What do you get when you mix two archaeologists, a cabinet overflowing with beer, and a food blog? A home-brewed business called Potlicker Kitchen!
As a field archaeologist, Nancy Warner found herself spending a lot of time in the Vermont woods where her passions for food and foraging took root. When she ran out of fruits and vegetables with short shelf lives to can and jam, she turned to her sudsy surplus. She crafted beer jellies in the kitchen, while her husband, Walter, helped build the business behind the scenes.
With bills to pay, Nancy took her beer jellies to market in 2011. Her sweet stouts and pectin porters caught the eyes (and stomachs) of customers near and far. Her orders started flowing in: she went to selling six to 1,000-3,000 jars a week, depending on the time of year.
A Taste of Olive stores carry a dozen varieties of Potlicker Kitchen’s award-winning beer jellies including Porter, Spiced Wine, Pumpkin Ale, Rosemary Garlic Chablis, and more. We chatted with this beer businesswoman to find out more about Potlicker Kitchen:
What flavor did you start with and how many do you have now?
Strawberry Chipotle. I harvested a bunch of local strawberries and didn’t want to make something that I could purchase in the store. That’s what kicked off the canning line. My first beer jelly was a Sierra Nevada Celebration Beer. Right now, we carry 13 beer jelly flavors, as well as wine jellies and artisan jams.
Being an entrepreneur involves wearing many hats. What are some of yours?
I do pretty much all of it. I’m on the phone and computer doing sales/demos, social media, business operations, recipe development, and sometimes, I’m in the kitchen.
What’s your beer jelly like?
It’s made from beer and tastes like beer. There are only three ingredients: beer, sugar, and pectin.
What do you tell people who aren’t beer people?
It’s going to be sweet. The sugar cuts all of the bitterness from beer, so if you don’t like bitter beer, then you might like it as a jelly. Some people didn’t realize how fruity a hop could be until they had it in a jelly.
This will probably be a tough question. What’s your go-to beer?
If I’m gardening, it’s a gose. For sitting on the back porch, it’s double IPA, and on cold nights, it is a porter.
What’s your favorite flavor?
Hefeweizen with Orange.
What’s one thing people don’t know about Potlicker Kitchen?
It’s really a small business. People think we’re a big corporation, but it’s just me, my husband, and a few support team members.
What makes Potlicker Kitchen different from other jellies?
It’s not just jam or jelly, it’s a condiment. You can use it on so many things! You can use it on your breakfast toast, evening roast, and everything in between.
How do you use the jellies?
I love topping meats and cheeses with beer jellies. I’ve got kids, so we do a ton of peanut butter and jelly. I love the Hefeweizen on shrimp, salmon or chicken on the grill. If you need more ideas, check out this handy guide.
Beer Jelly Pulled Chicken
5 chicken breasts
8oz jar beer jelly (or half a jar plus 1/2C beer or broth)
1 Tablespoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon cumin seed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
6-12 cloves peeled garlic
- Arrange the chicken breasts in a single layer on the bottom of a large slow cooker.
- In a small bowl, combine the jelly and seasonings using a fork to break down the jelly.
- Pour the jelly mix over the chicken, add garlic, and spread the jelly mix to coat the top side of the chicken.
- Turn the slow cooker to low for 6 hours.
- When the chicken is done (all the juices run clear), remove it from the cooking liquid, but do not discard the liquid.
- While still warm, use 2 forks to pull the chicken apart into long shredded pieces.
- After shredding, pour 1 cup (or more) of the cooking liquid over the pulled chicken and toss to coat.
Potlicker Kitchen products are sold in-store only. Visit any of our locations to sample a flavor! Recipe and photos courtesy of Potlicker Kitchen.