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Anyone here bottle and sell their own BBQ Sauce? Looking For Advice

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    Anyone here bottle and sell their own BBQ Sauce? Looking For Advice

    I was wondering if any of you bottle and sell your own BBQ sauce and would be willing to offer some guidance and maybe point me in the right direction for a couple of things?

    How do I go about getting nutritional information on my label?

    I use ketchup as a base for my sauces. Is that okay for ingredients label purposes or should I not be lazy and make my base with my own ingredients? I'm not sure I can list ketchup as an ingredient.

    How did you start selling? My idea was to set up a booth at some farmers markets and handing out cards to my website to sell online. The idea would be to be able to give sales data to the grocery stores when asking them to carry my product. I would start with smaller mom and pop and specialty stores, hopefully get solid sales and then go after the regional/national chains if sales continue to grow.

    One of my concerns is a big chunk of the country thinks of BBQ as being seasonal and worry I won't sell in the fall and winter.

    Again, any guidance or advice would be appreciated. The idea of taking a passion and hobby and turn it into a business is exciting but at the same time I wonder if I'm just chasing a pipe dream.


    #2
    Henrik does.

    Comment


    • Henrik
      Henrik commented
      Editing a comment
      Nah, I just make rubs. No sauces.

    #3
    You can list ketchup as an ingredient (followed by parenthesis listing the ingredients from the maker). It's public domain and doesn't infringe on any rights.

    Comment


      #4
      Max Good makes his own sauce (Black Swan) too as I just bought some a few weeks back from Amazon.

      Comment


        #5
        Who makes your sauce? Are you working with a co-packer? Do you have experience is sales?

        Comment


          #6
          Right now, I make the sauce out of my kitchen in small batches. I understand I will need to work with a copacker to produce bigger quantities for sales. I have not yet reached out to a copacker as of yet. I figured before I take on that cost I would try and do as much research and as much as I can on my own. If it's possible, I am hoping to try and work with a local copacker here in Michigan to support local businesses, especially since Michigan was hit really hard with Covid and so many businesses are struggling.

          Comment


          • Huskee
            Huskee commented
            Editing a comment
            Howdy "neighbor". I'm only ~2.5hrs NW of you, Clare area. Would love to taste-test if you need/want feedback. Wish you the best.

          • Max Good
            Max Good commented
            Editing a comment
            I share the liability issue concerns others have pointed out below. My co-packer runs and FDA approved facility that is inspected, audited and certified annually. They are fully insured, and they generate my Nutrition Panel info among many other services. What is your co-packer's minimum order?

          #7
          You need to check with the Michigan Dept. that handles food sales. In some states your prep area/kitchen must pass inspection. There may be a pamphlet from the state for people wanting to start a business that could be helpful too.

          Comment


            #8
            Have you gone through all the canning exercises? Testing pH, etc.? There was a regular guest on The BBQ Central show that took everyone through the process as he took a sauce to market. I don't remember a lot of details, but you might be able to search for the various podcast episodes. It seems like he had to change a few ingredients for pH reasons and for cost reasons which required a lot more testing to get the flavor back to how he made it originally.

            The reason I ask this is because of hearing the podcasts AND because there's a local Taco chain that makes puffy tacos and absolutely killer taco sauce and they started selling the sauce recently at stores. However, the bottled sauce tastes like trash and nothing like what you get in the restaurant. Looks the same color and consistency wise, maybe even smells very close, but tastes nothing the same. Guessing they had to make recipe changes for bottling. I went to the restaurant and bought a big container of fresh and put it the fridge for a few days and it still tasted the same as in the restaurant just to see if it was aging related.

            Comment


              #9
              Before you consider selling anything edible to the public, get with your insurance broker and discuss Product Liability insurance. One tiny error in the cooking/production/bottling/labeling process and you could be wiped out financially. A liability claim doesn't even have to be "true" to be filed against. All it takes is an "alleged" tiny piece of foreign object in a jar of your sauce, a lawyer, and a sympathetic jury and you are ruined!

              Comment


                #10
                Let me know if you find yourself at the Farmington Farmers Market. I'd love to try some new local sauce.
                You may have trouble distributing it (meaning, to retail stores) without being in a properly inspected kitchen. BBQ sauce may not fall under Michigan's Cottage Food Law.

                Comment


                  #11
                  I too am worried about liability and will definitely make sure that I work with a copacker that is certified and FDA approved. I would also like to set up a LLC to keep my personal finances separated and have some prote tion of my personal property and assets. Do you think that is a smart and necessary move?

                  Right now this is a dream that I am trying to figure out if it can be a feasible reality. My story start s like most, friends, family and coworkers telling me I should sell my sauce. I mean it pads the ego and all, but I've also let fear and skepticism get in my way of doing it. I mean when you go to the grocery store just look at the variety there is to choose on the shelf. It's intimidating trying to figure out how or if you could even get shelf space and even if you can, how do you get people to choose your product over all of the others? It has been thoughts like this that have held me back more so than the amount of capital I will have to invest. But now I've reached the point where I don't want to look back in life and wonder what if or have regret for not trying. I feel like I'm finally over the fear of failure and am ready to pursue my passion.

                  I am just in the infancy stages of moving forward of all of this. Right now, all I have are 5 or 6 different recipes, a logo and a small amount of market research of about 200 people albeit, family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and parishioners that have given me feedback about my sauces, the majority of which has been positive. I have a long way to go but it is exciting to see what the future holds.

                  Comment


                    #12
                    Good luck with this, homey (I grew up in the D), and please keep us informed about your journey. When you get there, you have a set of customers from this site!

                    Comment


                      #13
                      I think what I'd do is this:

                      See what you need to do in order to sell a small volume. Check with your state/city for rules. By 'need to do' I most am thinking 'can you make small batches at home and sell them' i.e. at a farmer's market etc. If you can, that would let you verify that people really do like your stuff aside from family and friends. You could potentially sell online that way too.

                      The copacker arrangement is the way to go for scale and might even be reasonable for smaller volumes so in parallel with the above, I'd see what quantities you need in order for them to work with you.

                      I mean, if you get stick with 20 gallons of sauce that you can't sell.. eh. You can give that to friends and family etc. But if you got stuck with 200 gallons... that's different.

                      Comment


                        #14
                        Around these parts people rent commercial kitchens.

                        Comment


                        • Northern lights smoke
                          Northern lights smoke commented
                          Editing a comment
                          You should check with your State Dept.of Ag. They should have your answers. We have someone in our area that makes Bbq sauce and he is able to use a local VFW as they have a commercial kitchen, that way he controls everything. I would also call Croix Valley Foods in wisconsin as they make many Bbq sauces and might give you advice. Good luck on your endeavor

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