photo courtesy of Under the Willow
Beer might not sound like the greatest ingredient for soap. In fact, it might not sound like an ingredient at all. But make no mistake: the 5-ounce, hand-cut Chesapeake Beer Soaps from Under the Willow in Cambridge are some powerful cleaners—and they smell great, too.
Featured on Martha Stewart’s website and in Bedrooms & Baths magazine, Under the Willow, established in 2006, creates handcrafted soaps and laundry products.
Owner Carrie Garvin, a Rockville native, started Under the Willow with her husband after they moved to Cambridge. The Dorchester County company grew out of their shared love of hands-on crafts; its name came from a willow tree they’d planted in their front yard.
“[The tree] came to symbolize everything we had grown together,” Garvin says.
The beer soaps developed after Garvin talked with other soap-makers.
“[Beer soaps] had been getting great reviews,” she says, but there were not many varieties on the market, so she decided to try her hand at it. Garvin says that soap infused with beer creates a rich, creamy lather that’s hard to achieve with other ingredients.
The response thus far has been excellent.
“I think that most people haven’t heard of beer in a soap, so they’re curious and want to try it,” she says. “It’s something that they don’t normally see.”
Under the Willow’s beer soaps run the gamut of “flavors,” from Honey & Ale and Oaten & Stout to Pumpkin & Lager.
And in case you’re wondering: The soap-making process leaves no alcohol in the bars, so the only buzz you’ll get is off the sweet smells of Lavender Moon & Ale or Natterjack & Hops.
For more information on Chesapeake Beer Soaps and the rest of Under the Willow’s line of cleaning products, visit www.underthewillowshop.com.