What It's About
A brewmaster experiments and brews success with his sweet syrups.
Words of Wisdom
Dillon recommends establishing pillars or values for your business. This will help you to remember your “Why”. For Side Hustle Syrups, his pillars include integrity, quality of product, community, and freedom. Whenever he feels the integrity is off, he goes back to his values and takes the necessary steps to restore it.
Simple syrup is 1 part sugar to 1 part water and is a staple in making cocktails. Dillon uses this base to create his own magical variations.
Notes from Chris
Episode 1040Dillon Hueser was a full-time brewmaster at a Spokane, Washington brewery for many years. He also enjoyed making his own beer on the side and joined a homebrew club known as W.O.R.T or Warriors of the Rotating Tap in his spare time. When he wasn’t working on new concoctions and recipes, he spent his time hanging out at Dry Fly Distillery next door. He became friends with the team and chatted with them often about all things brewing. When it was time for Dry Fly to expand their operations and open a tasting room, they decided they wanted a house ginger beer. Ginger beer is a non-alcoholic beverage made by fermenting ginger, yeast, and sugar. Dillon jumped on the opportunity and began testing out different flavors and ratios. He enjoyed the process, but hauling around large kegs to and from the distillery was exhausting. This got him thinking … what if he could make something that had the flavor of ginger beer but without the weight or time commitment of brewing it? So he began to experiment further, and came up with a recipe for making a craft syrup that could be used in cocktails or mixed with soda water. He started with a syrup composed of fresh ginger root, lemon juice, lime juice, and brown sugar. Instead of carrying around kegs of finished product, you just needed to add an ounce of syrup to four ounces of soda water. The Dry Fly Distilling team was impressed with Dillon’s creation. They encouraged him to take it to the next level by making it in larger quantities. This required a lot of work and research, but Dillon was up for it. He learned that in order to sell perishable items, he would need to purchase certifications required by the Washington Department of Agriculture. Each certification took about five weeks to complete between studying and testing. For the next year, he worked on them periodically, all while continuing to perfect his recipe. The hard work paid off, and the certifications allowed Dillon to improve the quality and integrity of his syrups. Side Hustle Syrups (yes, that’s the name) was officially in business. Eager to get the word out, he began cold calling, doing demos, and approaching stores directly. He would bring samples of his product and ask to set up a demo. As a result of his persistence, he’s been able to build solid relationships …. which in turn has increased his distribution. Throughout the process, the folks at Dry Fly Distillery have continued to support him. They’ve used his products in some of their drinks, and they’ve just teamed up to produce a new canned cocktail featuring the syrups. Finally, since finalizing his certifications, Dillon has expanded the flavors of his syrups to include tonic, orange vanilla, elderflower, and lemon lavender. He’s also moving beyond cocktails, seeing a market for the syrups to be used as tea and coffee flavoring, dessert toppings, and in baked goods.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Side Hustle Syrups: Learn more about Dillon's sweet syrups at his website.
- Homemade Gin Kit Sells 75,000 Units: After encountering a roadblock trying to start their own distillery, two friends create a side hustle that allows others to make gin in the comfort of their own home—and it's a huge success!
- Soda-licious! Nike Manager Creates Fruit-Infused Balsamic Beverages: When he can’t find a non-alcoholic beverage worthy of greatness, this Nike manager learns to create, package, and sell his own line of fruit-infused balsamic sodas.
- Polish Bartender Makes Money While Drinking Beer: After being frustrated when setting up a bar for Virgin Atlantic, a Polish bartender living in the U.K. sets up an online shop to sell cocktail equipment.
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