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    Russ Meredith is a bartender, bar manager and a self-described “entrepreneur at heart.” He's the guy behind one of Louisville's newest food experiments: a local line of beer syrups from his Beer Syrup Company. The syrup comes in three flavors: bourbon barrel stout, mocha porter and pecan nut brown.

    Meredith hails from Louisville and joined the Marine Core after graduating high school (Ballard, in case you were wondering). After graduating from the University of Louisville in 2008, Meredith became involved with the local food movement: he managed a farmer’s market, served at BBC, worked at Against the Grain and began bartending at Simply Thai, where he is now bar manager.

    Meredith’s work bartending inspired him. “Being a bartender, you end up working with a lot of different products and you also end up making a lot of your own products. If you’re into the mixology portion of the job, you end up wanting to produce your own products to use behind the bar.” He first wondered if there was a local market for small batch simple syrup, but research proved that market was far larger than he’d first imagined. “So I thought, 'I’m already on the path to developing a product, what’s something else I can do?'”

    His entrepreneurial answer? Beer syrups. “I’d seen beer syrups done behind the bar, and I’d done some myself, but there wasn’t a single commercial producer of beer syrup,” Meredith explains. It took him about a year to get the product to market: Meredith took classes with the (now-closed) leadership organization Velocity.

    Meredith experimented (“Not every beer works in a syrup,” he says, “Malt-y beers are better”) and learned the ropes: “it was a long process getting FDA approved, getting the product to where the alcohol levels were below 1% so it could be served as a commercial food product instead of an alcoholic product.” How is the syrup made? “We have a trade secret,” Meredith admits, and will say no more.

    Meredith tested his product at Alltech and launched the website for The Beer Syrup Company. The Beer Syrup Company officially launched during Louisville Craft Beer Week. Meredith subsequently launched a Kickstarter for the project that fell short of goal. Currently, the Beer Syrup Company's website is not accepting orders, but you will soon be able to purchase the product online.

    Meredith’s aim in the past few months has been to present his syrup at tasting events, at The Flea Off Market and the Douglass Loop Farmers Market. “We’re on track to do our second production run, and we’re going to be getting it into retail stores. After the holidays and after the new year, we’re hopefully going to be adding an additional flavor made of beer we brew ourselves. That’s kind of the goal of the entire operation, so we can get to the point where we’re brewing the beer ourselves and we don’t have to buy kegs of other people’s beer to use.”

    Dying for a taste? Product from the Beer Syrup Company is already on the menu at a few local restaurants and bars. According to Meredith, “Louis’s the Ton does their signature old fashioned with our pecan nut brown beer syrup. 502 Café is doing pecan nut brown beer syrup-glazed wings. Four Pegs is doing a French toast with beer syrup on top, and I believe Crescent Hill Craft House is doing a pretzel monkey bread with mocha beer syrup dipping sauce…they also did a steak glazed with the bourbon barrel stout syrup.”

    Meredith uses the syrup for a myriad of things himself: cocktails, “the best” malted milkshake ever and drizzled over waffles. Why waffles and not pancakes? “They’ve got little pockets that actually hold the syrup, versus throwing it on a pancake where it goes all over the place. What a waste.” 

    You can visit the Beer Syrup Company's website here. 

    All images courtesy of the Beer Syrup Company's Facebook Page and Kickstarter. 

    Elizabeth Myers's picture

    About Elizabeth Myers

    Big fan of bacon and bourbon, deep fried anything, sweet tea and sweet nothings.

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