Forever Clean Soap Works owner creates handmade beer and wine soaps

NILES — While libations can be used to liven up a party or bring out the flavors in a cooking dish, one local business owner is using them to put a novel spin on her soap products.

Forever Clean Soap Works owner Lisa Miller has been mixing in locally sourced beer and wine as an ingredient in some of her handcrafted soap bars.

“The alcohol turns into sugar and the sugar makes bubbles,” Miller said.

For $5.99 each, customers can purchase hand crafted wine soaps dubbed “Wine a Little.” Her latest batch of wine soaps utilizes red demi sec wine from Baroda-based Round Barn Winery, Distillery & Brewery.

For the same price, beer soaps created from Anger beer from the Sawyer-based Greenbush Brewery are also available in “Tobacco and Leather” scent.

New this week, the wine and beer soaps are also paired with 100-percent soy candles. The candles are poured locally by an artisan at Four Flags Candles. The candles contain scents matching the wine soap and cost $12.99 each. Candles paired with the beer soap are scented sandalwood and patchouli and intended to complement the scent of the soap.

Miller said customers are initially curious about what wine and beer soaps smell like.   

“They might be a little scared to smell it. They are like ‘I don’t want to smell like beer,” Miller said. “They smell it and then it does not smell like beer or wine and they are happy with that.”

Miller adds the beer or wine in with oils, butters and goats milk. The ingredients are melded together in a crock pot and the alcohol is cooked out through the process.

The finished product results in a wine soap that has a fruity and clean scent, with just a trace of the grapes used to create the bar. The beer soap has a deep musky scent, indicative of the dark beer that makes up the soap.

Miller said she got the idea to craft beer and wine soaps after doing some research on making soap products. They have been a customer favorite since she first opened her business more than three years ago, she said.

“People like that it has a really good lather and that it feels good on your skin,” Miller said.

The soap bars make great gifts for Valentine’s Day, Christmas or other special occasions, she said.

Miller said each batch of beer or wine soap typically features a different local beer or wine, depending on what inspires her while making grocery store trips. Customers can also request custom made beer or wine soaps based upon their libation of preference. 

With the first Niles brew pub, Voyageurs, in the works, Miller said she hopes to eventually partner to craft exclusive Niles beer soaps. 

“I think that would be a great novelty item for people,” Miller said.

Outside of Niles, Miller also sells the beer soaps wholesale to Silver Harbor Brewing Company in St. Joseph.

While the soap is available only in bar form, Miller said she hopes to begin experimenting with creating liquid soaps of all varieties.

Miller said she takes pride in crafting handmade soaps that are not stripped of moisturizing glycerin — a soap byproduct that many name brand labels remove and replace with artificial sudsing agents, therefore resulting in a product that can dry out the skin, Miller said. Through the handmaking process, Miller leaves in the ingredients that moisturize and clean skin together. 

With a knack for crafting soaps with a signature twist, Miller said she hopes the products leave customers feeling refreshed.

“Handcrafted soap is so much better for your skin,” Miller said.

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