By Greg Avery  –  Senior Reporter, Denver Business Journal

Jul 29, 2021, 10:29am EDT

The Denver-area maker of flavored butter spreads has opened a new factory and is expanding into plant-based versions of its products.

Epicurean Butter Company Inc. moved to a newly built, 30,000-square-foot Thornton space in the 25 North industrial park near Interstate 25 and E-470 where it will make its finishing butters and a new line of flavors using coconut oil as its base instead of dairy butter.

“We needed to have additional space to grow,” said Tom Maddi, chairman and CEO of Epicurean Butter, said of the spring move from Federal Heights to the northern end Thornton. “The opportunity to get more refrigerated space and more space in general was too good to pass up.”

Married co-founders John Hubschman and Janey Hubschman, started the business in 2004 in Denver to introduce everyday consumers to flavored finishing butters like those restaurant chefs use to add flavor to dishes.

The business grew to more than a dozen flavored butters — products such as lemon garlic herb butter, chili lime butter, or maple syrup and butter — sold in grocery stores around the country, and it spread into making wholesale, custom-blended butters used by restaurants and commercial kitchens.

Chicago-based HC Private Investments became the majority owner of the business in 2019, eyeing nationwide growth.

Maddi, a veteran of Barilla Pasta and Dawn Foods companies, joined the Epicurean Butter board after the investment. He became CEO and chairman in May 2020, working under pandemic restrictions and seeing the restaurant industry gutted by closures.

It became an opportune time to move, upgrade its production space and think about how the company could broaden the products under its flavored spreads umbrella, and that fit its brand tagline “we make everything taste better,” Maddi said.

Epicurean’s core butters had been doing well in retail, helped along by being a complement to Keto diets, he said.

Epicurean Butter aims to have three savory and one sweet flavor of plant-based spreads in full production in August, and consumers should start to see them in grocery stores by fall.

The company started looking to plant-based spreads that would appeal to other consumers who avoid the animal fats of its dairy butter products.

The new factory is in the same development as the production facility being developed by plant-based meat substitute company Meati, which will relocate its commercial production to Thornton from Boulder. Whether the 25 North development attracts more food companies will be interesting to see, Maddi said.

“We are looking forward to meeting them,” he said. “What goes better with meat than butter, and what would go better with plant-based meat than a plant-based butter?”

As it has grown, the company has been automating aspects of its production, first in mixing ingredients for products and more recently packaging and preparing packages for shipping.

That’s become more important as labor becomes harder to find, he said.

Still, the company has expanded its workforce to between 50 and 60 workers, using temporary workers at times to fill in as production cycles demand it.

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