Entrepreneur looks to add beer syrup to the craft cocktail lexicon

By Hal Conick

- Last updated on GMT

Will beer syrup become relevant in the craft cocktail world?
Will beer syrup become relevant in the craft cocktail world?

Related tags Cocktail Coffee

Craft beer is a versatile drink, with flavors spanning from light and fruity to dark and ashy. Kentucky native Russ Meredith has taken versatility a step further, concocting a way craft beer can be used in cocktails, as a meat glaze and even on top of waffles.

Meredith founded the Beer Syrup Company, a commercial producer of non-alcoholic beer syrup. These are simple syrups (an ever popular ingredient with bartenders that mix sugar and water) which use craft beer as the base ingredient instead of water.

The syrup is less than 1% alcohol, and Meredith has been testing it at a local distillery in Lexington.  

From a bartender for bartenders

Meredith told BeverageDaily that his idea for the beer syrup came from his days working as a bartender. He wanted to create his own line of simple syrups, but saw there were already hundreds of producers across the country.

“Instead of just kind of recreating wheel, I just said ‘let’s do something different’,” ​he said. 

“I had seen beer syrups used before in bars, but not very many. I’ve messed with them a bit myself, but I’ve never seen a commercial producer of beer syrup … I just started going at it.”

After trying many different kinds of beers, he settled on darker beers to get a sweet, malty flavor for his syrups. His current stable of three flavors includes pecan nut brown, mocha porter and bourbon barrel stout.

A slow start; big plans

Meredith said that he’s seen the most success when he is able to allow people to sample the beer syrup.

“When you offer a sample to someone it clicks, the light bulb goes off in their head and they say ‘Wow, that’s delicious’,”​ he said.

Meredith was at The Chicago Independent Spirits Expo last week to meet bartenders and retail managers. As someone still new to the business, he’s taking this opportunity to spread the word of a company that might seem a little strange to most at first.

“Not everybody has a fully stocked bar in their basement or at home, but I’d like to see people experimenting with it and getting more creative with creating cocktails,”​ he said.

“I’ve already had a couple restaurants in Louisville who have adopted it as an ingredient, but nobody really knows how to use it behind the bar because not a lot of bars are experimenting on their own.”

Meredith’s vision is for the beer syrup to take off in the cocktail world to help give different variations of sweetness in mixed drinks. Thus far, the favorite cocktail he’s sampled using beer syrup is a yet-unnamed mixture that includes brandy, the mocha porter syrup, cold brewed coffee and Curaçao liqueur.

“It’s an extremely versatile product and I’m really excited to see how other people like to use it,” he​ said. 

The company is in its early days, with Meredith recently launching a Kickstarter campaign​. Thus far, it has raised $663 of the $8,000 goal with about a month to go. The main goal with this campaign is to procure a UPC code, purchase materials for bottling and secure cost to create additional flavors.

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