Mast Brothers Apologizes to Fans for Using Industrial Chocolate in the Company's Early Days
But does their admission justify people using the company as whipping boy for what is perceived as overpriced hipster food?
If the last week has taught us anything, it’s that people want answers with their $10 chocolate bars.
Last week, DallasFood.org’s Scott Craig published a four–part series exposing what he says are “lies” in the Mast Brothers’ origin story, and calling brothers Rick and Michael Mast “the Milli Vanilli of chocolate.” The accusations center around the concept of “bean-to-bar” chocolate, which has been key to the Mast Brothers mythology. Craig argues that the brothers were simply “pretending to be a bean-to-bar chocolate company” in the early days, and has unearthed email correspondences suggesting that the brothers used remelted chocolate from the commercial French manufacturer Valrhona.
Now, the Mast Brothers have posted a response to the controversy on their website. Here are the juicy bits:
Mast Brothers has been open and transparent about our experimentation, techniques and recipes since day one. To set the record straight, before we opened our first chocolate factory, my brother and I experimented and honed our craft constantly for nearly a year, which is typical for any entrepreneur, craftsman, and innovator. At that time, in addition to making chocolate from bean to bar, we also tested with couverture Valrhona. And despite wild speculations about our production levels or sales, we made no more than 200 or so bars a week, did not make a profit and generated a rather modest revenue, which we obtained primarily from setting up a folding table at a weekend market, the occasional wedding or special event. Additionally, we did not sell our chocolate bars for $10 but $5-$7 at the time. We have always been open and transparent about our chocolate, and have eagerly and honestly discussed our methods with inquiring customers, chefs, fellow chocolate makers and journalists. And while we never claimed to make all our chocolate exclusively from bean to bar in those early days, we did describe ourselves as a bean-to-bar chocolate maker. Since we were in fact making chocolate from bean to bar, we honestly thought we could say as much. We sincerely apologize if you or any of our other loyal customers feel they were misled about the chocolate we made when our company was just getting off the ground.
Looks like the Mast Brothers used industrial chocolate when the company started out. But does that justify people using the bearded bros as whipping boys for what is perceived as overpriced hipster food? You decide.
[via Mast Brothers]