VISTA — San Diego County’s love affair with quality craft beers has been taken to the next level this year by a Vista soapmaker.
Scott Harms is the man behind Achieve Soap, a first-rate, homemade soap business completely inspired by brews.
Harms, the longtime San Diego County resident, said it all began when his significant other introduced him to homemade soaps. Surprised by the cost of each bar, he decided to learn how to make the suds on his own while working at Stone Brewing Co. in Escondido.
“I started with a few basic recipes and then found one that you could make with beer,” Harms said. “I always have more beer than I can drink so it was an easy decision to make my own beer soap.”
Although Harms has been making beer soap for roughly two years, he decided to start selling his creations this year, he said. Since launching his company to a mostly online customer base, Harms has sold hundreds of bars.
Harms said he has also learned a lot about how to make high-quality cleansers and what type of beer to use. He said he had to test numerous recipes, beers, fragrances and oils to create the perfect bars.
“Beer really affects the color of the soap,” Harms said. “I use IPA for light colors and stout for dark. The color has to match the smell and influences what fragrance I might choose.”
Using natural products such as olive oil, coconut oil, fresh hopes and lye, Harms began giving bars to friends and family before selling his products.
“For a whole year I gave soap away for free and asked for feedback,” Harms said. “I also watched a lot of other soapmakers on YouTube. It’s a valuable resource for learning technique and there are some insanely talented people willing to show you some of their secrets.”
But, the path to creating the perfect recipes was not easy, Harms said. For example, he learned that in order to use beer, you have to remove the alcohol portion.
“I have tried many recipes,” Harms said. “Not all were successful.”
One person who became crucial to his business, Harms said, was Stuart Lynch, a co-worker at Stone Brewing Co. Lynch assisted Harms with creating different flavors of soaps.
“Scott told me about his soap line and ideas for flavors with beer,” Lynch said. “So, we collaborated on that, coming up with some really interesting and unique scents.”
Describing Achieve Soap as a “unique product,” Lynch said he now keeps a bar of beer-infused soap at “every hand sink and shower in my house.”
Friends are not the only ones excited about the craft beer soap bars. Harms, who also works as a creative director for a local ‘80s band, has been building a customer base as well.
“So far the feedback has been very positive,” Harms said. “I had one customer tell me he uses it to shave and told me the lather was perfect. I took his advice and haven’t bought shaving cream since.”
Harms said he hopes to expand his niche in the beauty industry by building his business. He’s also working on creating a special Valentine’s Day soap that will smell like sour candy, he said.
“I really enjoy thinking of a concept and trying to bring it to life — the smell, feel and visual elements are all really important,” Harms said. “There are a lot of people out there making soap so a well-executed idea can help you stand out.”
For more information about Achieve Soap, go to achievesoap.com or follow it on Instagram at