Christopher Warman Sr. is the CEO of Chocolate Moonshine, a gourmet fudge, chocolate, and hand-painted truffle bar manufacturer. Using traditional cooking methods, Chocolate Moonshine uses French and Belgian chocolate, Madagascar vanilla, and pure sugar cane ingredients to make delicious confections. Chris began a career in confectionery in 1983 and has since been recognized as a leader in the fudge category. He also has over three decades of experience in manufacturing, retail, and wholesale distribution.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- [02:02] Christopher Warman Sr. introduces Chocolate Moonshine
- [02:57] Chocolate Moonshine’s alcohol-infused and non-alcoholic products
- [04:35] Chris shares his background creating healthy products
- [06:29] The entrepreneurial journey
- [07:12] What were the challenges faced when building Chocolate Moonshine?
- [08:38] Chris’ proud moments building Chocolate Moonshine
In this episode…
Do you have a sweet tooth for chocolate? Are you looking for the best places to buy delicious fudge and chocolate?
Despite the growing awareness of potential health issues, people still crave delicious food. For chocolate lovers, Christopher Warman Sr. recommends purchasing confections from brands that prioritize healthy, pure, and fresh ingredients in their fudges. He shares his journey of becoming a leading figure in the gourmet fudge and truffle bar industry.
In this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast, Dr. Jeremy Weisz interviews Christopher Warman Sr., CEO of Chocolate Moonshine, about his journey as a gourmet fudge and chocolate manufacturer. Chris talks about Chocolate Moonshine, its alcohol-infused and non-alcoholic products, and the challenges he faced in his entrepreneurial journey.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- “A typical truffle might have 1,000 flavor notes.”
- “I don’t care what business anybody’s in, there’s going to be challenges.”
- “You literally need to put your shoulder down, keep focused, move straight ahead, and forget the noise.”
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Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships.
Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.
Insider Stories from Top Leaders & Entrepreneurs…
You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz.
Jeremy Weisz 0:22
Dr. Jeremy Weisz here I am the founder and host of inspiredinsider.com where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders. Today’s no different and this is a special episode. I am actually interviewing founders and CEOs live at the Sweets and Snack Show. And so check it out. We have some amazing companies featured check this episode out and before I get to that this episode is brought to you by Rise25. At Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships. How do we do that? We help you run your podcast. We are an easy button for an organization or business to launch and run your podcast. I’ve been podcasting for over a decade now. For me, the number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships. And I found no better way to do that than to profile the people and the companies I most admire, feature them on my podcast and shout from the rooftops so what they’re working on and what they’re doing. So if you’ve thought about starting a podcast you should, if you have questions, you can go to rise25.com or email [email protected] to learn more. Now check out today’s episode, live from the Sweet and Snack Show.
Jeremy Weisz here. We’re live at the Sweets and Snack Show. I’m here with Chris of Chocolate Moonshine. And Chris, tell people about your company and some of the products.
Christopher Warman Sr. 2:02
Well thank you for being here with us. We are a luxury chocolate maker. We’ve been producing chocolates and fudge for about 30 years now. The brand is Chocolate Moonshine and what we produce are handcrafted handmade confections with French and Belgian chocolate or bean-to-bar chocolate. What you’re looking at right there is a hand cast, piña colada that’s made with 34% Jamaican rum that’s made with fresh pineapple, fresh coconut. My mouth is watering just talking about it is absolutely off-the-chart delicious. On this line, we do about 20 flavors that are alcohol infused. We do 30 flavors without alcohol. If it is alcohol-infused, it’s cooked off, so it’s legal. But it has that incredible rum taste, or bourbon or whiskey or Irish cream flavor.
Jeremy Weisz 2:53
What are some of the fan favorites as far as the alcohol-infused?
Christopher Warman Sr. 2:57
Probably the top few are black cherry bourbon, that’s 54% distilled bourbon, that’s crushed black cherries. We have a smoked whiskey piece. And then we have a Rum Runner, which is 36% Jamaican rum. So those are some of the biggest ones. And we create different collections with the alcohol. We have one that’s the boozy collection, which is our top 10 booze flavors. We have a distillery collection, which is two each of our top five flavors. And those equal about 50% of our total sales. People love the alcohol. It’s fun, it’s delicious. And they’re not getting drunk, but they’re enjoying the experience.
Jeremy Weisz 3:37
So where can people find it? Where do they get it?
Christopher Warman Sr. 3:39
Well, if you go to a show, whether it be a craft show, for the last three days, we just had an anime show here in Chicago at Rosemont Convention Center. We served an average of 600 customers a day at that show. We sold several thousand pounds of confections. And we do approximately 100 shows a week on our busy weeks. We do about 2,000 shows a year. And then we do trade shows like this, where we’re engaging with a retailer, a high-end specialty retailer is where you’ll find our products, but quite a few shows too. We have a network of several 100 people that sell our product nationwide through shows through events through pop-ups. They may go into a retailer location, a prestigious grocery store, and you’ll see our product in the grocery store and they’re there for four days, they sell and they’re gone.
Jeremy Weisz 4:32
So Chris, what’s your background?
Christopher Warman Sr. 4:35
Well, it’s interesting, I became a health fanatic when I was 15 years old, decades ago, and I used to lecture on weight loss weight gain and I would travel around with other people and one of those lectures, it was at Hanscom Air Force Base, and the moderator the lecturer said okay break time and we’ve got jelly doughnuts a croissants in the back. And people get up and they marched the back like, oh my gosh, they’re just over trying to help them learn and teach about their weight and their eating jelly doughnuts croissants. I said, “All right, I’m going to give people something they want, but it’s going to be healthier for you.” So our items are made oftentimes with organic ingredients. They’re all natural ingredients. They’re made with lower amounts of sugar. And they’re made with finer processing ingredients as close to nature as you can get them. And we have a cult-like following, people just love it. They have fun, and they know it tastes better. One of the secrets of what we do is there are multiple flavor profiles in the item. So for example, our dark almond moonshine truffle bar has about 2000 flavor notes. A typical truffle might have 1000 flavor notes, and you have six different types of fat in that bar. So when somebody is going to buy an ice cream cones, they are buying an ice cream cone because it’s satisfying to the brain. But in this case, they’re getting the butter from the cream. They’re getting the butterfat from the butter, they are getting butterfat from different chocolates inside it. They’re getting the butterfat from a crushed almond paste, and you put all that together, it goes and it hits the brain, one after another after another. And because it’s all-natural, no additives or preservatives, it melts away on the palate. And they’re like, wow, that was an incredible experience. And that’s just one bar and we do 50 bars. So it’s a really fun experience.
Jeremy Weisz 6:24
At what point did you decide I’m going to start a business out of this?
Christopher Warman Sr. 6:29
Literally at Hanscom Air Force Base, going on almost 40 years now, I decided right then and there, I was going to open up a chain of gyms, and I was going to be in the health field. And I opened up a chain of candy stores. And I had stores in Cape Cod, I had ‘em in Pennsylvania. And this is what we do now. And I love it. We’re opening our first franchise in St. Marten soon. We’re opening in other countries. And we expect to open about 100 stores over the next couple of years.
Jeremy Weisz 7:03
I want to talk about some challenges. Also proud moments. Let’s start with some challenges. This doesn’t seem like an easy business, especially in the summer, maybe, I don’t know.
Christopher Warman Sr. 7:11
I don’t care what business anybody’s in, there’s going to be challenges. You literally need to put your shoulder down, keep focused, move straight ahead. Forget the noise. When I started out, we had one of the biggest chocolate companies in the world come to us at a show. It looked like we were given away $100 booths at the show. And they said are you big enough to supply and everybody knows the company? And I said “hell no.” But whatever fudge I do sell them the best damn fudge they ever had. They laughed, they came over and they said we want to do business. I subsequently sold them. hundreds if not millions of pounds of fudge. And they came in and they said “well, we want to co-manufacture your agreement. And we want to inspect your facility.” And they came in, I’m 20-some years old. And I could write a book. I mean, everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong. And the guy says at the end of the audit, he goes, “you do realize you failed, right?” I go “oh yeah, I know.” But he liked the fact that we had a trainable teachable spirit. And he said, “we’re gonna get you some help. And we’re going to show you what needs to be done.” And that started us on a whole another path. We now can deal with world-class retailers and people that without their help in the beginning, I would have never been able to do that. So that was one of the challenges just in the beginning.
Jeremy Weisz 7:12
What’s a proud moment or a couple proud moments that stick out?
Christopher Warman Sr. 8:38
There’s quite a few. We have been voted the best fudge in the world. It’s been featured in Candy Industry Magazine. We were on Good Morning America recently with this line. We just did, I think our 24th appearance with QVC over the last probably five months. And we’re building two more plants. And we’ve hired 250 people from the Bosnia-Herzegovina Serbia War and when that was taking place, and I was saying how am I gonna get all the people to make all this candy. Next thing you know somebody comes in said, do you need any staff we have 250 people we’re trying to employ. I hired them all hired more. So those are just good, heartfelt, beautiful things. I worked part-time as a missionary and we take a portion of what we do now. And we support orphans and build churches and water wells and help so many people. And without the blessings of the business. I couldn’t do those things. So just at the end of the night when you go to bed, and it’s midnight, you’re getting up early. You don’t mind when you know people are being benefited. It’s exciting.
Jeremy Weisz 9:43
Chris, thanks for sharing your story. Where can people find out more? Where should they go online to check it out?
Christopher Warman Sr. 9:48
Well we have chocolatemoonshine.com and they can order on chocolatemoonshine.com. We’ll be on QVC June 4, we’ll be on QVC June 8 again and this is fun and you’ll see us if you go to an event, again, we’re at about 2,000 events a year, and just look for us in grocery stores in different places for special events.
Jeremy Weisz 10:08
Chocolatemoonshine.com. Check it out. Thanks everyone.
Christopher Warman Sr. 10:11