Seymour resident offers new kind of liqueur


Eric Stam stands behind the bar at Reno’s Cigar and Martini Lounge in downtown Seymour and grabs a bottle of non-dairy liqueur and cinnamon vodka before mixing a cocktail.

The 35-year-old Seymour resident calls the drink a Fire Bite, which is served over ice, and with cinnamon toast flavor, the drink will be perfect for fall.

The new non-dairy liqueur used in the cocktail is Almond Bite, the flagship spirit from Crossroads Distillery founded by Stam and his business partners. The company, based in Indianapolis, began offering the product at liquor stores and bars about seven months ago.

Distribution is only available in Indiana right now, but there are about 100 liquor stores or bars that stock the product. Reno’s Cigar and Martini Lounge, Hildreth’s Liquor Mart and Vick’s Liquor Store in Seymour each carry it as well as Happy Herman’s Package Store in Brownstown.

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Stam has been pushing sales of the product and educating consumers about its benefits and how to use it.

Almond Bite is a new product that competes with traditional dairy liqueurs, like Baileys Irish Cream liqueur, only it uses almond milk.

That gives those with lactose intolerance, celiac disease or those who follow a vegan diet an alternative option. The company distills it with vodka and almond milk along with a few other all-natural ingredients.

While the spirit is a great alternative for those with food restrictions, Stam said even those without them enjoy the product.

"Almond Bite is for everyone, and even if you don’t have those dietary requirements, it’s a great product that tastes good," he said. "It’s a smooth, different type of product that has a standard amount of alcohol. It’s also a healthier option with half the calories, carbohydrates and sugar than our competitors."

At 30 proof, the product is smooth and has a creamy body with a good balance of sweetness and roasted characters.

The idea to start the company came when Stam’s uncle, Blake Hackman, was researching the family farm for the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s Hoosier Homestead Award.

"The farm has been in the family since the Civil War era, and we were talking about what the generation would do to get it to 200 years," Stam said. "We want to be creative and innovative on how we do that."

Inspired by his grandfather, Earl Hackman, who installed an innovative dairy parlor in his early days of farming, Stam thought about how he could follow that path. He one day hopes to grow the corn used to make Almond Bite.

"He started that all from scratch," he said, adding that’s how the recipe for Almond Bite was created.

Around the same time, Stam and his business partners were exploring market gaps in the liquor industry by talking with liquor store owners, distribution companies and more.

Stam, who does not have dietary restrictions, said they quickly noticed there weren’t very many products for those who had them despite other industries creating alternatives.

"If you walk through a grocery store, you see that section growing," he said. "There isn’t a product filling that gap in liquor."

So Stam started assembling a team of partners, two of whom are chemists, and a board of directors with an array of backgrounds. Those backgrounds include industry experience, finance, design, foods, operations, retail and more.

"Having a well-rounded team around us to chat through it and work through different ways we need to get better to improve the company is great," he said.

That team worked for years to develop the recipe they wanted with the correct balance they desired.

"It took a little while to get here, but we wanted to do it right, and we’re really happy where we landed with the product," he said. "Food trends are changing, consumer habits are changing, people are purchasing different things."

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Use Seymour native Eric Stam’s new non-dairy liqueur, Almond Bite, in a variety of recipes.

Fire Bite

1 part Almond Bite

1 part cinnamon whiskey or cinnamon vodka

Directions: Combine Almond Bite and cinnamon whiskey or cinnamon vodka and serve over ice.

Indiana Bulldog

1 oz. vodka

1 oz. coffee liqueur

⅓ cup Almond Bite

⅓ cup cola

Directions: Mix ingredients into a tall glass. Stir. Serve over ice.

Almond Bite and Coffee

1 cup coffee

1 oz. Almond Bite

Directions: Brew coffee. Add Almond Bite.

Almond Bite Amore

3 parts Almond Bite liqueur (chilled)

1½ parts vanilla vodka

1 part maraschino cherry juice

Egg white

Directions: Combine chilled ingredients into a cocktail shaker, no ice. Dry shake (no ice in cocktail shaker). Strain into a champagne flute. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.


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