The Distler's Pretzels Family with Senator Patrick Leahy
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Burlington Free Press
New developments for spicy favorite
April 19, 2012
Maple and cool ranch are now among the pretzel flavors Alec Distler, 16, of Williston distributes across New England. What started as an eighth grade challenge project, selling to his pals, has grown into a full-fledged entrepreneurial operation, and a successful one at that.
Distler is expanding. His spiced up, sourdough pretzels have a new name, logo and packaging. The company known as Alec’s Spicy Pretzels, is now, Distler’s Pretzels.
“Some people think we sold the company, but that’s not true,” Alec Distler said in an interview at this school. “It was a trademark issue. We wanted to trademark Alec’s Spicy Pretzels, but there was already a similarly named company in California. The name was just too close, so we decided on Distler’s Pretzels instead.”
The small venture, four years in the making, has gone from The Williston Farmers Market to distribution across New England, and soon to be in the hands of some pretty influential people.
Distler has been asked to have his pretzels featured in gift bags for the 33rd Annual Sports Emmy Awards in New York City on April 30. Distler’s Pretzels will be given to 800 of the most influential people in sports broadcasting including Bob Costas, Bryant Gumbel and Charles Barkley.
Alec’s Spicy Pretzels changes name
April 19, 2012
Spicy pretzel lovers can breathe a sigh of relief. Alec’s Spicy Pretzels didn’t sell out – it just changed its name.
“Everybody thinks Alec has sold the business,” said Williston resident Lynn Distler, mother of the family pretzel brand’s former namesake. “There’s a lot of rumors out there … like we sold it to Nabisco.”
The reason for the name change was much simpler.
The Distler family wanted to trademark its brand name, but lawyers advised that it was too similar to the California-based snack company Alex’s Fruits and Nuts. So, Alec’s Spicy Pretzels – which come in maple, ranch, spicy, x-tra spicy and fiery varieties – are now called Distler’s Pretzels, with the slogan, “Pretzels with a Kick.”
“We did this to grow our company,” said Lynn Distler, who added that Distler’s Pretzels will be featured in the gift bags handed out at the 33rd Annual Sports Emmy Awards, to be held April 30 in New York City.
Some young Vermont entrepreneurs are earning - and learning -
April 1, 2012
Reading, writing, arithmetic ... and money management? Financial-literacy programs are popping up all over, to school kids on saving, spending and investing wisely.
But some eager young entrepreneurs don't need professional help - they're figuring out money matters on their own.
We found several local "biz kids" - between 8 and 18 years old - who are turning their hobbies and skills into fledgling business ventures. Some of them spend what they earn; others give most of their profits to charity.
Alec’s Spicy Pretzels and young entrepreneurship in Vermont
Alec has always been a fan of pretzels. This was largely in part due to the great taste of his family’s recipe. Alec’s family would always use the recipe, which includes the infamous “kick” of Cayenne pepper, to bake up a batch of pretzels for holidays and events. As a result, Alec began to put his family’s recipe to use by bringing pretzels to Williston Central School for fellow students. From that point on, it was all history.
As Alec’s pretzels were becoming popular among his classmates, Williston Central School introduced all 8th graders, including Alec, to the 8th grade challenge. Alec, with a passion for entrepreneurship, decided to put this recipe to the test. He started producing pretzels and selling them at the local Williston farmer’s market. Things would quickly start to grow for Alec and his small venture to the point where it is today.
Alec’s business has found success and publicity beyond his local communities. Alec’s pretzels have appeared on the Rachael Ray Show and have been sold in Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium. It’s no coincidence that his pretzels have been so successful and that his choice to combine entrepreneurship and his family recipe would pay off.
Alec, now a junior at CVU, was kind enough to give us insight into his background, his take on young entrepreneurship, and where his business is headed down the road:
Tell us about your background and a brief history of your business: I was born and raised in Vermont, and have lived in Williston my whole life. I went to Williston Central School, and while at Williston you need to do an 8th grade challenge. We used to make them all the time for holidays and special events. I had already brought them into school and I thought it would be cool to sell them at the local farmers’ market to make some money for a charity. People started noticing, and then the pretzels were ordered by Champlain Valley Union (CVU). From then, it sort of just took off from there. Now there are 700-1,000 ordered every week from that school alone.
Burlington Free Press
Williston boy's snack to be on Rachel Ray show
By Lynn Monty • Friday, October 23, 2009
When Alec Distler, 14, of Williston, created “Alec’s Spicy Pretzels” for a school project, he never imagined the snack be featured on a nationally televised program a year later. Monday his popular pretzels will be “Snack of the Day” on the Rachael Ray Show. It airs on WCAX Channel 3 in the Burlington area from 9 to 10 a.m.