We will be open in our new space at some point in March, unless something really bad happens. Fingers crossed that everything that needs to happen happens expeditiously. With all that in mind, when choosing this month's COTM, I wanted to use Boston Lager Chocolate Chip.
1. It's a really good cookie.
2.We have a lot of new COTM subscribers that might not buy this one on its own.
3. Opening this storefront wouldn't have been possible without the support we have received from Sam Adams and their Brewing the American Dream Program
The good cookie:
We take our brown butter dough, we give it a beer and dress it up with some milk chocolate chips and a dash of cinnamon! The milk chocolate and the cinnamon really pair nicely with Sam Adam’s flagship beer. It tastes delicious, but it mostly I like it because it gives me the opportunity to tell people about my friends at Sam Adams.
Let me tell you about our friends:
Before I was a business owner, I was interested in Sam Adams, and I’m not even a big beer drinker. I love any Boston based companies, I loved that they were a bigger national brand and they kept their hometown roots. But, when I learned more about them, I was blown away.
If you have been following us for a while, you might know that Top Shelf Cookies was born out of the crazy game day superstition. Yeah, I made the Black and Gold cookie every game that season, hoping in some little way I would get the duckboat parade to complete the set of the previous ten years. The Bruins are my team, I love hockey for so many reasons and to have watched my dad’s team (Patriots) and my grandma’s team (Sox) and the Celtics win championships….I just really wanted to be the one that everyone thought of when the Bruins got that big silver cup. The cookies grew in popularity and as the season went on, I became less and less thrilled living the cubicle life.
At this point, I had started to make my dreams known to a few people. I wanted to start a cookie business, we'd even come up with the name. But, I was scared. I didn't have a lot of money. I didn't know if my friends would be the only ones eating cookies. I didn't know if I could do it. Who would help me?
At one point during the playoffs, I mentioned to a Fours regular Jen that I might want to get this going as a business. Jen was a person that I talked hockey with and drank with before games, I knew she worked at Sam Adams, that’s it. Work wasn’t a conversation topic for pregame. Jen told me “Do it, we’ll help you”
What the hell was Sam Adams going to do for me? I was just a girl that thought her cookies were lucky. I should really just stop thinking about cookies and figure out a way to be satisfied doing my job and live my damn life already.
And, for awhile …. I did. I was living in the glow of the Bruins winning that big, shiny, beautiful cup. I was working a lot of overtime and paying down my debt. Every once in awhile I could hear Jen’s voice “Do it, we’ll help you” She told me about Brewing The American Dream, which is a program that Sam Adams runs to help small food and beverage businesses get lending and business support.
One game, the following season I brought my father to a game and took him to the Fours for a quality pregame and introduced him to Jen. Before I knew it, they had me cornered. These were two people that knew about my dream of Top Shelf Cookies. I remember they weren’t talking to me, they were talking to each other. Both of them commiserating that they wanted to help me to follow my dream, but when the hell was I going to do it.
That was the push I needed.
Side note: I'm never going to get over losing Fours Boston. Never. 20 years of pre and post Bruins game, Softball postgames (sometimes pregames), and making friends lots of friends who have supported me in my efforts with making my dreams a reality. My heart aches knowing I will never enjoy a postgame beer upstairs after an overtime win when the snow has just covered Boston enough to be beautiful and not dangerous.
The night before we launched in 2014, I ran into Jen at the Fours (it was the offseason, so it was weird) I told her that I had applied to CommonWealth Kitchen and that my health inspection was the next day. She gave me a giant hug and told me she was so proud of me. Keep in mind, this is a person that knows me strictly from a couple hours before Bruins games and a couple hours after.
Three weeks after we launched, I got a call to make 200 pumpkin beer cookies for Sam Adams. The event was in two days. I hadn’t quite learned to make 200 cookies at once and I didn’t have a recipe. I kept that all in my head and said yes. They told me I was welcome to stay with my cookies at the table for the event and tell people about my business.
The next day I went into the kitchen with a recipe I had put together the night before and scaled it up for 200. At the same time, a grocery store buyer that was visiting the kitchen had tried some of my cookies and wanted to talk about getting into their stores. I remember that I was very short with him, I was scared to death of screwing this opportunity up.
The next night I went to Sam Adams Brewery and everyone on staff was so kind and helpful. Jen stopped by to say hi, and try the cookies (she loved them) and we talked a little hockey. Then I spent the rest of the night handing out cookies and telling people about Top Shelf Cookies.
We've since gone on to make several beer infused treats with Sam Adams beer. They use us for events and gifts and they bake off our dough in their beautiful downtown taproom. It's pretty amazing to think that they have been our customer since we were three weeks into this thing.
Our involvement in Brewing the American Dream, has given us 4 business loans, but where we have really been able to get the biggest bang for us the mentoring. I can call them for advice on anything and they will send a volunteer that does whatever I'm looking for as a job to chat with me on the phone to help. In 2016, I competed in their Boston Pitch Room and I lost, I took it hard. I hate competition with the fire of 1000 suns. But, I went back in 2019, to find out I was at that point the only company to pitch twice. It brought me to tears to have my Fours pregame pal announce that we had won a grant for $10,000. We used that grant to help us in ways we had no idea would be so integral to our survival in 2020. I remember emailing Jennifer and saying we were going to lose everything. She told me to hold tight. For whatever reason, that was the kick I needed in the butt to try not to panic. A year later, I'm looking forward to having our friends from Sam Adams over to our place for an event.
Enjoy this month's Cookie of the Month, I am hoping to unveil a brand new recipe for April 2021. Stay tuned.
Thank you for your unending support.
With a grateful heart....