Spreading the love of Banner Butter

With the help of 19th century dairy journals, Andrew McBath ’92 creates a better butter.

Andrew McBath, Drew McBath, Banner Butter, American butter, craft butter

Andrew “Drew” McBath ’92 left a career in politics and marketing to create his own food upstart, Banner Butter.

Spreading the love of Banner Butter

With the help of 19th century dairy journals, Andrew McBath ’92 creates a better butter.

Andrew “Drew” McBath ’92 claims he doesn’t want to “cover the world in butter,” but he does want consumers to give the dairy staple a second look.

“We want to bring a special product to as many people as we can,” said McBath, founder of Banner Butter, who is churning out small-batch cultured butter in Georgia.

“It’s not about volume. It’s introducing and getting people excited about something as seemingly commonplace as butter,” he said. “Rather than butter just being an afterthought, we want it to be something special. It’s about connecting with buyers who care about where their food comes from, how it affects their body and how it tastes.”

A political science graduate, McBath worked for “two governors and a president while I was in Austin” [Ann Richards and George W. Bush] before venturing into consulting and eventually marketing for a technology firm.


Never able to shake the craving to launch his own food upstart, McBath and his wife, Elizabeth, a federal prosecutor, set their sights (and taste buds) on butter. “We ended up with butter for several reasons,” he said. “Butter is a beautiful thing. It’s been around a really long time, it has so many wonderful uses and it’s in almost everybody’s refrigerator.

“But we also noticed there just wasn’t a lot happening in the butter world. Big producers treat butter like a commodity — they value cost, production speed and shelf life above all else, completely discounting taste, texture and nutrition,” said McBath. “We felt like there was an opportunity to create butter in a very methodical, old-fashioned way to make it taste really good and be good for you at the same time.”

The couple spent a year researching dairy journals from the 19th century, visiting with small creameries in northern France and talking to butter makers in Australia and Ireland. They started churning butter in 2014.

“We’ve failed many times,” he said. “But these small failures allowed us to get better and better and better — ultimately allowing us to get to the point where we’ve created a sustainable manufacturing process and a small-batch cultured butter that tastes really good.”


Millie Turner ’09 joined Banner Butter in 2015 as head of operations.

McBath left his marketing job and started working full time with Banner last January. The company’s other full-time employee — fellow TCU alum Millie Turner ’09 — came aboard as head of operations later in 2015. A dozen part-time employees round out the Banner team.

Banner Butter is creating a name for itself in farmers markets, select restaurants, first-class international flights on Delta Airlines and specialty grocers in Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas — including all nine Central Markets locations in Texas (look for it in the deli section).

“We’re getting a lot of big-box natural store attention, which is great,” said McBath. “It’s stretching us a little bit, but that’s cool.”

Banner sources its cream from two family dairy farms where cows are grass fed and hormone free. It uses good bacteria to ripen heavy cream before patiently churning it in small batches.

“For us the culturing process takes 36 hours,” he said. “You’re adding bacteria to cream to make it sour and thicken. This slow fermentation, along with a gentle churning process, produces layer after layer of beautiful flavors.”

While mass producers’ continuous churns can pump out 20,000 pounds of butter an hour, Banner’s small-batch production churns out about 800 pounds a week — and gives the company’s crew the flexibility to alter the amount of cultures, change the churning temperature or make other adjustments.

“All these things together make a really nice tasting, wonderful product,” said McBath.

Banner’s four primary butters are sea salt, unsalted, cinnamon cardamom ginger, and roasted garlic, basil and parsley. It also adds seasonal flavors — such as the dark chocolate sea salt Valentine’s Day specialty it created for Central Market.

“They all use that wonderful cultured butter as a base,” said McBath. “It takes us a long time to make, but it’s better. It’s better for you. It tastes better. And the texture is nicer.”

On the Web:
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