Before founding The Real Dill
in 2012, friends Justin Park and Tyler DuBois shared a hobby: pickling.
"We were buddies and we were both making pickles for fun," says Park. DuBois has a culinary background and Park comes from a "foodie family," helping them think outside the box when it comes to pickling.
After DuBois made a particularly tasty batch out of "everything I had" in 2010, Park says the pair knew it was time to go pro.
"We refer to it now as a pickle epiphany," says Park. "We were just blown away. It was the crunchiest, most flavorful pickle I've ever tasted. We've been at it ever since."
The pair gave out jars of pickles to guests at Park's wedding in 2011, honed their technique and founded the company the following year.
The epiphany recipe evolved into Jalapeno Honey Dills, one of four varieties offered by The Real Dill, not including a spicy Bloody Mary mix made from formerly wasted cucumber water. Other flavors are Aji Chile Sour, Caraway Garlic and Habanero Horseradish.
Sales blew past expectations as of the first farmer's market in 2012. "We said, 'How are we going to keep up with this,'" says DuBois. They quit their day jobs, production runs jumped from 80 jars to 500 jars and they've hired two full-time employees at their commercial kitchen in southwest Denver, a.k.a. "The Brinery."
The Real Dill is on the forefront of a national micro-pickling trend, with distribution spanning 40 stores like Marczyk Fine Foods and about 10 restaurants, including Biker Jim's and Colt & Gray. And Great Divide Brewing Company will soon have its own Real Dill pickle. The launch party is slated for the taproom in late July.
Pickle fans are hardcore, says DuBois. "People who love pickles are madly obsessed with them."
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