Yes, tacos and spicy food are pretty much a religion in Florida, hence the name Taco Jesus. The name and brand came first but here about the interesting story of how Taco Jesus became not only a popular brand name in 2015 but also a 2nd place winner in the 2015 World Hot Sauce Awards.
We really got into the hot sauce business through the back door. Instead of having a product that we needed to market like most people, we had a brand that needed to find a product to promote. The concept of Taco Jesus was originally concocted as part of a logo design contest run by some friends of mine who have a company called Brandiose that designs logos for professional sports franchises. The theme of their contest was "The Taco Shop League" and the mission was to create a back story for a taco shop, and then design the logo for a baseball team that was sponsored by your taco shop. My taco shop was called Jesus Gomez' Taco Heaven, and the baseball team was called Los Salvadores.
We didn't win the contest to have our logo put on a New Era cap, but the concept of Taco Jesus was born and the legend had begun. Taco Jesus started his own Facebook page and Twitter account and began posting random "proverbs" and espousing his undying love of tacos and he would spread the Taco Gospel to all who crossed his path. We started out just selling t-shirts and merchandise, but eventually some of my friends convinced me that I really needed to do something with the brand and so the hot sauce line was launched. After getting the business started in Florida I got in touch with a buddy of mine, Scott Benedettini, who I had grown up with and who now lived in California to help with growing the brand out on the west coast.
We had both grown up in Texas so our love of tacos and tex-mex food was a real way of life. We had both previously been in the restaurant business for many years and had always liked the unique hot sauces that mom and pop taco shops made way better than generic bottled sauces like Tabasco, etc. Personally, I was not into super hot sauces and really liked more savory sauces. Unique flavors were more important than heat level, and we've tried to make that show with our brand.
We've worked with several different co-packers since starting our operation and are always working to bring unique sauces to the market place. We do offer a Holy Ghost Pepper sauce and a Red Savina blend to appeal to those looking for heat, but our personal favorite sauces are the Mango Habanero, and the Garlic Habanero. We recently won a second place marketing award for the Mango Habanero at the World Hot Sauce Awards in Lafayette, LA and that has been our best seller by far.
We are still a very young brand having just brought our first products to market in early 2015, so we are really still just getting our feet wet. The industry though has really been a lot of fun, and the people involved with other hot sauce companies have been very receptive to our brand and offered a lot of encouragement. The whole industry is a very close-knit group and it has been great getting to know some really interesting people. We've still got a lot if ideas in the bag and new products we are working on so you need to keep their eyes open for new things coming soon.