MiVT: Butterfly Bakery
BARRE, Vt. (WCAX) - Think of your favorite bakery -- they probably have cookies and other sweet treats. And this bakery does too, but they’ve also got a little kick.
“Butterfly Bakery was just me for a lot of years, we started in 2003. In about 2015 or so we started doing hot sauces and kind of branched out from there,” explained owner Claire Georges.
While they’ve still got baked goods, this Barre business has branched into hot sauces, mustards and granolas.
In 2012, Georges noticed she was stuck in a business rut.
“My farmers market sales were kind of lagging, I need something else to sell to everyone showing up to the farmers market,” she said.
She started making other baked goods, like cakes and macaroons to sell at the market to bring her sales up -- no dice. Though, the local farmers liked her creations.
“We would trade with farmers for their leftover product. Chili peppers grow fairly well in Vermont without a lot of attention, so a lot of farmers enjoy growing them, they grow a bunch of them but there isn’t a huge market for them here. So I’d change my leftover cake for their leftover chili peppers,” said Georges.
She used them to make a few batches of hot sauce, with much success. Then, a hobby-farmer friend with lots of peppers to share stepped in.
“We ended up with 700 or 800 pounds of peppers, and so I made a whole bunch of hot sauce and sold it at the farmers market. And everybody was excited about it and people kept coming back and kept wanting more and we kept selling it so we just kind of ran with it,” Georges said.
True to their beginnings, all of the produce in these funky sauces comes from Vermont, and some include Vermont beers and spirits.
Last year, Butterfly Bakery used 55,000 pounds of peppers and the business doubled in size. So they moved to a new location, where the whole process happens under one roof with plenty of room for all 19 employees.
When WCAX News went to see the production space, the crew was in the middle of making something called Nugget Honey.
“We’ve been making a spicy honey for [a YouTube show] called ‘Hot Ones,’” said Georges.
Yep, you read that right, “Hot Ones.” It’s a YouTube sensation hosted by Sean where celebrities eat increasingly spicy wings while answering interview questions.
Butterfly Bakery co-packs hot sauces for them and “The Try Guys.”
They also make other small-batch hot sauces that aren’t Butterfly branded. It’s called co-packing, and it’s something important to Georges, keeping her business agile and sometimes helping others get off the ground. But Georges’ own business growth is evident!
“We’re going to be opening a retail store. We built the box for it when we first moved in here and now we just need to put up some shelves and a desk and put product in there. It’ll probably take a couple months before we’re ready to do that,” said Georges.
In the meantime, these sauces and other Butterfly Bakery products are available online and in local food co-ops.
Copyright 2021 WCAX. All rights reserved.