Alabama Hot Sauce is a brand new venture operating in Florence, Alabama. It is an idea that I began thinking about a little over a year ago. Like many people, I was confined to my home overlooking the beautiful Tennessee River due COVID restrictions. This gave me plenty of time to think about how I was going to spend my time in the future. I thought about a lot of things, but mostly I thought about hot sauce. I love all things hot and spicy and I wanted to return to doing more cooking, a thing I always loved. This contemplation brought me to a unique idea. I would create a hot sauce company. After all food should be blessed with a little hot sauce. Alabama Hot Sauce is a artisan, small-batch food producer of hot sauces based on my personal taste, validated with taste tests by friends and advisors. When the full line-up is completed, we will have over a dozen different hot sauces covering a variety of sauce styles, a wide range of heat profiles, and varied favors and taste profiles. We will have a line of standard offerings that are always available and we will also offer some special experimental flavors that are born through my recipe testing and development. My sauces will not be gimmick sauces, built simply to 'out-heat' other sauces (a really popular game among a lot of small producers) or to simply deliver pain to the consumer. My sauces will be formulated to actually ENHANCE the taste of foods and snacks. Now, that doesn't mean I will not have some seriously hot sauces. It simply means that freshness and taste will be the driving forces for all products.
I am Phil Ellis, the Mr. Phil on the label of the Alabama Hot Sauce bottles. I was born and raised in Eastern North Carolina. My dad was a real Pepper Head. From my earliest memories, I grew up eating hot stuff. In the spring and summer every year, my dad and I would walk around our beautifully landscaped yard, sampling hot pepper pods from plants growing between all ornamental bushes and flower beds. He took a great deal of pride in the variety of peppers he grew. We would walk the property sampling and picking peppers. He always carried a small glass of water so we could rinse the peppers before eating them. This was really fun for me and I developed a love for everything hot. Both my mom and dad were great southern cooks and we always topped our vegetables with a variety of diced hot peppers. My dad was the grill master and he always cooked with very spicy rubs and marinades. He made his own pepper sauces from the 'crop' in the yard, and the whole family splashed it liberally on all of our meats. In my childhood home, everything had to be hot and spicy. My dad, the Pepper Head, made me a Pepper Head. It is just simply a family tradition.
I am now 69 years old and my Pepper Head ways have stuck with me. When I moved to Alabama, my new friends immediately identified me as the guy that loved the hot stuff. We cook frequently at our marina club and I have them all eating hot and spicy. So, with time on my hands, starting this little hot sauce company makes perfect sense. I hope you become a friend and customer - and I hope you like my sauces and agree that starting this company benefits us all. I will always be a Pepper Head, but now I will also be a Sauce Boss.
The first products will be launched on March 1, 2022. In the beginning months, all products will be made under the Cottage Food laws in the State of Alabama. Under these regulations, my products will only be available for face-to-face sales in Alabama, and internet orders will only be shipped to addresses in the State of Alabama. I will be selling at a number of Farmer's Markets and sponsored fairs and events that allow food vendors. In addition, I will be selling at a variety of pop-up locations around North Alabama. Pop-Up sales locations are a common thing in most southern states. Farmers have been using this sales method for over 100 years. I am currently negotiating with a number of business locations and property owners to develop a schedule of these pop-up sales. You will be able to find the times and locations of these events on this website and on the various social media websites. I encourage you to click the social media links below to follow Alabama Hot Sauce on social media sites.
Sometime in the middle of the summer, Alabama Hot Sauce will become a fully licensed, FDA approved food producer. At that time, all sauce manufacturing will move to a fully licensed commercial culinary kitchen here in Florence. Full FDA approval will allow me to sell online all over the country. In addition, I will begin a wholesale program that allows me to sell my sauces at local grocery stores, gift shops, and specialty stores. I really look forward to this opportunity to expand distribution of my products.
Even when fully licensed for national sales, Alabama Hot Sauce will always be a small-batch artisan hot sauce company. This is an essential characteristic to maintain the quality and character of these sauces and these recipes.
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