Durham company Barley Labs dog biscuits could snag Super Bowl ad | Food Feature | Indy Week
Pin It

Durham company Barley Labs dog biscuits could snag Super Bowl ad 

Barley Labs' Theresa Chu and Scott Beaudry create dog treats with spent barley hops from Fullsteam brewery and a little elbow grease.

Photo by Justin Cook

Barley Labs' Theresa Chu and Scott Beaudry create dog treats with spent barley hops from Fullsteam brewery and a little elbow grease.

Experienced planners of Super Bowl parties take their guests' preferences to heart. There's the chili-and-nachos crowd, the cheese-and-crackers eaters, the mindful nibblers of vegetables and fruit.

At the Durham home of Scott Beaudry and Theresa Chu, they set out a special snack for a regular with a sensitive stomach. And if Feb. 2, the evening of the Super Bowl goes right, the treat will elicit tail wags and global exposure for Barley Labs dog biscuits.

The upstart is among four finalists in the national Intuit Small Business Big Game contest, which awards a highly coveted Super Bowl commercial to the winner. Last year's game drew a record-setting 111.3 million viewers—enough to turn a small operation with a growing regional following into a bona fide national brand.

"We didn't have very high expectations at all when we submitted our video," says Chu, who produced the short clip herself. "It was free and easy to enter. We figured, why not take the chance?"

The entry features Barley, their beloved 5-year-old Lab mix, who serves as Chief Inspiration Officer and VP of Quality Control at Barley Labs. The business officially launched in September 2012, but the couple had been using spent barley from Baudry's home-brewing projects to make biscuits long before then.

"Barley has always had a sensitive stomach, so it was important that we knew exactly what was in the treats we fed her," Baudry says. "The vet suggested adding pumpkin puree to her diet, so that's how we developed the pumpkin biscuits."

Other flavors of the crunchy product include all-natural peanut butter and cheddar, the latter of which is sourced from Culture Cow Creamery in Durham. The main product is spent barley procured from Durham's Fullsteam brewery. Baudry struck a deal with the dog-friendly business when it became evident that demand was outpacing the 60 pounds of grain he collected from each batch of home brew.

"The funny thing is, we went to a Durham Bulls game and drank beer at Fullsteam as part of our first visit to the area when we were planning our move from Chicago," Baudry says. "We liked it right away and felt so at home. We're happy about being able to work with them."

Fullsteam owner Sean Lilly Wilson admires the couple's mission. "As an entrepreneurial venture ourselves, we love supporting local start-ups and watching them grow from bar patrons to business owners," Wilson says. "How can you not cheer for a local company that makes dog treats from local beer grain and local cheese?"

The barley saved from the brewing process has been soaked to yield barley-infused water, which is used to make beer. The spent grains have no alcohol content and will not, as some customers have wondered, make biscuit-loving pups tipsy.

Barley Labs biscuits are available online and in several Durham-area businesses, including Fullsteam, where the 8-ounce bags sell for about $6.49 each. In thanks for their own rescue animal, Baudry and Chu donate 10 cents from each package sold to support the Animal Protection Society of Durham. They also feature adoptable dogs from the Triangle and across the country on the Barley Labs website.

The positive exposure already has translated into increased sales and inquiries from out-of-state businesses that want to stock Barley Labs product. Biscuits can be purchased from shops in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Georgia, Arkansas and Iowa.

The couple recently moved its home baking operation to The Cookery, a commercial kitchen space in Durham. Access to industrial equipment means they can produce more biscuits at a time.

Chu says they plan to introduce more products, another crunchy flavor and some soft treats, but have no firm timetable. "Everything's been put on the back burner until we know what happens," she says.

They hope to hear from Intuit before the end of the month and understand that the contest winner will have input into the creative development of the advertisement.

"Barley is definitely the face of our business, but she's a nervous girl," Chu says. "She's really been stressed out with people coming in and out of the house in the last few weeks. I've read that animals can pick up on emotional signals from humans, so we're trying to help her be calm. We're trying to assure her that it all will be worth it."

To view the video entry submitted by Barley Labs to the Intuit Small Business Big Game contest, visit smallbusinessbiggame.com/NC/Barley-Labs/373335. For information about Barley Labs, or where to buy biscuits, visit barleylabs.com.

This article appeared in print with the headline "Local ingredients, global exposure"

  • Barley labs partners with Fullsteam brewery for line of dog treats


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Food Feature

Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

Thanks mr.bell

by Sheissobad on Sankofa Farms Plants Seeds of Empowerment for Black Youth in Durham (Food Feature)

Thank you Mr. Bell, this program is a much needed blessing. You have given these children a little more hope …

by Diana Carter on Sankofa Farms Plants Seeds of Empowerment for Black Youth in Durham (Food Feature)

Mr. Bell, Thanks for being that Servant Leader that the NC Public Education System so desperately needs. For those of …

by Hawkins O'Neal on Sankofa Farms Plants Seeds of Empowerment for Black Youth in Durham (Food Feature)

Anyone who would eat a whole cup of cashews isn't doing it right. Eat a small handful, and you get …

by Ken Cory on No carbs? Go nuts with cashews (Food Feature)

There is literally no food on this planet that is worth a 90 minute wait.

by MichyMitch on Two Hundred Varieties of Brown Booze and Southern Cooking Shine Together at Whiskey Kitchen (Food Feature)


We went here with friends one evening before the theatre. Best New Orleans food we have found in the Raleigh. …

by Dee Oberle on The Big Easy (Wake County)

Everything very unprofessional. They just want to charge you an "revolutionary fee" with all the service making pressure on you. …

by feullies on Blue Note Grill (Durham County)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

© 2017 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation