Business

Soap made of beer? Raleigh Soapery uses local breweries to keep customers clean

Megan Patton, left, and Megan Edge make soap using locally made beer and other ingredients Aug. 31. The pair started Raleigh Soapery last year, and now the company partners with local breweries.
Megan Patton, left, and Megan Edge make soap using locally made beer and other ingredients Aug. 31. The pair started Raleigh Soapery last year, and now the company partners with local breweries. COURTESY OF MEGAN EDGE

Customers often ask Megan Edge two questions about the soap she makes using beer from local breweries: Will I smell like alcohol, and will I get drunk?

The answer to both questions is no, said Edge, 38, co-founder and co-owner of Raleigh Soapery.

“We tell people, ‘You won’t smell like beer, but you will smell amazing,’ ” Edge said.

Raleigh Soapery partners with several Wake County breweries to create novelty soaps that appeal to beer lovers and customers who appreciate all-natural products.

The soap, which costs between $6 and $8 a bar, is sold online and in some local taprooms, including Trophy and Sub Noir brewing companies in Raleigh and Brüeprint in Apex.

About seven years ago, Edge was working at cosmetics store Sephora, where she helped customers find their perfect fragrance.

She struck up a friendship with Megan Patton, who worked at Starbucks at the time. Both beer drinkers, they started visiting breweries together, collecting rare bottles and comparing notes on craft beer.

In December 2014, they found a recipe for beer-scented soap and decided to make some bars to give as Christmas gifts. A couple of months later, their relatives and friends were asking for more.

Their efforts grew into a business as they experimented with recipes and partnered with local breweries.

“The craft beer community in the Triangle is like a giant family,” said Patton, 30.

Raleigh Soapery launched its website in April 2015, and Edge now serves as the company’s “recipe guru” and social media manager. Patton handles networking and partnerships with other companies.

“Our products are based on what we’d like to have personally that we don’t see out there,” Edge said.

The company creates dozens of scents, from musky to fruity blends. Oats & Stout is a malty blend made with oatmeal and almond, and Beer Soap is a creamy classic made with whatever beer is available at the time.

Rum Beer Soap stems from a collaboration with Raleigh Rum Company.

Beard Soap is “a shampoo bar for your beard,” Edge said. Machinist Soap is a mix of charcoal, pumice and clay.

The company’s bestseller is Tobacco Bay, a blend of bay leaves and fir needles with notes of cedar and bergamot.

Breakfast Soap, another customer favorite, is made with grounds from Raleigh Coffee Company. It also includes Brüeprint’s Saison De Brüe, an ale made with Turkish figs and wildflower honey.

Les Stewart, head brewer at Trophy Brewing Company, said he had seen beer soaps before and was thrilled when Edge and Patton asked him to collaborate. Trophy was Raleigh Soapery’s first partner and now sells Cocobolo, a rich wood blend made with rye and a hint of roses.

“It helps to have our brand name on the soap, and it’s the only soap I wash myself with,” Stewart said.

Soaps are generally made using either a hot or cold process. The main differences are the amount of external heat, the time it takes the mixture to saponify, the curing time and the final product.

Raleigh Soapery uses a hot process, which requires more time hovering over a stovetop. Edge said she can test the soap’s pH levels and observe how liquids with different percentages of alcohol react with other ingredients.

Edge and Patton make the products at their homes. The soaps are made with natural ingredients, are vegan-friendly and do not involve animal testing, Patton said.

“It is important to us to be mindful of what you put in your body,” she said.

In August, the company launched Sport Beer Soap, which promises to cleanse the body after workouts.

Ross Yannayon, 53, director of hosting services at the University of North Carolina, describes himself as the soapery’s “number one customer.”

A beer fanatic who volunteers at craft beer events, he bought several bars at a pop-up shop about a year ago. He loved the unique scents and regularly buys them as gifts for relatives. His favorite scent is Oats & Stout.

“Most of the time novelty soaps are too soft or all lather,” Yannayon said. “I’m impressed by the quality and uniqueness of Raleigh Soapery’s products.”

Joseph Bland, owner of Raleigh Coffee Company, is also a fan of the soaps.

“It’s fun to be able to tell people that you can bathe in coffee,” he said.

Madison Iszler: 919-836-4952; @madisoniszler

Find out more

Learn more about Raleigh Soapery at raleighsoapery.com.

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