The baking mix manufacturer plans to make a push for the specialty market.

By Stephanie Cain

Brand Castle, manufacturer of interactive baking kits, announced last week its acquisition of Aspen Mulling Company, the creator of mulling spices for ciders, specialty drinks like eggnog, and baking mixes. Aspen MullingThe acquisition is part of Brand Castle’s diversification and expansion plan. The company plans to retain the Aspen Mulling Company products, grow the product line, and cross-promote its own mixes to existing Aspen Mulling Company customers.

“Aspen Mulling Company is an ideal acquisition for us because it allows us to enter the beverage market,” says Jimmy Zeilinger, president of Brand Castle. “We plan to expand Aspen further into drink mix and grow Brand Castle more into the gourmet category." 

A leader in baking kits for both children and adults, Brand Castle offers more than 300 kits under numerous licensed brands, including Disney, Hello Kitty, and Crayola. While these kits stock shelves in well-known retailers like Bed Bath and Beyond, Toys R Us, Target, and Cost Plus World Market, the acquisition of Aspen Mulling Spices, largely sold at gourmet retailers, will open Brand Castle up to a new niche market. “It presents a foundation of independent retailers to which we can sell our existing products,” adds Zeilinger.

Zeilinger also notes that Brand Castle plans to develop more Aspen Mulling flavors. Currently, the spice mix brand, famous for its milk carton packaging, sticks to traditional varieties of hot and cold drinks that use mulling spices: rum, eggnog, and apple cider. 

Aspen Mulling Company’s president and owner David Kallen said that his spice mixes are sold in nearly 10,000 locations in North America and Europe. But the 40-year-old brand, which is certified kosher, largely all-natural, and made in the U.S., will benefit from Brand Castle’s marketing infrastructure, creative business development, and support for boosting the product line.

“The main directions in which we would like to grow the Aspen business are to expand the mulling/cider category and create a strong second category,” says Kallen. “I’m confident they can use their creativity to grow the Aspen brand.”