Cooking with wine is commonplace in most kitchens, so why not baking with beer? That’s the specialty of Brewnuts, the company slinging Cleveland’s first and only craft beer donuts.
Brewnuts’ owners, Shelley Fasulko and John Pippin, didn’t exactly plan on becoming entrepreneurs in the food industry, but in the past year their yeasty, sweet creations have garnered national attention.
“This business was born out of wanting to have a project for ourselves,” said Fasulko. “It was a pet project, something different from our day jobs. I’m one of those people who always has a notepad by my nightstand, so one night the idea just popped into my head and I yelled to John. He said, ‘What are you talking about?!’” But the more they talked about it and shared their vision with family and friends, the more the idea seemed to take hold.
“Donuts are such a quintessential American food, and we have this craft beer movement here in Cleveland,” said Fasulko. “It just felt so Cleveland to me.”
At that point, Fasulko had never made a donut in her life. That weekend, she and Pippen bought donut pans and one counter-top fryer at Target, which they still use. After some research and experimentation to perfect their recipes, Brewnuts began dropping off batches at local coffee shops such as Pour and Rising Star.
They incorporate local beers whenever possible as well as some of their personal favorite brews, such as Southern Tier Pumking Ale, which they are using in their fall lineup. They’ve also worked with several area breweries to create themed donuts for special events and pairings, such as the monthly movie night at Great Lakes Brewing Company.
Brewnuts’ current location in Tremont is only temporary.
Fasulko and Pippin have their sights set on a permanent shop — and a liquor license — after their stint at Tremont West Development Corporation’s storefront ends next spring.
“Our goal is to evolve into a full-scale bar so we can carry on tap the beers that we work with and do pairings with donuts, that kind of thing,” said Fasulko.
“Our vision has always been to be a donut bar, and not a bakery.” At first, donuts and beer may seem like an odd combination, but Fasulko and Pippin ultimately want people to see past the novelty. They envision a place where people come to just hang out, have a beer, and indulge in a uniquely Cleveland treat.
To find out where you can snag a donut near you, visit BrewnutsCLE.com or better yet, check them out on Facebook and Twitter.