It all started on Halloween in 2015 when we bought a lot of jalapeños for a recipe to make bacon-wrapped stuffed poppers. Instead of letting the jalapeños go to waste, we created our Jalapeño Lime hot sauce, which is the same recipe we use today. We began by having our friends and family taste our sauces and the feedback was endlessly positive, so we decided to branch out from there. Now it’s 2019 and I can tell you about the struggles, changes, and everything else along the way.
BS Hot Sauce was founded in 2018, by my wife (Samantha) and I (Brian), and we love what we do here. Every business has its ups and downs, but no matter what hurdle is thrown at us, we tackle it and get it done.
I always tell people, “I’m just the cook, my wife does everything else.” When I mean she does everything else, I mean the marketing, label making, designs, emails, scheduling, helping bottle, sealing bottles, filling bottles, etc... she helps with it all. That is what makes us successful in our business and marriage. We believe in working together and supporting each other, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
We like to think outside the box with our flavors and bounce our ideas off of each other. In most cases, if we can’t come to an agreement on a flavor, we give our customers a chance to help us decide, and let them vote on our Facebook page. We have 5 staple sauces; some of which we started making since the beginning, others just became popular and turned into year-round flavors. Some of our sauces include our Garlic Habanero, Horseradish Mustard, Pineapple Mango, Heated Jack and many more. You can check out our complete list of flavors here on our menu: https://bshotsauce.com/flavors.
We like to think of ourselves similar to a craft brewery because we change our sauces with the seasons. Anyone can make a hot sauce and call it hot, but try incorporating flavors and tone it down to make it enjoyable while still embracing the heat. That is the challenge we try to conquer every time, and we’re always up for a challenge. From customer reviews, we seem to conquer the flavor balancing challenge.
Like other craft hot sauce companies, we’ve had many failed flavors because we like to experiment. Although, one thing that helps us stand out is how flavorful, fruity or savory our hot sauces are. To us, it is all about the color and quality. With every batch made, we taste it to make sure it is perfect, and if it is not perfect, then we make it perfect.
This summer we tried something totally out of our element, cooking hot sauce with hops! We love beer and we love hot sauce so we created the perfect flavor profile to incorporate with hops, and our experiment worked out. Now we are starting our brew line of hot sauces and it is going to be fun to learn more about making hot sauce with hops and the complexity that comes with it.
I remember just trying to get everything started and not knowing where to start or what was involved in the process of becoming a Hot Sauce business in NJ. It was tough! We asked business owners what to do and we did tons of research, and even still that was not enough. But we jumped in and just went for it and learned as we grew.
Being a New Jersey-based company made the process a little more difficult to do local festivals and branch out because we do not have cottage food laws. This resulted in us doing more research, which lead us to find our perfect, local, commercial kitchen. They let us use the kitchen to cook, bottle, seal, and label our sauces. It is a local place where we can drive around the corner to make our sauce. The best thing is that we get to interact with the people affiliated with the commercial kitchen and some of the stories we learn and hear about are just amazing. The best thing is being able to donate sauces for their events, knowing we were able to be a part of the community.
In the vendor fair industry, it is all about connections, helping each other out and learning from one another. Every event is like a small community that sometimes travels and meets again. We have done multiple festivals and we are still learning, the best thing is the connections and learning from each other, which also helps us grow.
We take pride and passion in what we do. The best feeling in the world is when someone compliments our sauce and you see that look on their face that it’s really good. One day we had someone try our Mexican Mayhem, and when he had first tasted the sauce he instantly traveled into the past. The look on his face was just pure happiness, when we asked what happened, he explained that the flavors of that sauce reminded him of his mother’s cooking.
Not only are we building flavor profiles for our sauces, but we are also making sure our customers can taste the flavors. We put time and effort into each one. We try to use all local and fresh produce when it’s possible. Every visit to the farmers market is always a journey and sometimes plans change when we get there. We may go in with one plan and come out with a new plan depending on the freshness of the fruit. All produce is hand-picked to ensure freshness and that it’s the best taste possible.
We are a small family run business with hopes to grow big. We have the drive and passion in what we do, and we do not plan on stopping. We are BS Hot Sauce and we will be known and recognized for our hot sauce taste, flavors and amazing balance of heat and flavors. We offer the perfect mix of sweet, savory, and spicy. Sometimes people need a change in their hot sauce, and we feel we bring the perfect change and match for any food. Check us out, like us on Facebook, Instagram, and keep a lookout for our upcoming fall and winter flavors, new line ups are on the way, and we cannot wait to release them!
Keep it spicy,
Samantha and Brian Stark
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