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The Buzz About Bit O'Honey

Everyone needs a Bit-O-Honey in their lives, in more ways than one.

Two Bandits Brewing Co. in Hicksville and Spangler Candy Co. in Bryan, have collaborated to bring the public the Bit O’Honey American Ale. The ale, which uses the nostalgic, honey-flavored candy in its mixture, has been on the market for a few months and has been welcomed with open arms by the public.

Mark Young, who co-owns Two Bandits with Bob Garza, said the ale brings a bit of nostalgia as well as a great flavor that everyone seems to enjoy.

“We always wanted to make a beer that was very accessible to the masses,” Young explained.

“What I mean is that it is not off putting even to those people who might be scared of craft (beers). They might gravitate to this beer because of its nature. It’s easy drinking. There is no off-putting flavors. This is a beer that is accessible to anyone.”

The idea behind the collaboration between the Bit O’Honey candy and craft beer started thanks

to a comment from Bill Martin, president and chief fiscal officer of Spangler Candy.

Young stated that Martin and several members of Spangler’s management team are members of Two Bandits’ brew crew and come in to eat regularly at the brewpub in Hicksville.

“It was about a year ago, and Bill was teasing me saying ‘it would be great to put our candy in your beer.’ I said ‘Bill, we can do that.,’“ Young recalled.

There were a lot of talks between officials at the two companies. There also were several trials of the brew.

“The version in the cans that everyone enjoys is version 3.0,” Young confirmed. “This is the closest flavor platform (to the Bit-O-Honey candy). Our beers are known for our flavors. We are known for our flavor platforms. Our beers are unique and distinct … It was very much a concern that if we attempt that (infusing the candy to a brew) has to smell and taste like Bit O’Honey. Humbly, I think we hit it right in the bullseye.”

Employees at Two Bandits worked for more than 9 months to get a version of the ale that they were satisfied with to sell.

“It was released in several ways,” Young recalled. “The first wave was for brew crew – that was released at the end of April, the beginning of May. Then we released a batch specifically to the Spangler Candy employees. That was significant and a big hit.”

Young stressed that Spangler employees are a big part of why the beer works as approximately 16 pounds of the great tasting candy that they make goes into each batching of the ale – being melted down and going into the boil.

Finally, Bit O’Honey American Ale was released to the general public, and they can’t get enough.

“Right now, it’s off the charts with how it sells,” exclaimed Young. “Our distribution partners that stock it, sell out within a few minutes of putting it out on the shelf.”

Currently, the ale is just available in Defiance and Williams counties. Young said while there is such a high demand for it he would rather the brew to “stay closer to home.”

Bit O’Honey American Ale will be a year-round brew at Two Bandits.

“By definition it is a honey, almond American ale,” Young stressed. “ That was partially by design. …We want this to be northwest Ohio's go to beer – a beer to take to the beach, a wedding, to have while mowing the lawn, to take to a Christmas party. This beer’s first task was meant as an all encompassing brew.”

Young added that by keeping the ale local, it means more people are buying local which in turn also helps local communities.

“The beer is trademarked,” Young declared.. “We are working with another local iconic business with this product. I am proud of that.“

He added that when people buy from locally-owned companies 90 cents of every dollar stays within 15 miles of the community. When people spend money at larger chain companies, 85 cents of every dollar goes to corporations.

“When you shop local you’re making your home a better place,” he urged. “I don’t care the business. If it’s local, it matters.“

Anyone who wants to try the Bit O’Honey American Ale can head to Two Bandits, 106. E. High St. in Hicksville, and taste what this excitement is all about.

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