Jeff Roslund, Charlie Guan and Ryan Boudreau are all interested in the Keto, Low Carbohydrate Lifestyle and developed delicious alternatives to traditional high-calorie, sugar-loaded liqueurs. that they call Dapper Barons.
Their Coffee, Amaretto, Triple Sec, Creme de menthe, and Creme de Cacao have all the flavor without all the sugar.
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Stephanie Hansen 00:12
Hello, everybody, this is Stephanie Hansen. Welcome to the makers in Minnesota podcast, where we talk to cool people doing cool things. And it’s always sounds bad when I start out by saying I love liquor, but I do. I’m so inspired by the community in the Twin Cities with all the wine and the beer and the liquor makers that we have. I mean, who else makes Arby’s curly fry vodka for Christ’s sakes? Our friends at Tattersall are doing that. And today I’m talking with folks that are, I think, are looking for new innovation in this space. I’m talking with dapper barons, and it is Jeffrey Roslyn, it is Charlie Guam, and is Ryan Boudreau. And you guys are doing something that maybe I didn’t even know we needed, but it is low carb spirits. You’ve got an AMA Reto, you’ve got a coffee. There’s two other ones that are a simple syrup. And there’s one other one that I’m forgetting, but coolant decided that we needed to have low carb spirits, but it sounds like a good idea.
Jeff Roslund 01:20
Yeah, I’ll take that one. Sure. So yeah, it’s it’s really interesting. We’ve been into cocktails for a long time, the three of us. And we all started to get passionate about keto dieting, and low sugar dieting a few years ago, as well. And unfortunately, those two things do not go very well together, right?
Stephanie Hansen 01:45
The thing that is all over.
Jeff Roslund 01:49
And in the problem, the key component is that lacor. So look, cores is the key ingredient that adds the sweetness. And typically, if you look up a lot of brands, they have very high sugar contents. So we set out with the goal of providing that opportunity to enjoy classic cocktails without all the sugar. So for ours, as you mentioned, we are using different types of sweeteners. So it has the same sweetness level. But you save all the sugar. So overall concept.
Stephanie Hansen 02:24
It also has like the same viscosity to to it, which can be important in a cocktail. So for instance, your simple syrup, what a lot of people that are keto friendly people do is they’ll use like agave, or they’ll use there’s like another kind of stevia sweeteners. Well, how do you make yours have that viscosity and the taste and the texture without using all those other things?
Jeff Roslund 02:51
Yeah, that’s a that’s a great, great question that was so challenging about this, we were trying to find the right type of flavor, but the right type of mouthfeel. So in ours, we use only natural sweeteners that’s really important to emphasize. But we use different types of sugar alcohols, that’s providing a lot of the sweetness. And we do have a little bit of sugar, actual sugar in there, which comes from a very archaic definition from the TTB of what a liquor is, you do have to have a minimum level of true sugar. So we met that requirement. And then we use the sugar alcohols, that it provides a little bit of a different texture than traditional course. But it’s very, very close. And I think a lot better than other types of substitutes that people like ourselves. And so we came along, we’re trying to cobble together some form of a triple sec, let’s say or the amaretto ones like that, to try to provide that same sweetness, but it’s very difficult to do and we’re really excited to have this on the market.
Stephanie Hansen 04:03
So as keto guys like give me an example of a drink that you make with your product that you are like, Okay, this is my drink now because I’m keto guy and I’m low sugar guy and it tastes great. Yeah,
Ryan Boudreau 04:18
I would say the margarita is probably my favorite. So I’ve been making a lot of those these days, but it just swapping out like you know, typically it is going to go or another orange or if you just swap it out with with our triple sound. It makes a really good Margarita.
Stephanie Hansen 04:30
And when you swap it out your total carbohydrate intake is what with your product,
Jeff Roslund 04:36
I think what we’ve actually focused on is more the sugar intake. So
Ryan Boudreau 04:42
crystal triple stacks are like, you know, 1010 grams of sugar per serving. Yep. Um, whereas ours is you know, 1.3 grams, so that’s less sugar.
Stephanie Hansen 04:54
Yeah, significantly lower and for, you know, well, my friend Jason Matheson, you know he’s vodka soda guy. And I don’t know, I’d have to I’m gonna have to ask him this. But whether he really like who loves vodka sodas, it’s kind of a sad, empty drink, but it allows you to drink and it’s not full of all the junk. So this would give some other alternatives because you’ve got a coffee flavor to like, I’m feeling wait Russians.
Charlie Guan 05:22
Yeah, that’s a great point. I mean, I think that they’re good. The good thing about our liquids is that it offers such as simplicity, you know, so they’re oftentimes where, you know, you can make a really tasty cocktail, just using another one other ingredient, besides, you know, our liquor. So and it was a combination of those things, you know, you mentioned spirits like vodka, I mean, that’s naturally low carb and low sugar. So you combine the two together, what you have is just a very delicious drink that still meets the requirements of keto and low sugar and low carb.
Stephanie Hansen 05:52
One other thing that probably says more about me than you, but it feels like I get into these liquors kind of as the evenings progressing, right? So before I’m going to go to bed, I might have that coffee, Espresso Martini, or I might have something an AMA Reto, with coffee, and, you know, you have that just giant sugar load, right at the end of your evening. And then you go to bed and you wake up, and you’re just like, oh, so I can see this being a good alternative to those feelings to Charlie, what is your role? And then I’ll kind of go through each of you to figure out what it is that you guys are doing for the company?
Charlie Guan 06:33
Sure, yes. So I’m the CEO, and my main responsibilities are within the operational kind of, you know, supply chain and materials aspect of this. And so, you know, when we first started, it was, it was kind of easy, you know, reaching out to, you know, a bunch of packaging suppliers that I had known, you know, just working previously in industry, but what’s unique is that a lot of the materials are very unique to the beverage industry. And so it was kind of a kind of a good learning experience to know about glass, for example, and where that’s, that’s from, and, you know, cork, and, you know, kind of the supply chains behind those things. And also, as we got into the actual label, you know, kind of how that works, when it’s printed when it’s applied and all that stuff. So, yeah, so my main role is kind of making sure that we got all the stuff that that we can send over to our contract makers, and, and so they can actually have production, all the stuff ready at the right time.
Stephanie Hansen 07:38
And that’s easier said than done now, in pandemic times with supply chain issues. So Oh, yes, that’s a big job. Okay, Jeffrey, what’s your role,
Jeff Roslund 07:47
so I always feel humbled to talk about roles, but I’m the CEO. And these the formulas were ones that I started working with in my kitchen. Basically, last year, during the pandemic time, just made about 200 different batches to figure out the right combination of flavors and textures, everything we talked about, but I kind of do, do a little bit of everything. So the formulations that he said, as well as a lot of the marketing, but rely a lot on my buddies, Charlie and, and Ryan for a lot of the other aspects of the business too.
Stephanie Hansen 08:28
I Jeff, in your role before this, like you make it sound like you’re just like at home, like some mad scientist guy, like, Hey, I’m gonna just start making low carb spirits. But what was your going into this that even got you to think like, you could make 200 batches of something, wouldn’t it? Yeah, guy.
Jeff Roslund 08:46
Yeah, you know, it’s, it’s interesting. It really, I’d say came from a fortunate outcome of the pandemic. So, this, this business might not have existed, if we wouldn’t have had the flexibilities. So I was working at 3pm at the time as a marketer. But when the pandemic hit, we all started working from home. I was on furlough for a while we were forced to use vacations, and all that actually created a break from work. We actually had a baby as well, right around that time. So I was looking for hobbies that I could do at home. I was already doing a lot of cooking and just decided to try out this new concept of making the course because yeah, as we said, we we looked around in stores to say I want to find some sort of liquor option that doesn’t have all the sugar and we didn’t see anything out there. So I started making those at home and that’s an I introduced these to Charlie and Ryan and said, this is pretty interesting stuff here and they liked it as well. So probably I’m onboard.
Stephanie Hansen 10:01
So Brian, go ahead and give me your piece of the puzzle here.
Ryan Boudreau 10:06
Um, yeah, so I’m kind of having a lot some of the research part of it. So some of the stuff that we’re looking to bring to market in the, you know, in the foreseeable future, next six to 12 months, we’re looking at some some stuff in like the RTD, the ready to drink space. So that’s mainly what I’ve been working on, as well as just helping out with Charlie and Jeff and other stuff. You know,
Stephanie Hansen 10:26
I gotta, I gotta ask, because I almost think probably they’re ready to drink space as a bigger category potential for you right now, then the Spirit space. So did you have to make the spirits to get to the ready to drink part?
Ryan Boudreau 10:43
I mean, I think it was, it was the first thing that was, you know, ready to bring the market. And, you know, we had formulations done, and we had labels and everything like that. So
Jeff Roslund 10:53
can you inspired? What we did, though?
Stephanie Hansen 10:56
Yeah. Can you talk at all? And if you can’t I get it about your ready to drink category. And what you see that being like, do you see there being a X percentage carb cocktail, using the flavors that you have? I mean, yeah,
Ryan Boudreau 11:13
I think we’re looking you know, with the ready to drink space, we’d be looking at, you know, potentially even, you know, zero sugar ready to drink cocktails, because you don’t have the, you know, you don’t have that TTB regulation around sugar when you when you classify as a liquor. So it does it does for yourself to really, you know, remove all the sugar and even have a better you know, carbohydrate and calorie nutrition.
Stephanie Hansen 11:38
So, as you guys probably know this, but one of the most successful people in your space that has done ready to drink, low carb, skinny Margarita is Bethenny Frankel, the Real Housewife herself from New York City, and I think she sold her company for like, a billion dollars is, Is the goal to like prove this proof of concept and be in the space and then ultimately, to sell it? Because obviously, these liquor companies are looking for innovation, but they’re not really having the opportunity to do it themselves. So they love a situation like you’re creating,
Jeff Roslund 12:19
we’re taking it one step at a time right now.
Stephanie Hansen 12:23
You don’t want to be a billionaire, Jeff,
Jeff Roslund 12:26
someone came to our house with a billion dollars on a truck and said handed over and be pretty hard to turn down. Sure.
Ryan Boudreau 12:34
A lot of fun, you know, playing with different formulations and the three of us that were you know, we all come from non kind of, you know, Restaurant and Bar spaces. So it’s been a real learning curve for, for the three of us to kind of understand, you know, how to, you know, bring something like this to market?
Stephanie Hansen 12:53
Yeah. Who are you aligning yourself with? Or do you have any buddies that you’ve like, Okay, tell me how this works. Friends?
Jeff Roslund 13:03
Yeah, well, in terms of mentors, or, you know, people that are we’re working with, we’ve really appreciated the community within the distilling community here locally in the Twin Cities, and actually goes back to how this all started, really, when things were shut down. I just called a lot of places and said, Hey, I’d like to get into the industry. Do you have like an hour to chat, and people had a lot of time on their hands. So talking to people like Chris Montana and du Nord, Rick Schneider, at Santee spirits, met up with these people and was really generous with their time. And right now we’ve we’ve forged good relationships with our distributor, we’re working with libation projects, they’re very well connected, and we’re starting to make connections with other people around the city, such as yourself, that is really helping us learn more about the industry.
Stephanie Hansen 14:04
It’s, it’s kind of stunning, and also really heartwarming. When I think about our community, because, you know, there are people like Chris Montana, that you say, Hey, I’m coming for you. And he says, okay, great, come, let me tell you how to get here. That isn’t super. That doesn’t happen in a lot of industries. But it does happen in the food space. It happens in distilling it happens and people making hot sauces. I mean, it’s kind of crazy. You get this idea. And then you start to vet the idea. And that’s, I think, why I keep doing this program and why I have been, I mean, I’ve been podcasting with these folks, including yourself for like four years because no matter what I keep always coming back to this space because there’s so much innovation in it. And you talk about the pandemic. I’ve said this before, but right before the pandemic I was kind of feeling like maybe I would wind down the pod cast, cuz I just wasn’t really like feeling like I was getting that good feeling that I got when I would do it and like, oh is this really is anyone even listening and doesn’t even even care. And then all of a sudden the pandemic came. And nobody had a way to get their stories out at all, because everybody was just in total lockdown. And it reinvigorated my interest in why I started this in the first place, which was to help people discover new things, and people doing cool things out in the space. Because for most people, you know, we have the radio show, so we’re getting introduced to products and looking for new stories all the time. But most people are just, you know, they’re going to their total wine and spirits, and they’re buying their Cheetos that they bought forever. And until someone says, like, Hey, this is a new way to think about this, or a new way to try it or a new recipe. They don’t. So I love that you guys are bullish on this space and trying to create something that’s really not been done before. What is your backgrounds? We’ve talked a little bit Jeff about your background. Ryan, were you in sales? Or? No, I’m an engineer. Okay, so is this is all just got to feel like really foreign to you? Yeah, a lot
Ryan Boudreau 16:12
of learning has been has been going on? So
Stephanie Hansen 16:14
is it scary?
Ryan Boudreau 16:16
Um, I don’t know, it’s not scary. I actually very interesting, right, I enjoy, you know, staying up late, and, you know, making a cocktail and and reading about, or even even reading through different TTB regulations, or, you know, just being absorbed as much information as I can.
Stephanie Hansen 16:33
Yeah, how about you, Charlie? Is it is it, you know, kind of pressing new buttons in your head.
Charlie Guan 16:39
You know, it’s kind of a cool little escape, you know, so I work in, I’ve worked in supply chain, you know, within manufacturing, you know, procurement, and that sort of thing. So, the past year, year and a half, you know, has been a real challenge, as you can imagine. So, you know, this has been kind of just a fun thing, because, you know, I mean, the one thing we have all in common, the three of us is that, hey, we you know, we like to make a drink delicious cocktails, and, and so that, that is kind of the really the spirit behind it. And so it’s, it’s being able to get out and connect with people. And then also kind of, you know, just learn about that industry as a whole and, and really kind of, you know, seeing the reaction, right. And so, you know, Jeff mentioned that he spent, you know, countless hours in the kitchen and it’s, it’s really nice to kind of see the result of that and people actually saying, hey, you know, what this is, this is really good. This This actually tastes good. It holds up against, you know, some of the the tried and true products that’s been out there for years. So it’s just kind of exciting.
Stephanie Hansen 17:39
So with that forbearance, how do people find out about you currently, where are you selling?
Jeff Roslund 17:45
Yeah, we are in several stores around the Twin Cities. So the best source is to go to our website, which is low carb spirits.com. And we have a where to buy page up there. And we try to keep our other social media up to date with all that as well. So you can search yourself on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, all that stuff, look up dapper barons or low carb spirits, you’ll find us and we were officially on the shelves, which it was a quite a feat just getting to that point. I even when we had product that was in inventory ready to go, we had to find the right distributor partner. It’s our three tier system I’m sure you’re aware of. Yep. But we got that out there. And we are we’re really just starting to get into stores though. So we expect a lot more. We’re getting a lot of positive feedback. My brother in law was just at falls liquor in Minneapolis Yeah, for example and talk to the owner there and picked up some of our stuff and he said wow, this is this is really cool. We’re really excited to have this in the store. So we we love hearing stories like that and we hope that it continues
Stephanie Hansen 19:02
Yeah, I liked the product. I did I thought it was good. It tasted much better than I thought it was going to and that go knock on you know, I tasted a lot of stuff and I’m always like, Man, I really liked the packaging too. I thought it was elegant. But it wasn’t feeling like super diety you know, which for me, I’m just kind of overall that and I just, I’m doing the best I can at the cocktail bar and like to make better choices if I could, and it was easy, but if it still tasted good, because what’s the point if it doesn’t, right? So I liked all that. How who’s doing your social media? Are you guys doing it? Or did you hire someone because I gotta believe that’s gonna be a big part of this.
Charlie Guan 19:47
Yeah, we’re doing it. We’re keeping the internal for now.
Stephanie Hansen 19:51
And who is the audience? Is it keto men, or is it keto women and is it just women lifestyle peace
Jeff Roslund 20:02
What do you think? Clearly your Yeah, you
Charlie Guan 20:05
know, we want to focus, you know, obviously on the Keto community because, you know, we, we think that it’s such a strong voice. Yeah. You know, it’s it’s a strong niche. But, you know, beyond that there’s so many people who, especially recently with a pandemic, you know, have I felt become more health conscious in general. And so, you know, there are people who don’t necessarily subscribe fully to keto, but say, hey, you know what, I can use a little bit less sugar in my diet overall, especially when it comes to drinking and alcohol and everything. So really, I would say our we’re targeting anyone, you know, 21 to 60. Plus,
Stephanie Hansen 20:44
yeah. Anyone who wants to come on board? That’s 21. Yeah. All right, guys. Well, I’m gonna give you a little quiz here. And it’s not gonna be a hard quiz. But we’re coming up on the holiday season and New Year’s, so I’m going to ask each of you what your favorite drink is to make with your product. And Jeff, we’ll start with you.
Jeff Roslund 21:07
Ooh, tough, tough question. I’m going to go with the White Russian. That’s really what started all this the coffee liquor. And I think especially around this time of year, it’s a really great drink.
Stephanie Hansen 21:22
It is seasonal. Alright, Ryan, how about you?
Ryan Boudreau 21:27
Um, you know, especially around the holidays, the grasshopper is always, you know, a popular drink. So I would say that with the chuck with a crumb there cacao liquor, but I also don’t like making it we’ve got a formulation that we’re working on as far as the the piece of it goes. So
Jeff Roslund 21:46
yeah. Yeah, the mint won’t be out this year. But But yeah, you can at least save yourself to sugar on the creme de cacao half of it. And then for next year, hopefully we’ll get that mint piece out.
Stephanie Hansen 21:59
Yeah, I love it. I was gonna
Ryan Boudreau 22:01
say the revolver too, which is bourbon and coffee liqueur. And then orange bitters. Oh,
Stephanie Hansen 22:08
yum. Okay, I like that. All right, Charlie, your last to share your drink of choice.
Charlie Guan 22:15
Sure. Yeah. I would say you know, I like quite a bit of them but my favorite is probably the toasted almond especially right now as we’re approaching you know, kind of that colder season but you know what I like about that is that Ashley so it has both our amaretto and our coffee combined. And then when you put a little bit of cream in there, and it just creates such a great combination that’s really, you know, tasty and it keeps you warm and feels just really nice and cozy.
Stephanie Hansen 22:43
So holiday. I love it. Yes, they want to go to wa frost and sit up, fire and go. Yeah. Alright guys. Well, I am excited to talk to you when you’re ready to drinks are on board, come back and we’ll liven up the chat again, because I think that could be a really interesting space for you. And it’s been super fun to get to know you. Thank thank you so
Jeff Roslund 23:05
much. You bet. reshooting part of this