Pi Day is upon us—that’s March 14, the calendar equivalent of 3.14.
While you could commemorate the day by calculating the circumference of a few circles, it might be more fun to celebrate with pies and booze. Especially if they're combined into one compact package, such as a rosé-spiked blueberry lemon hand pie from Sara's Tipsy Pies.
Pie is more than just a product for Stillwater-based bakery owner Sara Hayden; after her mother passed away, baking with her crust recipe was a way for Hayden to keep tradition alive for her five children. Once the youngest went off to school, Hayden was in need of a flexible job and hit upon the baking business. She launched in grand fashion in 2012, scaling up her mom’s crust recipe with the help of a baker friend who loaned his expertise and bakery space and baking 250 Thanksgiving pies.
Hayden quickly realized she needed a niche to stand out in the competitive baking industry. She astutely reasoned that people like food with booze in it, and a cold call to Lift Bridge Brewery led to an early morning business meeting over beers. (According to Hayden: “I was drinking beer with them at 8 a.m., which felt quite naughty for a stay-at-home mom!”) Eventually, Sara’s Tipsy Pies was born.
Citing the early mentorship and support she received from both her baker pal and Lift Bridge Brewery, the tipsy pie titan makes an effort to collaborate with as many local companies as possible. She sources the alcohol for her boozy fillings from purveyors including Fulton Brewing, Chateau St. Croix, and Saint Croix Vineyards, and Finnegans donates the beer for Hayden’s “Pies with a Purpose” program, from which a portion of the proceeds is donated to the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota.
Hayden’s daughter Madi has Down Syndrome, and she’s proud to give back to an organization that provided her family with support. “[There’s] never a guarantee of success—I can just do my best, and partner with as many local companies as I can,” she muses, reflecting on the triumphs and challenges of small business ownership, adding: “Even if you’re a small company, you can afford to give something.”
Most people are familiar with Sara’s Tipsy Pies thanks to their State Fair presence, and the annual food-and-drink free-for-all serves as an important incubator for new flavors. “It’s a great test kitchen,” she says. “Where else are you going to get such a huge volume of taste testers?” During the rest of the year, she keeps busy catering events and weddings and selling her pies wholesale to area grocery stores.
While she got off to a bit of a rocky start—initially eschewing cardboard boxes in favor of shrink wrap, which wasn’t the best choice for a delicate product like pie crust—Sara’s Tipsy Pies are currently stocked in the freezer section at grocers including Lunds & Byerlys, Jerry’s Foods, Hy-Vee, and Kowalski’s. There are four flavors: Woozy Whiskey Pecan; Carousing Caramel Apple, a Pie with a Purpose made with Finnegan’s Irish Amber Ale; Razzy Apple Raspberry, made with Saint Croix Vineyard’s raspberry infusion port; and Boozy Blueberry Lemon, made with Chateau St. Croix rosé. The pies are frozen raw, which means you get a fresh-baked pie (and all the delicious smells that come along with baking it) in the comfort and convenience of your own kitchen.
Or, you can grab one at Burning Brothers Brewing's Pi Day party and pair it with a $3.14 Pyro pint.
Sara’s Tipsy Pies