furniture

Bouquet of Beer

Bouquet of BeerBouquet of Beer is blossoming in Bend

Creators Daniel and Amy Brewster share entrepreneurial story

With St. Patrick’s Day arriving this week and the need to raise a pint for Irish merrymaking, Bouquet of Beer is just in time to deliver a special Guinness Beer Bouquet, complete with green shamrocks, to a favorite person’s doorstep or office.

Bouquet of Beer is the brainchild of Daniel and Amy Brewster, of Bend, who launched the business last Father’s Day.

“It all started because Amy was having a hard week at work, so I bought her a bouquet of flowers,” Daniel Brewster said. “Later that weekend, she bought me some beer from the store, and she said to me, ‘It’s sort of like a bouquet of beer for you.’”

Within 15 minutes, the couple looked online to see if someone owned the “bouquet of beer” domain name. It was available, so they bought the domain name and started on a quest to deliver something they thought would go over well in beer-crazed Bend.

The couple’s beer intuition was correct. There is indeed a market for bouquets of beer — and lots of them.

If you have a hard time imagining their company concept, think Teleflora or FTD floral delivery companies, but instead of flowers, you get an ice-cold bouquet of beer delivered to your home or office.

Daniel Brewster said his first line of attack for the new company was building a prototype cardboard box, shaped like a bouquet.

“With some cardboard and a lot of duct tape, I made the first one,” said Daniel Brewster, 34, as he put together the more refined box that requires no duct tape. “I sent it to a box manufacturer in Washington, and they produce it there and ship it here. We’re getting a copyright on it and hope to have our name trademarked soon.”

The octagonal box holds six craft beers and either a pint glass, Silipint or Hydro Flask pint in the middle.

If you go to the website bouquetofbeer.com, you will find more than 35 craft beers to create your own bouquet. The couple likes to use local beers in 12-ounce bottles or cans, but the criteria are the beers must be excellent in taste, no matter where they’re made.

A good Belgian beer is offered; there also are craft beers from California and Colorado. The Brewsters confess to testing all the beers offered in their bouquets.

As part of their beer taste testing, Amy Brewster also incorporates beer in many home recipes to add another level of complexity in her cooking.

In the couple’s cozy Bend kitchen, Amy Brewster braised her short ribs in spiced winter ale with pearl onions. However, the Brewster family dinner wouldn’t be complete without the chocolate ice cream made with Worthy Brewery’s vanilla cream stout.

The couple’s 4-year-old son, Jackson, was the helpful sous chef. He tested the chocolate ice cream for quality control.

Before dinner was served, Jackson also helped his mom glaze the short ribs by using an au jus made with craft beer.

Suffice to say, beer has become a part of the Brewster family’s everyday life.

The business is not even a year old, but already the couple is finding its popularity is growing beyond Bend.

“We’re looking at expanding our delivery boundaries and perhaps delivering throughout the state, using UPS shipping,” Daniel Brewster said.

He is also the founder and owner of another local business, Cascade Couriers, a delivery service using a bicycle with an attached trailer. He starts his day making deliveries very early in the morning and then has time in the afternoon to fill bouquet orders. In the evening, he either delivers the bouquets of beer by bicycle or with the new company van.

Valentine’s Day was a red-letter day for the company. Several bouquets were delivered all over the city.

“Our price point ranges from $39.99 to $59.99, depending on what type of glass, Silipint or Hydro Flask, you want in the middle of the bouquet, and the delivery is included in the price,” Daniel Brewster said. “It’s a great gift to give a guy, because most guys don’t want flowers, and actually it costs a lot less than a dozen long-stem roses, too. But you can give a bouquet of beer to women, too.”

The beer is always delivered ice cold. The recipients of these bouquets are usually very surprised and tickled at the unique bouquet.

“Over Valentine’s, we delivered a lot of these bouquets to businesses,” Amy Brewster said. “But of course, since they’re at work, they don’t usually start drinking their bouquet right away.”

The couple think their bouquets have the potential for broad market appeal. They also offer hard ciders and gluten-free beer upon request.

The Brewsters hope they can make waves in the way beer is delivered. They acknowledge launching a small business is tough, but launching a niche company is even tougher.

— Reporter: halpen1@aol.com

Q&A with Amy and Daniel Brewster

Q: What are the three ingredients you’ll always find in your home kitchen cabinet or refrigerator?

A: Amy: We’ll always have homemade jam — my favorite is rhubarb with vanilla and Earl Grey — and a variety of dried beans. They take a bit of planning ahead but are miles beyond canned beans in flavor and texture, are economical and super versatile.

A: Daniel: Beer, of course!

Q: Favorite home meal you like to prepare?

A: Amy: On most weeknights we strive for a balance of relatively quick, healthy, whole foods. We’re partial to any and all roasted vegetables this time of year, quick sautes, stir-frys, tacos, fajitas or pasta dishes. I love to celebrate the weekend with our kiddo by making pancakes or waffles together.

A: Daniel: Amy is a fantastic cook, but truthfully, I could live off of bread and olive oil.

Q: What is your favorite home appliance?

A: Amy: My favorite appliance is my Kitchen Aid. It belonged to my mother. It’s not new or fancy, but it’s a workhorse — so reliable and durable. Once it fell off our counter while I was mixing dough, and it kept right on going. Plus, we have the ice cream attachment, and few things in life can’t be improved with homemade ice cream.

Q: What is your favorite hand tool in the kitchen?

A: Amy: Basic silicone spatulas for their versatility.

Q: Is there an appliance you disdain having in your kitchen?

A: Amy: Well, we used to disdain our microwave, so we got rid of it. Seriously, we rarely used it and it took up way too much valuable counter real estate. Now when we need to reheat leftovers, we just toss them in a skillet, and it’s still pretty quick and easy.

Q: What chefs do you admire most?

A: Amy: I don’t have a list of chefs, but if I did, Julia Child would be on top, followed closely by Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen fame. I admire that she’s self-taught, obsessive about recipe development and writes with humor, wit and sincerity.

Q: What restaurants do you enjoy?

A: Amy: We’re in love with Spork, and we live dangerously close. It’s our go-to for takeout on busy evenings. We have a 4-year-old, so we typically find ourselves at casual, laid-back locales such as Jackson’s Corner or one of the brewpubs.

Daniel: On the rare occasion that we find ourselves with a baby sitter and an extra $100, we’ll eat at Kanpai.

Q: Do you have a favorite cooking memory? Or a favorite memorable meal you prepared?

A: Amy: I have the best memories of whirlwind Christmas baking sessions with my mom, aunts and cousins. It was such a wonderful holiday tradition.

A: Daniel: Amy and I met working in Glacier National Park. The food served at the employee cafeteria was mediocre at best, so we would make our own dinners in our dorm room. Usually grilled cheese and avocado on our cheap sandwich press.

Q: Favorite room you like to eat your meals in?

A: Amy and Daniel: At our kitchen table.

Q: Does your family have a regular dinner or meal together?

A: Amy: We sit down for dinner together nearly every night. It’s just our routine. We all have very different daytime schedules, so reconnecting at the end of our work/school days is invaluable.

Q: Best meal you’ve ever eaten in your life?

A: Amy: One of my fondest memories of a truly incredible meal is also a story about love. Daniel and I had an intimate wedding in Montana inside Glacier National Park. Afterward we stayed and dined at the Belton Chalet, a historic lodge right outside the park. Think Montana comfort food, elevated; bacon-wrapped bourbon filet (mignon) with demi-glace and roasted shallot whipped potatoes. The historic building has been beautifully restored, their chef features local farmers and ranchers and the service is impeccable.

A: Daniel: Several years back, I went on a 10-day backcountry ski trip in the Wallowas. On the day we skied out, we stopped at a bar in Joseph, Oregon. I had the best burger of my life. Seriously, it was amazing. Looking back, I’m sure it was an average burger, but we were so hungry.

Q: Any guilty food pleasures?

A: Amy: I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures. I’m a proponent of moderation and enjoyment. Food is delicious, and feeling guilty about an occasional indulgence doesn’t feel right to us. It might also have something to do with my day job as a pastry chef — every day I’m tasting what we make, and I usually don’t find I need more than a taste. Usually!

A: Daniel: I do believe in guilty pleasures. Mine is Domino’s Pizza.

Q: What would be your ideal dream home kitchen?

A: Amy: Our home was built in the 1920s and remodeled at some point in the 1980s. It’s definitely filled with some dated appliances and an awkward layout. We’d love to redesign it to maximize workflow and improve efficiency, not to mention bring it into the 21st century as far as aesthetics go.

Q: If you could invite three dinner guests to your home, who would you invite?

A: Amy: Cheryl Strayed, Michelle Obama and Tina Fey.

Q: What do you like to do outside of the kitchen?

A: Amy: We moved to Bend over a decade ago to continue our pursuit of outdoor adventures. These days time off from our various business endeavors finds us cross-country skiing, hiking, biking or playing at one of the lakes. It’s been such a rewarding experience to share these passions with our son, who is a pretty terrific hiker for a 4-year-old. I attribute our many successful long hikes (8-plus miles) in 2015 to keeping expectations low and packing lots and lots of trail snacks.

Q: If you couldn’t be a chef or in the food industry, what profession would you have chosen?

A: Amy: Well, it just so happens that I’m an entrepreneur and also work in the food industry! I love the variety and scope of work that I do. I also love that I can take risks on ideas and still have the stability of a job at a great local company. Win-win.

Q: Favorite food quote or philosophy you often repeat to yourself in the kitchen?

A: Amy: “A party without cake is just a meeting.” — Julia Child

A: Daniel: “That which we call a beer by any other name would smell as sweet.” — Shakespeare-ish

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