Runners often describe our adventures as epic, and we are always working to do justice to that title both through trip design and through those we partner with. So, linking up with another local Austin company who essentially created an entirely new market segment based on sustainable, delicious, adventure-ready food was a no-brainer to say the least. EPIC Bar is doing big, creative things and will now be hooking up our trip participants with goodies and perks - get to know them via the interview below, and you'll understand why we're so excited!
RE: First things first. What’s an EPIC Bar? Do you make things other than bars?
EPIC: EPIC bars are animal based energy bars made from pastured whole muscle meat, dried fruits, and nuts. They are savory and consistent with our evolutionary diets and deeply coded genetic makeup. Our bars are naturally high in protein and low in sugar and carbohydrates! We also make jerky (EPIC Bites), a trail mix for an omnivore (Hunt & Harvest), traditional cooking oils, and salad boosters (Bacon Bits)!
RE: The word “epic” gets thrown around a lot – what makes you the real deal?
EPIC: We were the first company to sell a protein/energy bar made from grass fed animal muscle meat! EPIC pioneered an entire new category in the grocery store and has been the fastest growing company in our category. Our Bison Bacon Cranberry bar is the #2 selling bar in all of natural grocery… that’s pretty damn EPIC.
RE: When Rogue Expeditions first started, getting the word out was difficult because running vacations were a relatively new concept – no one knew that it was an option. How did EPIC get started, and did the idea of meat-based bars present similar challenges early on?
EPIC: We launched EPIC at the largest natural grocery trade show in the world. There were tons of skeptics and people who thought that a meat bar was “weird”. We focused on our own brand and mission early on. We avoided any distractions and stayed focused on making the best tasting and highest quality products in the market. Through hard work and “playing to win” our idea started catching on and going mainstream. One of the biggest keys to our success was having people sample our bars at in-store demos and at events; once we put them in new consumers hands, they were hooked.
RE: Our international travels expose us to many different ways of eating, but a commonality across many different cultures is to let nothing go to waste. That isn’t as typical here at home, but you are doing it through the Whole Animal Project, and we love it! What are some ways that you’re utilizing more and wasting less?
EPIC: We feel that using the entire animal is the only way to honor the amazing creatures that lived majestic lives and died to provide us with nourishment. It also turns out that the less utilized parts (bones, organs, fat) can be some of the most vitamin and nutrient packed cuts! Our human ancestors were well aware of this and would often consume these “alternative” cuts first. We now make a bone broth beverage by boiling the collagen and gelatin packed bones, a jerky product from liver (a superfood unlike any other), and traditional cooking oils derived from rendered fat.
RE: We just heard something about a ranch. What’s the story?
EPIC: We are in the process of starting a ranch right outside of Austin TX! This ranch will not only raise the animals we use in our products but also serve as an educational hub where people from the community can visit and learn about regenerative land management as well as livestock. We are going to emulate the Serengeti Plains of Africa and have multiple species all sharing the same pastures! Imagine bison mixed with cows, goats, sheep, turkeys, chickens, ducks, and pigs! Its going to be EPIC.
RE: Who comes up with the flavor combinations? What’s your absolute favorite?
EPIC: Our founder Taylor Collins still comes up with the flavor combinations. He is a mad scientist when it comes to food and ingredient combinations! Our most popular product is the first bar we ever created; the Bison Bacon Cranberry bar!
RE: Our trips are jam-packed with running and seeing and doing, and while local specialties are a highlight of any travel experience, we’ve got to keep people fueled all day long. What is your top EPIC choice for fueling during a big trail run? Or for when the munchies hit during a long safari drive? What about for overseas flights – what’s your top pick for supplementing the food court choices and airplane meals?
EPIC: My go to fuel during a long run is the Beef Habanero Cherry Bar! I also love the EPIC Liver Jerky… you can taste the vitamins and minerals in that product. For a long day of travel I will feast on the Bacon Lust trail mix! It’s the most amazing combination of everything I love!
RE: We can’t wait to bring your products to Patagonia with us next week! What’s the most epic place that EPIC has been spotted so far?
EPIC: The most EPIC place we have taken the products to is actually Patagonia!!! We ran to the famous Fitz Roy peak and slammed bars on top!
RE: We hope to get some of your crew along for a trip soon. Morocco, Patagonia, Kenya, Europe, Tahoe, Bend… where to first?
EPIC: Lets do Europe! Climb some monster mountains and eat some amazing food! That sounds like heaven to me.
All 2016 trip participants will get to try out EPIC bars for themselves, and will receive great discounts to stock up with. Everyone else can check out and try out what they've got here.