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Always Flavored craft hot sauce story

Always Flavored company story by - Rita Witte

My first memories of hot sauce date back to when I was a kid growing up in a house full of flavor lovers. My mom loved heat, but my dad could not stand it. She used to eat jalapeños out of the jar, while he would cringe. One day she gave him the wrong dish, and his eyes teared up, face turned red, and he just about cried. The funniest part is that my dad was a big strong Marine. My parents’ balance of heat and flavor is my biggest influence. I watch my family enjoy wonderful flavors from all over the world and add heat to enhance the experience. 
In 2020 as COVID took over the world, like many Americans we had a home garden. Growing way too many hot peppers which I did not want to waste, I decided to try my hand at making hot sauce after researching a few recipes I found online. My experience working with former coworkers at previous jobs provided me with a basic understanding of how peppers work together. The first sauce I made was our award winning Ritabeata’s Mild Sauce. The recipe was simple, but the balance of the peppers gave it a unique flavor. The sauce was well received by all of my friends and family, with the only feedback being that it was not hot enough, so I went back to the kitchen and created Ritabeata’s Hot! 
The Always Flavored name was born from the definition of the word “always”, which is defined as “at all times; on all occasions”, and “flavored”, defined as “having a particular distinctive quality”. Food is such an essential part of our daily life that I believe every meal should be a distinct quality experience. It is our promise to our customers and our community that we will always be flavorful, customer focused and community oriented.

A week in my world is crazy because we spend so much time chopping, fermenting, bottling, and coming up with new recipes! On top of all of that, we spend time out and about in our community selling at local events and supporting local non-profit businesses. I am often found meeting with local business owners game planning how we can improve the neighborhood our location is in. 
But my favorite part of the week is my time off! My husband Chris is my best friend who has helped in every step of this business. I make the sauce, and he bottles and labels it! We have two amazing kids Anastasia and Gavin, who love being a part of this business! Ensuring the Witte home runs smooth is a chaotic adventure which consumes a lot of our time, so we are always looking for those opportunities to step away. When the opportunities arise, we love creating memories by going on vacations and showing our kids the world!

The most challenging part of this journey has been learning how to do
something completely new. I have been in the restaurant and food industry my whole life, but manufacturing is completely different. I spend a lot of time learning, testing, and researching how to improve our processes and standards, ensuring we are making a quality product that is appealing, safe, and cost efficient.

I make hot sauce because I hate bland food! We are unique because our main focus is flavor before eat. As a person who has been in the food industry my whole life, flavor is my culture, not heat, but working with so many types of people from all over the world I have learned that you can do both. Studying the peppers and ingredients has taught me to find the flavor of some of the world’s hottest peppers.

We source about 70% of our ingredients from local farmers. I spent time partnering with them to ensure they can produce the peppers we need.

My most memorable moment was the day my best friend, who had been helping me make sauce, made me realize we had a great product and that if I didn’t figure out how to be consistent we were wasting our time. We had been making sauce for about three months and had a few batches under our belt, but they all tasted different. Her advice made me realize that not having a consistent recipe and following it to the tee would mean we would never grow. I walked away from that conversation with a new approach to each new recipe and have applied it every day since. Either we do it right and grow, or we are simply wasting time.

We have grown so quickly since 2021 when we sold our first bottle of sauce and have learned so much. In the two years we have done over 150 events, opened a bistro/retail location, won two awards, and donated over $6,000 back to our community! To imagine what 5 years from now will be like is scary, but thrilling. I hope we will have secured a distribution agreement to get our sauces on more store shelves. There are no signs of slowing down, so we will continue focusing on servicing our current customers with an exceptional customer experience, innovating flavor-driven products, and strategically partnering with like-minded business across the US.

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