EBP: Bold Badger Sauces
Extreme Biz Profiles is a series where you can learn more about Biz members' ventures while at the same time receiving a special offer! It then opens up to any questions you may have about their products, company history, industry hurdles, etc.
THE HOT SEAT
What is the name Bold Badger all about?
Badgers are just awesome. They're black and white, both good and evil. They're possessed of panda-bear-level cuteness, and wolverine-level viciousness. I have a whole back story, his name is Badger Scovington, he came to the new world to seek his fortune, and discovered the fiery peppers of the Caribbean. Then he brought them back to England and set Europe aflame with spicy goodness, his travels earning him his Bold epithet. Kind of like Captain Morgan, but with peppers instead of rum. And an anthropomorphic badger.
How long have you been in the sauce biz, and is this your main gig, or a side gig?
I was living in the dark ages until around the time the ghost pepper got popular. Before then I thought a cayenne was the hottest pepper there was. Once I tried one I was hooked. I quickly started growing ghosts and some of the many other chinense varieties I came to discover. I was cooking up vinegar-based sauces to preserve the peppers, and I couldn't believe what I'd been missing, they were amazing. Then I discovered fermentation, and it was just a whole other level of tastiness. After a few years of positive feedback from everyone, I decided to set up a company and try selling it. Now that I've been at this for a little while, I've developed a serious appreciation for the hard work that goes into making a good sauce. You start with a handful of seeds, and wind up with something so very tasty. That whole process is pretty gratifying.
But to answer the question, my first year in business was 2016. With just a rag-tag patch of scotch bonnet plants, and a dream, I wound up with about 300 bottles. I sold it mostly through the local farmers market. People seemed to love it, which encouraged me to go bigger the following year, which is where I'm at now. And no, the hot sauce is just an all-consuming hobby/obsession at this point, my day job consists of very nerdy computer stuff.
You have a nice array of sauces with a focus on pepper flavor, and I noticed you grow your own peppers, can you tell us about that? And is there a reason you don't name the peppers in some sauces? As in: "Ingredients... C. chinense, C. annuum, and C. baccatum peppers?"
Growing the peppers is half the fun for me. I love watching them go from tiny seedlings to majestic chest-high beasts, loaded with dangerously spicy pods. As I'm sure many users on this site know, there's something nice about growing things, developing a connection to the earth through these leafy creatures. I legitimately love fussing over them, watching them grow, watching the pods mature and change colors. They're like your kids, you get invested to the point that you're heartbroken when a big storm comes through and breaks a bunch of their branches. Also you can't exactly go buy 100 pounds of ghost peppers at the grocery store. The last two years they were grown at the Curtis Pike Community, in Richmond, KY, owned by my friends Rob and Margie. I made a deal with them to cut their grass over the summer in exchange for growing about 180 plants on their property. I also have another spot elsewhere with 50 plants. Eventually I'd like to have a few acres of land with my own on-site kitchen facility to make and bottle the sauce independently. And from there, onward to world domination, and Badger Scovington's dream of empire.
The reason I listed the ingredients like that is because it's $80 a pop to have a recipe approved for commercial sale, and making it generic allowed me to use the same recipe for multiple sauces. The Yellow 7 Pot sauce, for example, conforms to the recipe while containing 99% yellow 7 pots, and a few annuum and baccatum peppers. The same with my Overkill sauce, which contains 99% ghosts, scorpions, and reapers. Also last year I grew 29 different varieties, 21 chinense, 5 baccatum, and 3 annuum. All but Aji Madness, Overkill, and the Yellow 7 Pot sauce were made with a blend of more or less all of them. This year I've narrowed it down to mostly Yellow 7 pots, MOA scotch bonnets, ghosts, and a few others. I'll see if I can fix that this year and just list the exact varieties in the ingredients.
Do you have any new products or flavors on the horizon?
I always have a bunch of experimental batches going, they keep me company during the cold lonely winters. Currently I have a batch with plum, one with avocado, one with apple/pear, and one with strawberry/mango. If any of those turn out particularly awesome I'll probably produce a larger batch for sale this fall. I'm also growing more curry trees, so I should be able to make my curry leaf sauce, Rogan Ouch, more intensely flavorful. I really hope that one catches on. Curry leaves are so unique, and I just love them. I always thought if you could capture that flavor in a sauce it would be something special. The amazing chinense flavor is at the heart of all my sauces, but I do plan to introduce more annuums this year because I love a hint of the bell pepper taste as well. Other ideas I've had are a sauce made with only white 7 pots, they have a mellower flavor and a sweetness that most other chinenses lack, and one made with all chocolate varieties. I'd also like to produce some non-fermented sauces.
You recently won 2nd place in The Hot Pepper Awards with your Yellow 7 Pot Hot Sauce. Congrats! Just wanted people to know, but feel free to post your thoughts/reactions to winning!
I was pretty much elated to even come in 2nd. I entered last year on a lark, not expecting to win anything, and I didn't, but I started to see it as a challenge. It's sort of validation that my sauce is actually pretty good. That kind of validation goes straight to the pleasure centers of my medulla oblongata. I'm really thankful for THP in general, the forums, this profile, and the support you guys are giving me.
¡FIERY! QUESTION: I don't think many people know about your sauces, but they should! Have you thought about BADGERING them?
Yes, that's pretty much how I sell it at farmers markets, I see people buying pork chops, for example, from one of the neighboring booths and I go "you know what goes great on pork chops?..." I'm hoping the 50% off offer will prompt more people to give it a try. Even at the full price of $5 a bottle, it's priced way lower than most small batch sauces like this. The idea is to get people hooked on cheap sauce, then jack up the price once they're addicted. I'm borrowing this strategy from another very successful product, crystal meth (editor note:
). I'd really like to keep the price as close to $5 as possible, because I like to think that mine is a sauce of the people, but we'll see.
Use the coupon code THP2018 for a full 50% off every order, good through the end of June.