Meet the Makers: Heartbeat Hot Sauce Co.
More and more people are getting to know the wonderous world of hot sauce, but most don’t know much about the creators of these delicious sauces. Who are those heroes behind the brands that spoil us with the best hot sauces? We are about to find out in our interview series ‘Meet the Makers’.
Heartbeat Hot Sauce Co.
We are opening the series with the makers of Heartbeat Hot Sauce Co. In a short time this brand from Thunder Bay, Ontario (Canada) have gotten extremely popular, also because of their appearance in the YouTube show Hot Ones. The answers to our questions come from Al Bourbouhakis, co-owner of Heartbeat Hot Sauce Co. It’s time to meet the makers!
When & what was your first hot sauce experience?
I just remember my Dad taking the tabasco away from me as a little kid because I would completely smother my food with it.
What drove you to start your own brand?
When my wife and I first started cooking sauce as a hobby, we made way too much for ourselves, so we handed it out to friends. Their feedback was what motivated us to build a business around it.
How did you come up with the name of your brand?
A few months into our new hobby, my wife surprised me with the name and labels as a way to encourage the side hustle.
What is your favorite ingredient to work with?
We ferment our peppers and after about a month, the pepper mash becomes the most seductive ingredient on earth. The smell is just incredible. It’s always exciting to open the barrels and check out the mash. The peppers are what it’s all about at the end of the day.
What does your working space look like?
Our current space is starting to look like a hoarders den because we completely outgrew it, but we are on the brink of moving into our new production space which has been many months in the making. It’s an amazing, customized facility with a laboratory grade production room and lots of space to grow!
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Some BEFORE AND AFTERS of the new space! We’ll be moving our equipment in this month and we are SO excited to stretch our legs. Hope you’re all enjoying a relaxing day ☀️ We are proud to be a Canadian made product 🇨🇦 and thankful that we can continue production from start to finish, here in Thunder Bay. #heartbeathotsauce #thunderbay #canadianmade
What is the ultimate highlight up until now?
Getting our sauce on Hot Ones was a huge highlight. It happened really early into starting the company, so it was truly mind bending to go from making the sauce in a little pot on our stove to seeing Jeff Goldblum holding the bottle in his hands.
What is your favorite hot sauce from another brand?
That is a very tough one. Off the top of my head, Bravado’s Crimson Special Reserve is a truly great sauce that must be tried if you’re a connoisseur.
Do you have a favorite cultural hot sauce reference (in music or tv/film)?
It’s not hot sauce specifically, but the Simpsons episode when Homer eats the Insanity pepper and trips out in the desert with that Johnny Cash space coyote, that’s a fun exploration of the power of chillies.
Name your 5 favorite songs that you like to play when making/eating hot sauce.
There is a serious mix of tastes at Heartbeat Headquarters. You have Metal Heads, 70’s rock enthusiasts, people who are in touch with what’s current and probably want to pull their hair out, haha. And then you have Darryl who some days can only get going to 90’s dance music. We just embrace whatever people need to enjoy their day, but its a real mixed bag. On longer days, we’ll often throw on a True Crime podcast or a Comedy Special.
What is a food + (your own) hot sauce combination that our followers just have to try?
We always tell people they have to try Peanut Butter Toast and our Heartbeat Red Habanero. It’s the perfect combo and a real jump start to your morning.
We want to thank Al for co-operating with ‘Meet the Makers’. If you’re not familiar with all the delicious flavors of the brand, you can check out all Heartbeat hot sauces we offer right here.
I am from Thunder Bay, and 1 friend in particular, A HOT SAUCE CONNISEUR, in my opinion, loves your sauces. When I head back in May(6 months Brazil, 6 Canada) I plan on buying a 6 pack to haul Back! Making your baked beans, for Easter in our traditional moqueca clay pot, made locally..HAPPY EASTER TO ALL OF YOU and keep it growing! JJT