CrunchDaddy's Business is Popping

Dan Bazis is going full-time into the gourmet popcorn industry.

Dan Bazis, the CrunchDaddy, makes popcorn in the company's Savage facility. Credit: Andrew Metcalf
Dan Bazis, the CrunchDaddy, makes popcorn in the company's Savage facility. Credit: Andrew Metcalf

The good news for gourmet popcorn lovers in Howard County is that Dan Bazis, also known as the CrunchDaddy, is unemployed.

He was laid off from his day job as a government contractor. But that doesn't mean he's not working.

"It was the shove to go full-time," said Bazis, of Columbia, as he prepared to make a batch of peanut butter crunch caramel popcorn.

On a rainy October morning, Bazis paced around his new kitchen in Savage, the humidity made popping popcorn difficult. The kitchen is a modest size, about 500 square feet, but home to a popcorn popper, a caramel cooker and plastic tubs filled with different flavors of popcorn.

In less than an hour, Bazis would be pushing around a pound or two of freshly made peanuty-caramel popcron that shattered into crunchy pieces as he struck it with a scooper. (Click the video above to see how he makes it.)

Part of Bazis's success is his willingness to try unique flavor profiles. He offers sesame and ginger crunch, peanut-butter and jelly caramel, Maryland crab feast—featuring Old Bay—, and his top seller maple and bacon popcorn, just to name a few.

Bazis wouldn't claim originality on the maple bacon, but he did say he believes the white cheddar with horseradish as well as honey and cinnamon popcorn flavors are unique.

Bazis made a bit of a splash last year when his gourmet popcorn landed on HowChow Blog, Howard Magazine and Columbia Patch in 2012. 

At the time he was hand-delivering popcorn orders in the county.

Since then he has licensed his business, landed industrial kitchen space, and taken on popcorn making full time.

Now, he's beginning to plan for the hectic holiday season—an important time in the gourmet popcorn business.

"I've already started to plan the logistics of it," said Bazis, who added that he's preparing to release three new popcorn flavors in November, for the holidays.

The move to go into the popcorn business full-time is already beginning to pay off. Bazis landed deals with David's Natural Market, The Wine Bin, The Breadery and Decanter Fine Wines to carry his popcorn.


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