Bacon made to order: Bespoke Bacon puts in the flavor you want

Kevin Weidamoyer adds hickory wood while smoking bacon. He and Brian Wolfinger and Bryan Cohen started Bespoke Bacon in October, and have a production facility in Telford.
Kevin Weidamoyer adds hickory wood while smoking bacon. He and Brian Wolfinger and Bryan Cohen started Bespoke Bacon in October, and have a production facility in Telford. (LUKE RAFFERTY / Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 14, 2013

Believing you can improve something most people already love demands a special kind of audacity.

Such boldness serves as the cornerstone of nascent Montco company Bespoke Bacon, sizzling its way into the meat market with off-kilter flavors and an uncommon interest in the proclivities of pork zealots.

Its name inspired by the custom haberdasheries of London's Savile Row, Bespoke was founded in late 2012 by Lansdale residents with a shared passion for scratch cooking.

"We're all frustrated chefs and food nerds at heart," said Brian Wolfinger, a former cybercrimes detective with the Philadelphia Police Department who in 2005 founded L Discovery, a digital forensics firm.

After the Bridesburg native and his longtime pal, tree surgeon Kevin Weidamoyer, became friendly with neighbor Bryan Cohen, the trio began bonding over food, manning one another's backyard grills and smokers.

"We're the kind of guys who, when we're eating something, we're thinking about the next thing we're going to eat," said Cohen, who works in Web development for Pfizer.

Last spring, Wolfinger tried his hand at homemade bacon. He dry-cured a small batch the old-fashioned way - no preservatives, liquid smoke, or other shortcuts - and gave it away to friends and family. The response was so positive that he knew he needed to make more.

Cohen linked his friends up with a butcher who could provide them with local pork belly, and the trio began experimenting with methods and varieties.

Though some flavors were internally inspired, the majority were based on requests from clients, speaking to the "bespoke" mentality. A couple who'd vacationed in Morocco requested a North African-flavored bacon. A chef friend commissioned Sichuan, cured with Chinese wine and five-spice.

A group of capsaicin fanatics received Volcano, an ungodly hot bacon bolstered with ghost, seven pot, and scorpion peppers. North Wales' Prism Brewing worked a big order into Insana-Stout, a bacon beer.

What began on a homemade whim has exploded into a full-fledged business, aided mostly by word of mouth.

"The market grabbed us by the scruff of our shirt and started dragging us down the street," said Wolfinger.

They recently moved into a production facility in Telford, and Wolfinger estimates they have been selling roughly 1,000 pounds a month at $10 to $11 a pound. Restaurants, breweries, and caterers are knocking, but Bespoke, for the moment, is still very much driven by the flavor desires of individual clients.

"I don't think we really make anything that's regular," said Cohen.

"I want people to get bacon that they want," said Wolfinger.

They suggest contacting them directly via their site for sales and questions: http://bespokebacon.com

Right now their bacon is on menus at City Tap House, Cantina Feliz, and 2nd Street Brew House. Prism Brewing uses the bacon on its menu and in its beer.

They've already done Philly Beer Week events with Yards, Prism, and 2nd Street Brew House. Ahead: Lansdale Beer Fest on June 22; COOK class, June 23; Kegs and Corks for Cancer in Doylestown, July 13.

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