We Are Launching Our Own Food Brand!

Shaun and Emily Durkee

Hey guys, we have some exciting news to share with you! Later this fall we are launching our own backcountry food lineup! Before we tell you more about that, we wanted to share a little bit about our story. Thank you so much for sharing in our journey...

Our Story

It has always been Shaun's dream to start his own company. While pursuing an engineering degree at MSU Bozeman, Shaun also studied entrepreneurship and small business management. After college, he worked for a variety of manufacturing companies including The Boeing Company in Seattle and a Montana laser optics manufacturing company. In 2018, we took the first steps towards making Alpen Fuel a reality. After picking out a company name and getting a website up and running, we jumped in and started making a few sales. As Shaun worked full time as a manufacturing planner/engineer for the laser component company and Emily was at home with two young kids, we worked on the business on evenings and weekends. It was our hope that we could slowly grow the business and Shaun could eventually step away from corporate America and work on something he was truly passionate about. Alpen Fuel slowly grew as we spread the word through podcasts and social media giveaways. Over time, we created relationships with 18+ other small brands that formed the foundation of our store.

Alpen Fuel Launch

Fast forward to 2020, and everything quickly changed. In June of this year, Shaun was laid off from his job of 9 years as a result of the economic downturn surrounding COVID-19. After the initial panic wore off, we discussed the opportunity that had just fell in our lap. We quickly decided that if we really wanted to make our dream a reality, we would have to grow Alpen Fuel substantially. We quickly settled on a few product ideas and starting doing research on what it would take to become a food manufacturer. In the last several weeks we have: crammed a home office into our bedroom, took a food safety certification course, picked out a commissary kitchen to use for manufacturing, developed food recipes, read through the 132 page FDA Food Labeling Guide (link included in case you need help sleeping), worked on label designs with our designer, and sent test meals out to testers from New Mexico to Alaska. Our meals have already put some serious miles in backpacking the Sierra High Route (thanks Stephen!) and the Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness. Last week, Shaun was deep in the Montana backcountry (see Journal Article for recap) on his annual summer trip, learning if these meals could fuel sustained backpacking activity at 10,000+ feet. Initial tester feedback has been very positive.

"I wanted to let you know that I used your meals
this past weekend. My wife and I did an overnight
and packed them for breakfast. Seriously, one of the
best tasting products I've had in a while!
I'll be first in line when they're available!"

-Alpen Fuel Meal Tester

What is the product and when do we launch? Thanks for asking :) While we can't tell you everything quite yet, we can say that they taste amazing, will give you tons of energy, and are super quick to prepare. As far as our timeline goes, we are currently working on finalizing our packaging design (hope to have preliminary designs complete this week!) and then we will get the pouches manufactured. We are targeting a November launch. We are excited for what the future holds, thanks for being a part of it with us!

-All the best,
Shaun and Emily

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