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Brand Profile: Torchbearer Sauces

Torchbearer Sauces are one of the world’s most widely recognised brands of hot sauces, BBQ sauce and wing sauces due to their reputation for producing some of the hottest, most delicious all-natural hot sauces on the market. Not to mention that four of their sauces have featured on various seasons of First We Feast’s incredibly popular YouTube series, Hot Ones.

The three founders of Torchbearer Sauces, Vid, Ben, and Tim originally met almost 20 years ago at Harrisburg Area Community College in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and came up with the idea of making hot sauces over dinners where friends challenged each other to eat the hottest foods.

They all loved the heat of the hot sauces and BBQ sauces that were commercially available at the time, but didn’t think much of the flavour of the mostly generic, vinegar based sauces that were loaded with water and high fructose corn syrup. They all thought they could do better, and do it the right way. The all-natural way.

One day the three guys took a few days off work and went on a road trip to Texas where they bought 666 pounds of habanero peppers. They spent the next two weeks chopping, bagging and freezing the peppers and began making their own hot sauces by hand, using only an immersion blender.

At the beginning their range consisted of just eight sauces, but it wasn’t long before they were making waves. At the Cajun Hot Sauce Festival in Louisiana their sauces won three national awards. More awards quickly followed and pretty soon their reputation for producing unique, delicious, all-natural hot sauces began to grow. Local stores began stocking their sauces and their attendance at numerous food, wine and art shows and festivals continued to raise their profile, with sauce sales growing by around 30% each year.

Torchbearer Sauces 2010 Holiday Kiosk spot for their Zombie Apocalypse hot sauce

Their range of products slowly expanded to include BBQ sauces, wing sauces, and marinades but it was the YouTube series Hot Ones, hosted by Sean Evans, that finally catapulted them into the national and international spotlight.

In January 2017 their Zombie Apocalypse Hot Sauce was featured in the show’s third season. Rated at 100,000 SHU it was located in the #7 spot, just behind Da’ Bomb Beyond Insanity at #8. It proved to be so popular it was also featured in the show’s fourth season later the same year.

In June 2018 their Son of Zombie Wing Sauce was featured on Hot Ones Season 6 and six months later their Garlic Reaper Hot Sauce was featured on Season 8. But Hot Ones wasn’t quite finished with them just yet. In September 2019 their Headless Horseradish sauce was featured on Season 10.

With the popularity of Hot Ones increasing dramatically season by season, suddenly it seemed as though everyone wanted to get their hands on a bottle of the Torchbearer sauces that were featured on the show. Unsurprisingly, sales exploded and they began to have difficulty keeping up with the unexpected demand.

Thanks to a $250,000 United States Department of Agriculture grant, in late 2018 the company moved into larger premises a few miles down the road in Lemoyne, Pennsylvania. The new facility is a 10,000-square foot warehouse that will allow Torchbearer to produce, bottle and label its condiments in its own space. In the past they had to rent a commercial kitchen to produce their sauces.

The grant money also enabled them to lease more than two acres of land near Halifax where they grow habanero and ghost chilies. The peppers are picked and processed into a mash used for its recipes.

With production anticipated to grow from 400 cases of product a day to 1200, the future is looking very bright for Torchbearer Sauces. If you haven’t yet tried any of their range of 30 delicious condiments, now is your chance.

At Sauce Mania, we stock a wide variety of Torchbearer Sauces’ range of outstanding condiments. Do yourself a favour and be sure to grab a few today! We promise you won’t regret it.

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