Back in 2015, you likely remember that the Mast Brothers were accused of being ‘the Milli Vanilli of chocolate‘ for allegedly melting down pre-made chocolate and repackaging it. In a conversation with Fortune, the brothers claim the allegations were false. Still, one fact remains indisputable: those beards are ridiculous:
“People were spreading this idea that we remelt Hershey bars and throw our packaging on it… which is of course not true.” The question of how Mast Brothers makes its chocolate bars vacillated between “hilarious” (making fun of the founders’ facial hair) and “creepy” (family members were harassed on social media).
The entire blow up was essentially a bad case of “fake news,” the company contends, noting it never sold the bars for $10 apiece as was often reported. Mast also pointed to a Sea Salt Chocolate bar on a table in front of me and says there are just three ingredients: cacao, cane sugar and sea salt. He said almost every allegation was false. “Basic facts got lost in all of this,” Mast said. “We always have made our chocolate from bean to bar, ourselves, in house. We’ve never remelted any other chocolate and resold it as our own. Everything we’ve ever made since the first day we opened our chocolate factory was made exclusively from the bean inside our place.”
Mast does concede one fine point. The startup tinkered with industrial chocolate in the testing phase, but those products never went to retail. And that point—an important nuance lost in the clutter—alludes to what Mast told me at the beginning of our conversation when he explained why he got into the chocolate business.
Despite the controversy, the company is doing quite well. They plan to increase production from $10 million to $100 million annually in their enormous, new production plant at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Their Williamsburg showroom remains open at 111 North 3rd Street.
[h/t Grub Street]