THE HUB: Alec’s Spicy Pretzels changes name

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Due to trademark issues, Alec’s Spicy Pretzels is now called Distler’s Pretzels. The family-owned business began as an eighth grade project of then-Williston Central School student Alec Distler. (Photo courtesy of Alec Distler)

Spicy pretzel lovers can breathe a sigh of relief. Alec’s Spicy Pretzels didn’t sell out – it just changed its name.

“Everybody thinks Alec has sold the business,” said Williston resident Lynn Distler, mother of the family pretzel brand’s former namesake. “There’s a lot of rumors out there … like we sold it to Nabisco.”

The reason for the name change was much simpler.

The Distler family wanted to trademark its brand name, but lawyers advised that it was too similar to the California-based snack company Alex’s Fruits and Nuts. So, Alec’s Spicy Pretzels – which come in maple, ranch, spicy, x-tra spicy and fiery varieties – are now called Distler’s Pretzels, with the slogan, “Pretzels with a Kick.”

“We did this to grow our company,” said Lynn Distler, who added that Distler’s Pretzels will be featured in the gift bags handed out at the 33rd Annual Sports Emmy Awards, to be held April 30 in New York City.

What began as a Williston Central School project for Alec Distler – now a junior at Champlain Valley Union High School – became a phenomenon after his pretzels were featured on the Rachael Ray Show in 2009.

When asked if he will try to incorporate the pretzel business into his graduation challenge at Champlain Valley Union High School, Alec Distler laughed.

“I’m not totally sure, because that’s supposed to be new learning,” he said, “but I’ll probably find a way to sneak it in there.”