How A BadWolf Helped A Bakery


The original raspberry wit and porter cupcakes.

This past weekend BadWolf Brewing Company closed its doors to their larger brewery location on Kao Circle. The news had broke a couple of weeks prior to this that this was going to happen. When the news broke I felt somewhat cradled by the fact that their original location on Center Street in Manassas was remaining open. It was the pillow to lay my head upon in comfort of the impending closure.

I realized the first night that the news came through just how much I had fallen in love with the Kao Circle location. I reflected on why my heart literally was aching in repeating the fact it was closing. Then there was a moment of clarity as to why there was heartache. It is because of the amount of admiration and respect I have for the whole BadWolf family. Especially Sarah and Jeremy.

Back in 2014 I was struggling with a lot. I felt I was an octopus and each one of my tentacles was being pulled into a different direction where ever I went and whatever I did. Nothing was coming up right; especially when it came to how I felt as a mother and a wife and a daughter. For those that have known me since I was a teenager or even in my early 20's would say "That's not the Beth I knew" and it wasn't in a good way. More of a "Oh bless her heart she's just trying" but said with a lot of sarcasm in their voice. I'd get through my workday then go home and stumble through being a mom and if I could muster it try being a friend and wife too. The worst part of that time was I recognized and knew what I wanted to do and it was fear and dread that kept stopping me dead in my tracks. Rinse. Repeat. Each day.

Until there was BadWolf and a blog.

As I would rinse and repeat my days I still had my dream of baking. I already had been baking for friends and family and others at request and it was something I could never quite get away from. It was definitely something I didn't want to get away from either. I enjoyed it. It made me happy. But when one of your eight tentacles is at work and you are constantly told you just aren't cutting it by one boss but another boss says you are doing an amazing job (ok so that's two tentacles being pulled), and then another tentacle is pulled at home by two kids (yeah that is one tentacle that gets split open) because you can't tie skates and read a bedtime story at the same time, then you have another tentacle of trying to meet the expectations of others all while you are trying to use another tentacle to wipe your brow, and then another tentacle is maintaining the house while the other one is figuring out what has to be done next - exhausted yet? So how could I even consider turning the baking into a business. I knew nothing of starting a business! Who does that without full on financial assistance or hundreds of thousands in savings and mentors and like three master degrees in business in hand?

BadWolf did. And they talked about it. And they were honest about it. They were honest about their education and their professors that helped them. They were honest about the mentors and lessons they were learning. They were open to talking to everyone it seemed. They were passionate about gathering others in similar causes. And by reading all this in their blog I began to take one of my eight tentacles back.

I took that tentacle back; put a middle finger on it and placed it upon my lips as I shhh-ed every negative thought I began to have on why I couldn't try to start my own baking business. I was a secret fan of BadWolf before even meeting BadWolf and before their doors were open. At this stage of the game it wasn't even about the beer. It was about their inspiration and my admiration for what they were doing.

Then their doors opened and we had the beer and we've been hooked ever since. Bonus!

I found it fitting in those first few months that BadWolf was the brewery I constantly meandered into to get more beer to try in baking recipes. And did I let on to Jeremy and Sarah my "fandom" over their enterprise? No. I kept quiet and kept my head down being selfish in trying to start a baking business. On August 10, 2014 though; I sneaked in a present, a secret thank you that they may never have known until now. I took them a set of BadWolf cupcakes - Raspberry Wit and some Porter Cupcakes. I know I put a "Thank You" note on them; but not explaining nearly what I am here.

In the beginning all I wanted to do was prove to myself that I could bake something unique and something good that did justice to the ingredients I was using. Instead of jumping straight into a business I began entering baking competitions and then winning at baking competitions. I would do sampling events; but not try selling.

Then finally, a year later - Kao Circle opened. And with that I realized it was time to step up my game too. It was time to take action and find mentors and learn about business plans and make baking "a thing" as my daughter so casually put it.

The thing was; BadWolf was still there at Kao Circle. Right around the corner to run and get new beers to try. I was learning more about the employees. I was interacting with society. And I was growing more confident in what I was doing. It took another year; but then came The Shameless Bakery. Appropriately so, two of the "flagship" beer cupcakes I launched with were from BadWolf - our Pucker Up! Cupcake with their Mother Pucker Raspberry Wit and our Impossible Cupcake with their Clara's Vanilla Porter.

And BadWolf has always lent their support. It has been an amazing journey to watch BadWolf grow and now pivot and grow in a new direction. I had a brief opportunity to speak with Sarah over this last weekend and I was only able to express my humbleness to her so very briefly. And also express my respect and admiration for all they do. Her, Jeremy, Melissa, Lisa, Alex, Alex, Austin, Mark, Adrian, Gabby, and so on, and so on - ALL of BadWolf.

But I let Sarah know - a very special thank you for what her and Jeremy started. Not just the awesome beers; but the inspiration they spread with what they do.

So no more tears. Time to get those growlers over to BadWolf's Center Street location. There are still plenty of good times ahead! And plenty of beer!

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