London Inc. November 2020 - 16

Upfront Food Processing

BRINGING
THE HEAT

A hot sauce aficionado
turns passion into
profession, one step
at a time
YOU WON'T CATCH Jesse Long
slapping ridiculous names on his
company's hot sauces. No Satan's
Blood. No Ass in the Tub. Hellfire
Death Sauce? Forget it.
Decidedly more spartan names
like Peach & Pepper, Habenero &
Herbs, Habanero & Mango grace
his bottles, sold under the equally
utilitarian brand, The Hot Sauce Co.
(www.thehotsauceco.com).
" My names, that's a big thing for me.
That's important. No gimmicks, no
fancy names, " Long says. " The sauce
will speak for itself. "
Long doesn't seem to take the usual
way with many things. He started The
Hot Sauce Co. following a career in IT
and a stint in an import business.
" I climbed the ladder successfully,
but it still always felt like I was going
against the grain, " he says.
Long had started the import venture with a friend not long before The
Hot Sauce Co., but couldn't shake the
notion of launching a small-batch hot
sauce business. " I was like, 'Look man,
I gotta go do this hot sauce thing.' "
He started by getting hands on 4,500
glass bottles - essentially his accountability method. If you have 4,500
empty bottles purchased at about 70
cents a unit, he reasons, eventually you
have to fill them with something.
And he had a few recipes on hand,
too. A former Fanshawe College
student, he was the founder of the
school's hot sauce club (yes, it received
funding from the student union),
which was where he first cooked
up what is now The Hot Sauce Co.'s
Habanero & Mango sauce.

The Hot Sauce Co. founder, Jesse Long

Long, who sources his peppers
locally in-season and from Cuba
during the off-season, started selling
bottles here and there to family and
friends last year, while honing the
business concept through participation in incubator and small-business
programs.
His next step was to start selling at
business expos, shows and festivals.
" I applied to be in the Heat Wave Hot

16 | londonincmagazine.ca | NOVEMBER 2020

Sauce Expo and got approved for that, "
he recalls. " I didn't know how to place
things on a table. I didn't know how to
make things look pretty. I kind of faked
it till I made it. "
When the pandemic threw its own
heat into the business mix, Long
adapted, turning away from shows
and instead putting his energies into
developing online sales and a wholesale network.


http://www.thehotsauceco.com http://www.londonincmagazine.ca

London Inc. November 2020

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London Inc. November 2020 - 1
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