Confession: I’ve only ever had one bar of Mast Brothers chocolate. Enticed by the (at that time) gloriously nautical graphic design, I paid something like $8.99 for it, and was ultimately pretty disappointed. I mean, it was chocolate. But it wasn’t the best chocolate I’d had in my life.
Apparently I’m a discerning chocolate consumer, because I’m not alone in my opinion. While whispers of the hipster duo’s inferior chocolate had been going around for quite some time, last December, Dallas Food published a four-part series publicly challenging the Mast Brothers’ claim of being a bean-to-bar company. (And Mast Brothers issued their own letter addressing the accusations.)
Last year’s hoopla doesn’t seem to have touched the company’s sales, though: Today they announced plans to expand into the 300-acre Brooklyn Navy Yard, which is already home to more than 300 businesses. Not only that, but the bearded bros are hoping to hire 100 additional workers for the new 65,000-square-foot factory, more than doubling their existing workforce of around 75 people.
“The opportunity to grow in Brooklyn in a spectacular space like this, that’s huge for us,” Rick Mast told the Times. (Apparently he was also “giggling with anticipation,” which just about the greatest image ever. Thank you, Times.)
In addition to continuing to “innovate and produce its signature chocolate from bean to bar for retailers and chefs around the globe,” Mast Brothers will also be opening a chocolate brewery. Willy Wonka whaaaat?
Okay, don’t get your hopes up: This isn’t any fancy American version of Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. It’s entirely non-alcoholic, brewed directly from house-roasted cocoa beans and infused with CO2 and nitrogen to give it a beer-like head. (Food and Wine taster Noah Kaufman described it as tasting “relatively straight-forward, kind of like a cold hot chocolate.”) The company has already been selling the chocolate beer directly out of their Brooklyn facility; their new Navy Yard factory will allow them to package and ship it out of the city. Huzzah! Here’s hoping the chocolate river is next up on their list of innovations for the space.
Whatever the case, Mast Brothers sounds like it certainly isn’t hurting. And I’ll admit — maybe I’m not giving Mast Brothers its fair due. Maybe I need to try it again — it’s been years since that first bar, after all. Or maybe I’ll just stick to my favorite Theo bars. That beer, though…consider me first in line.
Surely cocoa’s brainpower-boosing flavanols are present in this new drinkable form, right?