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Chattanooga Times Free Press News Article - 11/22/17
Matt Vandergriff was traveling in western Kentucky when he happened upon a restaurant that sold strawberry butter.
"When I got home I looked everywhere for something similar, but I couldn't find anything," he said. "I guess that's how Chattanooga Butter got started."
What began as a hobby quickly spread to over 20 locations in the area, with the 2-year-old business's products in stores including Earth Fare, area Ace Hardwares and Riverside Wine and Spirits. And locals have a taste for the unique butter blends — the niche food provider has nearly 20,000 followers on its social media channels.
The butter is a unique blend of imported grass fed butter, coconut oil and spices. The coconut oil, in addition to adding a healthier component to the butter, also aids in the texture, making it much more smooth and spreadable, said Vandergriff.
But the biggest reason his butter is the better choice, Vandergriff explained, is because other brands pump their products with chemicals and bad-for-you oils, like hydrogenated vegetable oil. While the presence of such oils allows the butter to travel in summer heat and have a startlingly lengthy shelf life, the trans-fats in them are linked to heart disease, stroke and diabetes, among other chronic diseases. Meanwhile, the saturated fats in coconut oil have been shown to promote energy, speed up metabolism and help cholesterol levels.
Not only are the health benefits more desirable than other store-bought butters, but the flavor choices are wide-ranging. The inaugural flavor was, of course, strawberry, but seeing that initial flavor well-received by taste-testing family and friends, Vandergriff soon expanded to cater to other palates.
"The sweet tea butter is another popular one," he said. "It has even been featured in a dish at Bald Headed Bistro in Cleveland. The chef there is a personal friend of mine."
The gourmet farm-to-table restaurant just northeast of Chattanooga is nationally acclaimed with an eclectic grouping of entrees. At any given time, meats like bison and elk might be on the menu.
"The chef sautéed Brussels sprouts in duck fat and finished it off by adding our sweet tea butter. I have traveled the whole world, and it's one of the top three things I've ever tasted," Vandergriff said, adding, "If I could highlight anything about our business it would be our cooking butters. Of course our sweet, fruity spreads for breads and pastries are popular, but I want people to know about all the other possibilities."
Chattanooga Butter Company offers dozens of flavors — like maple candied bacon butter and Sriracha, shallot and scallion butter — and keeps a running list of potential test flavors at all times. Vandergriff said he's also hoping to partner with a spice shop in Franklin, Tenn., to generate some new flavor ideas.
"People approach me with new ideas all the time," he said. "We just keep testing them until they are perfect."
Next to join the menu is a new butter called "Nashville Hot Chicken," which Vandergriff hopes will spread the product to an even wider audience.
Nooga.com News Article - 07/11/17
TVA substation electrician Matt Vandergriff travels for work, so his business, The Chattanooga Butter Co., grew out of something he thought this side of the state was missing.
In addition to growing up in a family that cooks a lot, Vandergriff was going to restaurants in western Tennessee and Kentucky where they more often serve strawberry butter with bread.
“I would come back home to Chattanooga and there wasn’t a place for that,” he said.
And the more he thought about it, the more he realized there was a gap to fill.
“I started craving this; it got to the point where I was dreaming about it,” he said.
So he called his chef buddy at 3 a.m. and said they needed to make some butter. Within about two weeks, they’d come up with 15 flavors, he said.
Initially, he just produced it for Christmas presents, but eventually, it turned into a business.
Vandergriff also said he has a health-conscious clientele in mind. He doesn’t use unnatural, processed hydrogenated oils or other artificial flavors. The butter is made from 100 percent pure buttercream from grass-fed dairy and extra-virgin coconut oil, along with other ingredients that can be found here.
He makes the products in a commercial kitchen and sells them in retail establishments across the city, such as Elder’s Ace Hardware and Earth Fare. Customers can also buy them online and at area farmers markets.
The self-funded venture is doing “incredibly well,” and Vandergriff is working to keep up with demand as he continues his TVA job.
News Channel 12 - Let's Chatt! - 02/10/17
News Channel 9 - Made in Our Hometown - 02/03/17
In the South, a biscuit is the perfect addition to any breakfast. But one local company hopes, you don't stop there.
At Vinterest Antiques in Hixson, Matt Vandergriff is making sure Chattanoogans can enjoy his favorite pastime. "I've got cooking butters, I've got sweet butters, and I've got savory butters," he says.
In the commercial kitchen in Brainerd where the business rents space, they mix the raw butter, and first add in the coconut oil. "The oil surrounds and keeps oxygen away from the rest of the ingredients."
Matt and his cousin Tabitha say they make the most organic, healthiest butter around. "It's really good for you compared to a lot of the other options they have for you in big box stores," Vandergriff says.
But aside from the natural ingredients, flavor is their focus. "Within the first two weeks, we had about 20 different flavors we were trying out." The idea came to Matt when he started to travel, and found flavored butters in out-of-town restaurants. "My thinking was why not offer something like that to people here in Chattanooga."
So Chattanooga Butter was born. "As I grew up, I realized part of the reason I didn't like it, it was just so bland and so boring and I guess this is my attempt at making it more fun, healthy and a lot more flavorful."
Once the mix is made, each jar gets a scoop and the label that bears of the hometown of perhaps the most enthusiast butter fans around. "When they try it and they are like, 'Oh my gosh I've got to have that sweet tea butter!' That's always the reaction that I love to see," says Tabitha Vandergriff.
Watch Latricia Thomas's "Made in Our Hometown" report above, featuring how Chattanooga Butter makes their product. Visit their Facebook page, by clicking here. You can buy online or find them in several local stores.
Be sure to check out local News Channel 9 - Latricia Thomas' original article, here!
Local Farmer's Markets & Events That We Have Attended / Currently Attend
- The Chattanooga Market (Chattanooga, TN) - Sundays
- Erlanger Employee Craft Fair (Chattanooga, TN) - Fridays
- Crabtree Farms 100 Dinner (Chattanooga, TN) - 06/25/16
- Everything SHE Needs Market (East Ridge, TN) - 06/25/16
- Sunflower Stables Barn Sale & Market (Ooltewah, TN)
- Ooltewah Farmer's Market (Ooltewah, TN)