The Evolution of
See our Classic Beer Bread package as it progresses from the original pouch to the package you can find on store shelves today.
The History of Dassant
Let Scotty Mac, creator and founder of Dassant Baking Mixes, walk you through the twenty-five year history of his company.
The Light Bulb Went Off
The original Classic Beer Bread recipe was first introduced in MacBeck’s Eatery, a restaurant I owned in the NW industrial area of Portland, Oregon. When my mother returned from one of her many travels, she offered me an easy bread recipe given to her by a childhood friend from Germany, with the idea of including a freshly baked slice with soups, salads, and entrees. I agreed with the concept and gave it a try. Our customers loved the taste, texture and incredible crust – and soon began to request fresh loaves for weekday dinners and weekend entertaining at home. One day, after a long afternoon baking dozens of loaves, the "light bulb went off," and I began to ponder the marketing potential of this delicious-yet-easy bread that everyone wanted to take home and share with loved ones.
Creating the Brand
I met with a talented, eccentric, and worldly guy named "Big D," who just happened to be a graphic designer, wordsmith, and guru in most everything related to business marketing. Together we hammered out a business plan and immediately began design development. Our first action was to establish a brand name. We settled on Dassant Bier Bread, which had European roots and the scant meaning "of-or-from-the-keg." The marketing concept was brilliant; nothing goes better together than bread & beer (a new twist on bread & butter). The spelling of "bier" was my brilliant contribution. I thought using the German spelling for "bier" added a distinctive and sophisticated quality to the name – I was wrong. Although we used it at first, we quickly realized our customers were confused, so reverted to the American spelling: beer.
Little Did I Know
I started by taking freshly baked samples to local gourmet store buyers to secure orders and store placement. Although sales weren’t guaranteed, every store I approached placed a daily order of 24 loaves, with up to 36 on weekends. WOW – I was sure the "gold mine express" was heading my way (little did I know). With low oven capacity, high labor and delivery costs, sleepless nights, low profit margins, and overall exhaustion, I had to rethink the production and delivery process quickly. I approached local high-capacity wholesale bakers with a licensing proposal, but each one turned me down (something about the warm environment, cold beer, and drunk bakers). With my options depleted, I decided to change direction completely.
I contacted a local catalog company, with national distribution, and pitched the idea of selling our beer bread as a bread mix versus a fresh loaf. We could make cooking bread at home easy for customers! The company wasn’t crazy about the idea to say the least, however after I offered to drop off a sample loaf, they reluctantly agreed. It conveniently turned out to be about a dozen loaves of my homemade recipe, warm & steamy fresh from the oven. With it I included butter, a cutting board & knife, napkins, paper plates, and best of all I delivered the samples just when working folks start getting those mid-morning hunger pains, at 10 AM. The strategy was an overwhelming success, and I had my first major customer for the company. How I was going to manage manufacturing my first order of over 11,000 bread mixes became my next problem. I called to beg a good friend who had a high volume coffee and tea business to rent production space during his weekend down time. He agreed, and our team of family and friends swung into action. We purchased all the necessary bulk ingredients and stormed the blending rooms with pallets of flour, sugar, paper bags, and designer labels on a Friday night at 5pm. We packed and blended the weekend away, avoiding contact with the outside world until Sunday evening when we debuted covered in flour dust from head to toe. Boy, I wish I had a picture of that now!
With the great success of our original Classic Beer Bread on track, it was time to expand our product line, so for the better part of 3 years, with a newly built kitchen, I created cake recipe after cake recipe and bread recipe after bread recipe non-stop. My development philosophy was really quite simple; create recipes that tasted as if they were "made-from-scratch." I wanted that homemade recipe flavor like your grandmother, mother, or auntie would make. Naturally, it made sense to start off expanding on the beer bread flavors. I added the Truffle Brownie Mix next, which was, and still is, one of the best brownie mixes I’ve ever tasted. Then came cookies, cake, scones, pancakes, and dessert breads. Luckily, our customers loved everything we offered.
Bread Machines Are Taking Over
Bread machines had started to take over kitchen counters, so in response to our customer’s requests, I developed our line of Dassant easy bread machine mixes. I wouldn’t be satisfied creating bread recipes that mirrored the standard plain white bread types however; my expectations were higher. With European breads as my guide, I came up with dozens of great easy bread recipes. Bread Mixes like Greek Sun-Dried Tomato, Italian Roasted Garlic, French Provincial, and British Cinnamon Orange. The bread machine mixes were a hit; another big success with millions of happy "home-bakers."
Happy With Success
I built the Dassant baking mix line with uncompromised product quality, premium ingredients, simple and easy preparation, and products that offered a homemade recipe taste that everyone loved. Our company was growing at a measured and successful rate, and most importantly our customers were very happy not only with our quality mixes, but our customer service as well. We began expanding into national retail, food service, private label, and even direct consumer sales. Life was good, and we were happy with the success. Then we almost lost it.
Almost Lost It
The low-carb craze skyrocketed to the forefront of consumer’s interest. Responding to our customer’s needs as always, I started to do my homework on developing low-carb recipes; but what I discovered wasn’t appetizing. The ingredients, which nobody could pronounce, sounded scary, and the taste was similar to that of dried cardboard. Not to mention, the cost of the products doubled, sometimes even tripled. I thought long and hard about entering the competition, but ultimately it just didn’t feel right. For six to seven months the company paid the price. If we didn’t have low-carb mixes, no one; and I mean no one, would talk to us. As I was strategizing for an exit plan — everything changed yet again.
With the low-carb craze fizzled and firmly planted in the grave, our old customers starting ordering again. With the shelves bare of all the good cake mix brands, volume that we normally shipped in twelve months, we shipped in 4, resulting in our best year ever. People were willing to buy cakes, buy scones, buy bread and buy Dassant.
I’m quite proud and humbled by the fact that Dassant has had the staying power for over 25 years. I’m proud of all our staff and their dedication to outstanding product quality and customer service. I’m proud of the honorable relationships we’ve developed with all our suppliers and business associates. And I’m especially proud of how we’ve connected to our customers. We’ve listened, we’ve responded, and we’ve satisfied.
With tremendous excitement and enthusiasm we continue to grow and develop with the introduction of our revised website featuring hundreds of new recipes, how-to video demonstrations, special offers, and even a laugh at ourselves with our outtake blooper video. Our mission continues Quality, Convenience, Satisfaction. That’s Dassant.
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