For the last few years, it has become more common for people to go on low-sugar, low-carb and keto diets—and companies in the food and beverage industry have responded with products containing significantly less sugar or no artificial sweeteners. One area that hasn’t responded the same? The alcohol industry. Until now, that is.
Edina resident Ryan Boudreau, along with his two friends, Jeff Roslund and Charlie Guan, discovered the lack of low-sugar cocktails and liqueurs when they started low-sugar diets. Roslund began making his own liqueurs at home so he could still enjoy the occasional cocktail but stay on his diet. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Roslund’s day job slowed down, and he started to investigate the idea of selling his liqueurs.
The three friends decided to go into business together, and they started Dapper Barons. “We started from scratch, went through all of the permitting and now have a distribution partner and are in stores,” Roslund says. “Now we’re just making liqueurs and still enjoying all of the flavor without the sugar.”
Dapper Barons, which operates under the company Low Carb Spirits LLC, uses only natural sweeteners to create low-sugar liqueurs. Still having sweeteners in the liqueur allows the drinks to have the same full flavor you’d find in a traditional, high-sugar option. “The feedback we almost always get is our product tastes the same or better than other liqueurs,” Boudreau says. “It’s not a watered-down version like people think.”
Even for those who aren’t on a diet, Boudreau says low-sugar liqueur is one way people can cut back on unnecessary calories and sugar. “A lot of liqueur companies don’t disclose nutritional facts because they don’t have to, legally,” he says. “People don’t realize how much sugar is in a traditional liqueur.”
The trio made sure to include nutritional labels on the products, so
consumers always know what they’re getting. “We’re proud of the relationship with our consumers,” Roslund says. “They know what they’re buying and drinking.”
Learning the ropes of the alcohol industry and what legal parameters they must follow was something the three guys had to learn from scratch. Both Boudreau and Roslund agree it was interesting to learn about a new industry, and if it weren’t for the pandemic, they might not have had time to learn it at all. “Between the three of us, we [each] have our strengths,” Boudreau says. “Food and beverages weren’t one of them, so we had to learn.”
It currently offers several different liqueurs, including triple sec, amaretto, coffee and crème de cacao. Between all its liqueurs, Roslund says the list of cocktails someone could make is endless.
Roslund and Boudreau both agree using the triple sec to make skinny margaritas is one of the most common options, but people also like using their products to make drinks like sidecars, Colorado bulldogs and white Russians.
Dapper Barons products can be found at France 44 Wine & Spirits, and a full stocklist can be found on its website.
What started as a personal project at home turned into a new business for these three friends, and they’re pretty excited about it.
“We’re getting onto shelves now,” Roslund says. “We’re just trying to provide people the opportunity to enjoy popular cocktails without all of the sugar.”
Mix it Up!
While the list of cocktail recipes may be endless, here are a few recipes Boudreau and Roslund suggest trying.
- 1.5 oz. tequila
- 1 oz. Dapper Barons triple sec
- 0.75 oz. lime juice
Shake, and pour over ice.
- 1 oz. vodka
- 1 oz. Dapper Barons amaretto
Pour over ice.
- 2 oz. Dapper Barons coffee
- 2 oz. vodka
- 2 oz. cream
Pour over ice in the order listed.