocktails were well received by the industry and even won ‘World’s Best RTD’ (Ready to Drink). You could find our beverages in over 40 states and in places like Disney resorts and cruise ships. The most difficult part of the business was finding a co-packer to make our products for us. After I received so many rejections I said, ‘Screw it, I will build my own factory’ and Blue Marble Productions was born. We now operate in a 425,000 square-foot facility in Indianapolis and co-pack for some of the largest companies in the world.
“What started as ‘we just want to make some awesome cocktails’ has turned into ‘we make awesome alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for lots of companies.’ I couldn’t be more proud of what we have built. I am living proof that at any age you can learn, build, and be successful if you just have the right amount of determination — something I would say also applies to racing.”
“And there’s no doubt having a competitive passion away from work hones the business mind,” adds Miller. “Racing trains you to be hungry, to chase the next target down, to push and exceed yourself, and hopefully those around you.”
After realizing his “escape” was more important than ever, and with his racing reaching national competition Miller saw an opportunity to combine his two worlds by promoting the brand through naming rights sponsorship of the Radical Cup North America series.
“I met Tom Drewer (Radical’s global motorsport director) in 2018, and we have become great friends. We share the same vision and passion for motorsports so stepping up to the plate to help promote the series was something that was a no-brainer for me. The off-track atmosphere has grown because of Tom’s drive to make racing fun and that is something that I really enjoy. It brings racers, crews, and families together, creates great memories, and friendships, and ultimately makes for safer racing.”
Aside from becoming the most winning driver in Blue Marble Radical Cup North America history — with three North American class championships including two back-to-back in the Pro 1500 (SR3) and Platinum (SR10) classes in 2020 and 2021 as well as two outright series titles (2018, 2020) — by competing in the program Miller has gained life-long friends in drivers, series reps, and event driver coaches as well as some important business-to-business relationships. Putting in additional money from his own pocket to help better the series, Miller’s involvement has aided in bigger prize packages, premium trophies, and the continued off-track vibe courtesy of the Blue Marble Welcome Party each and every race weekend.
“I just want to continue to grow the series. I paid for all new custom drivers’ flags this year, along with the sponsorship, and some banners to make the show even bigger,” Miller says. “I support the series to in turn support the teams and racers that spend days on the road away from families.”
“We only race a few hours a day so when I got with Tom, I wanted to see what we could do with the rest of the day’s hours. Parties, social gatherings, podium girls, and get-togethers are what we came up with and I want to grow that even more in 2023 and that is why Blue Marble is returning as the sponsor for another season.”
The Radical Cup is not the only form of motorsports that Blue Marble supports. With a logo on his nephew’s USF Pro 2000 machine, Alan Miller is a big part of Jack William Miller’s climb up the ladder in open wheel in his attempt to be a second-generation driver in the NTT IndyCar Series. Blue Marble also supports the Spring Mountain local series and 2023 will be the fifth season of support in Radical Cup North America.
Back to the business side, Alan lives and breathes work 24 hours a day, seven days week, and it spills over to the racetrack where a number of successful Blue Marble business relationships have been fostered.
“The racing allows me to focus on business while having complete fun,” he explains. “The cool thing about Radical Cup is that there are a lot of very successful entrepreneurs in the paddock and with my Blue Marble sponsorship it allows me the opportunity to pick the brains of talented people. Hanging out with successful people while racing against them is truly rewarding and unique.”
Of course, with racing also comes risk, as the 57-year-old Miller experienced that earlier this year with a massive crash at Watkins Glen sidelining him.
“I raced for 37 years without a serious accident, so Watkins Glen was a big wake-up call. I was in two different ERs but never remembered anything. While I didn’t have any broken bones, I had a major concussion and no clue what was going on. A fellow Spring Mountain member and another long-time Radical driver, Dr. Alain Derzie, provided me with huge support to make sure I got the help I needed. I flew to Indy for one week and stayed in a room with no lights, no phone, no TV or a computer. The worst part was ringing in the ears for nearly five weeks and then one day it just stopped. Lots of headaches, fatigue, and foggy experiences but, going through all of this, I had support from the paddock — and of course my wife, who took great care of me.”
Thoughts of stopping his racing career ran through his mind, but so did the thoughts of “missing out on the fun and not being able to get the competitive juices flowing.” So, after four months out of the car, Miller attempted to drive again at Spring Mountain.
“Everyone was so encouraging, but I was scared beyond belief,” and he only qualified fifth against drivers he had previously beat.
“Then the green flag flew for race one and it flipped a switch and I wanted to be a driver again. I contemplated many times to go to the track as a spectator but that is not me — I get anxious. I’m competitive — I am a racer, not a spectator.”