Mast Brothers

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Mast Brothers
IndustryChocolate
FoundedBrooklyn, New York, October, 2007.
Area served
United States; United Kingdom
Key people
Rick and Michael Mast
ProductsChocolate bars, beverages, and confections.
OwnerRick and Michael Mast
Number of employees
50
Websitehttp://mastbrothers.com/

Mast Brothers is an American artisanal chocolate company headquartered in Brooklyn, New York.[1] The company was founded in 2007 by brothers Rick and Michael Mast,[2] who are from Primghar, Iowa[3] and who have been described as having "magnificent Civil War-era beards".[4] Mast Brothers, according to Vanity Fair, are "widely credited for introducing artisanal chocolate to mainstream American culture"[5] and to have been instrumental in popularizing the bean-to-bar movement in America,[6] but has faced criticism for their lack of involvement in the artisanal chocolate business community, as well as allegations they used third-party chocolate in their early products.

Locations[edit]

Brooklyn[edit]

The building is located in Williamsburg.[7] Encompassing 3,000 square feet (280 square meters), the Minimalist-style chocolate shop is located inside a building that once served as a spice factory and today houses various small companies. A critic's pick by New York Magazine.[8]

London[edit]

Mast Brothers opened London's first commercial bean-to-bar chocolate factory which has since closed[9] on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch, an East London neighborhood,[10] welcoming visitors into a multi-use space where they can see the chocolate production process, buy chocolate bars and other treats, and even drink their chocolate. As of early 2018, Mast Brothers had permanently shuttered their London retail location.[11]

Los Angeles[edit]

Mast Brothers opened the first bean-to-bar chocolate factory in Los Angeles, California in May 2016.[12] The chocolate factory is located in a 6,000 square foot warehouse in the Arts District. In early 2018, the company announced the closure of this retail space, along with their London location.[13]

Products[edit]

Mast Brothers currently offers 12 varieties of chocolate bars with their 2016 Collection which launched during the London Design Festival.[14] The 2016 Collection consists of six dark chocolate bars (Sea Salt, Mint, Olive Oil, Almond Butter, and their signature Dark) and six milk chocolate bars (Goat Milk, Sheep Milk, Vanilla, Maple, Coffee, and their signature Milk).[15] The bars are available in three sizes. A 70-gram bar of Mast Brothers chocolate typically sells for $9 from the Mast Brothers' Brooklyn flagship location and for $10 at hundreds of secondary retailers.[16] The company has gained attention both for the quality of its packaging design ("not unlike unwrapping a gift", as Vanity Fair described it[17]) as well as for its chocolate, including praise from noted French Laundry chef Thomas Keller.[18]

In addition, Mast Brothers makes a variety of chocolate confections at both their Brooklyn and London locations,[19] and they offer a hot chocolate made by steaming shaved chocolate with milk, a brewed hot chocolate using a siphon,[20] and a chocolate beer that is brewed in-house with roasted cacao, cane sugar and water before being carbonated with nitrogen.[21] Chocolate beer is currently available at their Brooklyn and London locations.

Mast Brothers: A Family Cookbook[edit]

"Mast Brothers: A Family Cookbook" (by authors Rick and Michael Mast and a foreword by Thomas Keller) was published in October 2013 by Little, Brown & Company. The book was the winner of the 2014 IACP Award for single subject[22] and a 2014 James Beard award finalist for photography.[23]

Collaborations[edit]

Mast Brothers has collaborated with The Paris Review, Ace Hotel,[24] Newport Folk Festival, London Design Festival,[25] Shake Shack,[26] Crown Maple Syrup, Stumptown Coffee,[27] and Austere[6] to create products.

Sail Freight[edit]

According to The Wall Street Journal, in May 2011, Mast Brothers chartered the three-masted Black Seal, a 70-foot schooner built over 25 years by Captain Eric Loftfield,[28] to sail from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to the Dominican Republic in order to pick up 20 tons of cocoa beans. On June 14, 2011 the Black Seal arrived at the Red Hook waterfront in Brooklyn where a group of deckhands and makers of artisanal chocolate unloaded the cocoa beans from the schooner. It was the first time a sailing ship had unloaded commercial cargo in New York since 1939, according to one city official.[29]

Controversy[edit]

In March 2015, the online magazine Slate published a critical piece about Mast Brothers, condemning their lack of involvement in the artisanal chocolate business community, and alleging that a few boutique chocolate retailers avoid carrying their products.[30]

The brothers faced controversy again in late 2015 when a Dallas-based food blogger, Scott Craig, raised questions about whether the brothers had, during their first years of operation, melted down chocolate (known as couverture) from another high-end French supplier, Valrhona, mixing it with their own ingredients, and whether they had always been an in-house "bean to bar" operation as they claimed.[16][18] Mast Brothers acknowledged it used some couverture in addition to making their own chocolate in its early experimentations[18] but said that the practice had ended in 2009, and that none of their early products had ever been misrepresented as "bean to bar" offerings.[31]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Schwaner-Albright, Oliver (24 February 2009). "Brooklyn's New Culinary Movement". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  2. ^ Reddinger, Paige (7 April 2008). "Brooklyn's Dark Secret". Time. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  3. ^ Moskin, Julia (October 21, 2013). "Discussing Chocolate With the Mast Brothers". The New York Times. Retrieved December 26, 2015.
  4. ^ Wallace, Benjamin (April 15, 2012). "The Twee Party". New York Magazine. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  5. ^ Nguyen, Tina (December 18, 2015). "Celebrity Hipster Chocolatiers Reportedly Sold Remelted Commercial Chocolate". Retrieved December 21, 2015.
  6. ^ a b Scherer, Josh (December 3, 2015). "Very Cool Chocolatiers The Mast Brothers Popping Up in Very Cool Scandinavian Design Studio". Los Angeles Magazine.
  7. ^ "Mast Brothers designs its own Minimalist chocolate shop in Brooklyn". Dezeen. September 16, 2015.
  8. ^ "Mast Brothers and their Chocolate Factory". New York Magazine. February 15, 2014.
  9. ^ Ramsey, Dom (December 12, 2014). "Mast Brothers take up residence at London's Ace Hotel". Chocablog.
  10. ^ Dixler, Hilary (February 16, 2015). "Hot Brooklyn Chocolatiers the Mast Brothers Explode Onto London Scene". Eater.
  11. ^ Redifer, Lindsay. "Post Scandal, the Mast Brothers Regroup". www.craftsense.co. Craft Sense. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  12. ^ Platt, Heather (March 29, 2016). "Mast Brothers Brings L.A.'s First Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Factory to Downtown". L.A. Weekly.
  13. ^ Redifer, Lindsay. "Post Scandal, the Mast Brothers Regroup". www.craftsense.co. Craft Sense. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  14. ^ "Mast Brothers launches new chocolate collection during London Design Festival". Design Boom. September 25, 2015.
  15. ^ Bobb, Brooke (September 22, 2015). "The Sweet New Look (and Taste) of Mast Brothers Chocolate". Vogue.
  16. ^ a b Walters, Joanna (December 19, 2015). "Mast Brothers: controversial world's 'best' chocolate faces swirl of scandal". Retrieved December 21, 2015.
  17. ^ Podolsky, Jeffrey (February 6, 2015). "See All of the Mast Brothers Chocolate Wrappers". Vanity Fair. Retrieved December 21, 2015.
  18. ^ a b c Nir, Sarah Maslin (December 20, 2015). "Unwrapping the Mythos of Mast Brothers Chocolate in Brooklyn". The New York Times. Retrieved December 21, 2015.
  19. ^ Keller, Hadley (August 31, 2015). "Brooklyn's Mast Brothers Debut a New Flagship and Introduce Chocolate Beer". Architectural Digest.
  20. ^ "In Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Heaven at Mast Brothers". Bobby Flay. February 13, 2015.
  21. ^ Cave, Jame (July 24, 2015). "These Real-Life Wonkas Are Making Chocolate Beer A Reality". Huffington Post.
  22. ^ "IACP 2014 Cookbook Awards". Archived from the original on December 25, 2015. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  23. ^ "James Beard Foundation". Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  24. ^ "Mast Brothers take up residence at London's Ace Hotel". Chocablog. December 12, 2014. Retrieved December 26, 2015.
  25. ^ Davies, Sophie (September 26, 2015). "LDF 2015 – Top 5 Design Hotspots at the V&A". The Design Fizz. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  26. ^ Raisfeld, Robin (September 9, 2015). "Mast Brothers' New Shake Shack Chocolate Bar Comes Out This Week". Grubstreet. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  27. ^ Muhlke, Christine (4 January 2010). "Now Sipping". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  28. ^ Brennan, George. "Man's maritime venture hits the road in Falmouth". Cape Cod Times.
  29. ^ Grossman, Andrew (June 15, 2011). "Cocoa Arrives, By Sail". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  30. ^ Giller, Megan (16 March 2015). "Against Mast Brothers: Why chocolate experts hate the best-known craft chocolate brand in America". Slate. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  31. ^ Choi, Candice (December 24, 2015). "Chocolate makers: We were honest about remelted chocolate". Associated Press. Retrieved December 24, 2015.

External links[edit]