Extreme Biz Profile: Bold Badger Sauces

The Hot Pepper

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.

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: :rofl:). 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.

Oh My...Wow.  Ummmm...YIKES!  
I gotta take a step back, re-wine and read this all again. 
Quick question...since this is Q&A.....!!!! 
Are all the sauce fermented?
and NO I haven't looked at the website.  :lol:  It's probably answered in there somewhere. 
Good call on the generic pepper listings.  If the label says a certain specific pepper and you don't have it....not good.  Generics gives you a lot of flexibility and if the PA signs off on it, then good to go!  100 grams of 7 Pots is 100 grams of peppers.  Shouldn't matter the variety of 7 Pot.
I'm off to check out the website.  Thanks for posting the BizProfile, Best wishes for a most successful pepper sauce business! 
Ah'll be back!
lol yeah I tend to be a bit wordy.
Yep, they're all fermented.  I added berries to the berry sauce both pre- and post-ferment.  The curry leaves were added to the Rogan Ouch sauce at cook time, same with the smoked peppers in the Chipotle sauce.
Another thing I should mention, to get the proper shipping charge to be displayed on my site you have to enter the state, not just the zip code.  I have it calculating state to state, not zip to zip.  Zip to zip would have been like 2 million rows in my table rate data file, state to state was only about 1500.  I imported the USPS zone info and a zip to state mapping into mysql and it still took like 20 minutes to chew through it all to generate the state to state data.  </nerd stuff>
I'd definitely use that in marketing, on website, bottles... fermented is kind of a buzzword right now, is another dimension of flavor and adds to the craft aspect.
How about a Bold Badger fermented 7-Pot BBQ Sauce with honey, and on the logo, the badger has his hand in a pot of honey.
Heh yeah I could photoshop the honey pot right over his claws.  I've yet to make a sweet sauce.  One of the test batches I have going right now is basically "regular" with no weird additions, I could experiment with that one.  I've also been kind of wanting to play with raisins in a sauce.
Bold Badger Sauces said:
I've also been kind of wanting to play with raisins in a sauce.
I had success with that. It was very "steak saucy".
Some site feedback BBS:  
I just went looking to purchase some of your stuff but there is no heat meter on the bottles or in the descriptions that I could find.  I tend to go towards medium hot versus super hot sauces, but without knowing whats mild/medium/hot/super hot I did not place an order.  Let me know heat levels and I'll place an order.
Great story, great background info, great deal on the sauces.  I look forward to trying them.  :)
Good point.  I edited the descriptions to include some info on the heat level.  From hottest to mildest:
Overkill - nothing but ghosts, scorpions, and reapers.  The heat level is pretty insane.  11/10
Be Afraid, Be Berry Afraid - this batch had a lot of ghosts in it, it's pretty damn hot.  8/10
Rogan Ouch - heat level: 7/10
Chipotle - heat level: 6/10
Yellow 7 Pot - heat level: 5/10
Aji Madness - heat level: 4/10
     Just by coincidence, Pookie sent me a bunch of sauces today and Bold Badger 7 Pot Yellow happened to be one of them. I stumbled upon this thread and decided to crack it open and give it a shot.
     It's good! It's just about exactly what I shoot for (heat, salt, acidity) when I make fermented sauces. I tried my hand at fermenting peppers with carrots and garlic and onion and unfortunately none of them turned out. This stuff is exactly what I hoped mine would have ended up tasting like. Good heat level (I just tasted a big tablespoon of it and I felt like I was just barely on the verge of hiccups). I can easily tell that yellow 7 pot is the star of the show, but there are definitely some other (subtle) pepper players working alongside it. Just enough to compliment it with a bit more fruitiness and depth. The acidity from fermentation and added vinegar as well as the salt level seems just right to work with the natural sweetness of the peppers and garlic.
     All in all, it's a very well balanced sauce with just enough heat to warm the lips and tongue. The 7pot flavor shines and gets along very well with the other ingredients. I can't wait to get up tomorrow morning and scramble some eggs and just go nuts with the stuff. Great job! :party:
Thanks, glad you liked it!  You described exactly what I love about it.  The delicious chinense flavor is front and center with that one, but it's all funkdified by the fermentation.  I can tell a big difference between sauces made with a fermentation starter like Caldwell's, vs wild fermentation.  That sauce epitomizes what I love about wild fermentation.  It's like an umami kind of savoriness with a really good aftertaste.  I made that batch kind of on a whim because that day I happened to have picked enough Yellow 7 Pots to make a whole carboy by themselves.  There were a few bell peppers in it as well but less than I really would have liked.  I think some more annuums would make it even tastier.  The garlic level was just right though, prominent but not overpowering.
Hope you got some new customers!
Yeah, I definitely saw a nice boost in sales.  Note that I also just got my site set up to take straight up credit cards, without going through paypal.  The discount code is good through the end of the month.  HINT HINT everyone :)
Are you out of 7 Pot? I dont see it, would like to add it to my order.
I noticed in most of the pictures the level of the sauce is below the shrink band. The sauce is probably just stuck up in the neck, but it looks like the bottles are short-,filled. Just a note. Places my order and looking forward to using and sharing the sauces. Ill take some to our campout in a couple months.

Thanks and best wishes for the success of your company!
Yes, sorry everyone, the yellow 7 pot is sold out.
Also the bottles contain 5 oz by weight.  I could have probably fit another half oz or so in there but 5 oz seems to be the standard.
Thanks for the orders!  All orders placed over the weekend will go out today, you'll get an email with the tracking info.  Check your spam folder, a lot of them seem to wind up in there.