When discussing liquorice (as one so often does), you may hear “it’s an acquired taste.” The king of gourmet liquorice, Johan Bülow, has set out to make sure that everyone acquires that taste. That’s right: the whole world. In his own words: “I want to make the world love liquorice,” Bülow says.
With a goal like that, where does one start? Johan began his journey in 2007, when he launched a pop-up liquorice shop in the small town of Svaneke, on the east coast of the Danish island Bornholm. His idea was to cook the liquorice in the shop, making sure everyone around the area could smell the enticing flavors. It sold out quickly, and Bülow knew that he had something special. He built a factory in Taastrup, just outside of Copenhagen, and began producing four flavors of liquorice: sweet, salty, red, and habanero. Their red liquorice is the only non-black variety, and it’s a surprising treat, made with red berries and bursting with a juiciness that transcends the typical Twizzler.
The popularity of the gourmet liquorice grew. In 2009, Bülow began selling chocolate-coated liquorice. And there, dear readers, is where the “whole world” idea comes in. Have you tried this stuff? It’s a great “gateway liquorice” product (just say yes to liquorice, kids), with high-quality chocolate coating a chewy piece of sweet liquorice. Between strong flavors and a great mix of textures, Bülow’s chocolate-coated liquorice was destined for success.
And, no surprises here; it’s been a massive hit. Lakrids by Bülow has become the go-to liquorice brand for those looking for a top quality treat that’s both gourmet and delicious. “I can’t say I’m shocked, no,” Bülow admits, “but the size of the response has been overwhelming!”
For the beginning of 2019, the brand is looking outside of Denmark. They’re focusing on both the chocolate-coated products, as well as the red licoqurice, which Bülow feels can be a new kind of treat for those who may have loved Red Vines as kids, but now want something more upmarket (and less…waxy. I love Red Vines but let’s be real, they taste like delicious wax). Formerly called Lakrids by Johan Bülow, the brand has dropped Johan’s first name; it is now called Lakrids by Bülow and the visual identity has been slightly tweaked for a more streamlined, minimalist look.
The brand has added a range of flavors to their chocolate-coated line-up, including passion fruit, salt & caramel, and the fantastic collaboration with Coffee Collective: Coffee Kieni. They’ve also taken on a deeper commitment to sustainability with recycled packaging. “It’s just about doing things the right way,” Bülow explains, adding, “for me, it’s something that starts at home. For example, my whole family has started to be more aware of food waste, and we figured out that we each need a cup of oatmeal in the morning. When we finish our bowls, it feels really good to have eaten everything that’s in front of us and not having anything to throw away.”
Bringing liquorice to the world is both a humble and grand goal, and Johan Bülow is the man for the job. With a range of flavors that will appeal to even the most anti-liquorice of us, Lakrids by Bülow is poised to make sure we’re all eating black liquorice (yes, even the salty kind) like the Danes.
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