About

Fernie’s Funnel Cakes has been an enduring fixture at the State Fair of Texas for more than five decades, tracing its roots back to 1969 when the Winter family first joined the fair as a humble vendor.

Since then, Fernie’s Funnel Cakes has evolved into an unmistakable symbol of delicious, deep-fried fairground cuisine. Proudly helmed by the dynamic sister-duo of Christi Erpillo and Johnna McKee, Fernie’s Funnel Cakes launched a new iteration of the brand, Fernie’s Funnel Cake Cream, in September of 2023. This sumptuous wine-based cocktail was inspired by their iconic carnival delight. Each 750 ml bottle of Fernie’s Funnel Cake Cream contains 13.9% alcohol volume and price varies per retailer.

Drawing from their remarkable 54-year legacy of culinary craftsmanship, Christi and Johnna have masterminded an unparalleled concoction that seamlessly blends the essence of Americana with a touch of sophistication. Fernie’s Funnel Cake Cream boasts a unique fusion of the freshest cream, the finest wines, and an array of natural flavors. It strikes the perfect balance, mildly sweet with enchanting hints of vanilla. Whether savored straight, over ice, blended into your favorite libation, or even enjoyed as a dessert, the possibilities are as limitless as your imagination.

The inception of Fernie’s Funnel Cake Cream can be traced back to a serendipitous moment in 2022 when Christi Erpillo stumbled upon an advertisement for king cake liqueur in a liquor trade magazine. Inspired by the idea that people across the world indulge in funnel cakes at fairs and festivals year-round, Christi knew she had stumbled upon a remarkable concept.

Most would have let this idea fade into oblivion, but Christi had a powerful ally in her corner: her husband, Bert Erpillo, a luminary in the liquor industry with a wealth of connections and expertise. As the founder of Beverage Marketing Assoc, Bert had played a pivotal role in the success of iconic brands like Tito’s Vodka, Jägermeister, Chambord liqueur, and Pennsylvania Dutch Eggnog. He joined forces with Christi and her sister, Johnna McKee, embarking on an extraordinary journey to bring Christi’s vision to fruition.

The initial challenge was to craft the perfect recipe and flavor profile. While many would have opted for a traditional liquor base like vodka, Fernie’s Funnel Cakes remained resolute in their belief that a wine-based product was the way forward. Christi shared her insight, stating, “I read that 42 million people annually attend fairs in the United States and Canada, so we wanted to cater to all these diverse venues, from fairs to convenience stores and grocery outlets. There are around 2,500 liquor licenses in the state of Texas, but there are a staggering 50,000 convenience stores. The math was crystal clear to me.”

Given that only beer and wine are permissible at the State Fair of Texas, Fernie’s found a trusted partner in David Tindol at Specialty Blends in Dripping Springs, TX. Whom they have collaborated with for years on the wine-based alternatives used in their margaritas and daiquiris. Convincing Specialty Blends to copack and bottle their new wine-based cream was a seamless endeavor. In addition, they joined forces with Green Light Distribution, headquartered in Coppell, Texas, a company that recently clinched the number four spot on the esteemed 2023 Inc. 5000 list. Already, Green Light Distribution has secured orders from renowned retailers like HEB, Central Market, and Goody Liquor stores, propelling Fernie’s Funnel Cake Cream toward even greater heights of success.