SHELTON, Conn. -- Stephania Halverson and Jessica Oen want to make one thing clear: You will not get drunk from their beer-soaked snacks.
You will, however, find the baked good wares of their Shelton-based company, The Drunk Alpaca, go well with a pint of Guinness, an IPA or any other kind of brewski.
The two bakers -- Oen, a Greenwich resident, is a self-trained baker and cake decorator while Halverson, from Seymour, is a professionally trained pastry chef -- began their company in August 2016 after realizing there was a niche for liquor in baked goods.
Beer, however, was rarely used.
So, the two, who met while working at a Whole Foods years ago, decided to create a baked goods business using locally crafted beer.
"We wanted to have a bakeshop that gave us complete creative freedom, a chance to be experimental and to do what we enjoy doing," said Oen.
They started with a brownie made with Guinness but then rethought it using a local stout. The idea expanded from there.
They now have dozens of different snack options as well as beer-infused baked goods and traditional style baked goods (think blondies, beer nuts and beer caramel corn). The beer glazed chips and the stout brownies are most popular.
Thanks to the ever-growing number of breweries in the state, comes an infinite option of new flavors. "We have seasonal flavors such as pumpkin spice and caramel apple for the fall and gingerbread and peppermint for winter which we play off of the brewery's seasonal beer flavors," said Halverson.
Folks can find their wares at their shop in Shelton at 350 Howe Avenue as well as at Half Full Brewery in Stamford, Brewport in Bridgeport, Veracious Brewing in Monroe and Fairfield Craft Ales and Two Roads Brewing in Stratford. You can also order online or via email.
The two say the key to their success is getting to know the breweries they work with and their beers. Also getting to know the farmers whose local produce, honey, etc. they use.
"This keeps us closer to the communities we're in and allows us to share more with our customers," said Oen.
In five years, they'd love to use as many beers from as many Connecticut breweries as they can. They'd also love to have a food truck and expand their bakeshop to include serving local beers, with a rotating selection featuring area breweries. (Go HERE for story on Fairfield County's fast-growing craft beer scene.)
For now, though, they're busy continuing to grow their business and happy with all they've done in just a year and change.
As for where their memorable company name comes from, Oen said they were having jalapeño margaritas trying to come up with a name and were discussing their years growing up. Since Oen is the child of alpaca farmers, they started calling themselves The Drunk Alpaca.
The name stuck.
Go to www.thedrunkalpaca.com for more details.
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