2011 Peppers at the Beach Blogger’s Round Table

We had another gathering of chile blogs, so Brian & Marilyn Meagher of HotSauceWeekly.com wanted to do another round table discussion for their podcast. Represented around the table was Scott Roberts of ScottRobertsweb, Doug Spiros of PeppersandMore, John Scrovak from EatMoreHeat.com, spicy product maker John “Huvason” Grabiec of Fat Kid Sauces, and yours truly. It is a long, but hopefully entertaining conversation.

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53 thoughts on “2011 Peppers at the Beach Blogger’s Round Table

  • May 22, 2011 at 11:18 pm
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    Awesome job videoing the roundtable Buddah! Thanks for that. Next time we train a cam on just you.

  • May 22, 2011 at 11:20 pm
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    Thanks Brian. Great job of hosting us knuckleheads.

  • May 23, 2011 at 2:14 am
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    Great job guys so now I weigh in on your discussion. First on Scovies. I never entered product but entered my website. In 2009 I took second. First place was site a middle school student could have built. In 2010 I did not even place. The sites that did place were simple. Go look for yourselves. So needless to say I will never enter again.

    Now onto the Scorpion and other superhots trending. The Trinidad varieties have heat indeed. But since I am a grower I have tried them all and the flavors they have are incredible. Look at Johnny’s 1498 Scorpion sauce. It is medium level for chileheads as far as I am concerned but full of flavor. Industry rep is correct. The hottest are not the mainstay of business. But learn how to use a 7 Pot or Scorpion in smaller amounts and people will become addicted. You guys taste sauces. I have people come to my home to buy plants and they taste the pepper. Small amounts of course. Adrienne of Hot Licks came by Saturday and was amazed at flavor of 7 Pot. She never made it to the Douglah but I gave her some to take home. I know “World’s Hottest” will help you market a sauce. But right combo of heat and flavor will make somebody use up bottles on their food over and over again. The superhot trend if handled right will make it to the grocery shelf. It’s in the hands of the sauce makers.

    Now on labeling. I applaud Clement of Cajun Heat for coming out with two label variations for each product. I think Johnny should do the same. I practically drink Johnny’s sauces. But….There are so many people in my Church I cannot share it with. Blood pouring over a partially nude woman, bloody heads and demon heads are not going to go on most families tables. It may be artsy or expressive but also can be offensive. So I hope Johnny reads this and makes alternative labels like he has for his Datil grilling sauce. I would buy more and give away more as gifts if he did. I know some of you think his labels are cool. Fine. There will always be some druggie kid that thinks gore is cool. But us baby boomers spend more money then college kids with part time jobs. Last time I checked most of the population in North America still believes in God and does not like demon stuff. So don’t take offense Johnny or anyone else. Like Marilyn said have a nice clean look with good contact info and show off the colors of the sauce. Stay away from graphic death and demons and I will buy more. Lots more! Final comment. Great job keeping all the good looking bloggers on camera and the funny talking guy with the Tom Jones haircut off the camera. It made for better viewing :afro:

  • May 23, 2011 at 5:11 am
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    Jim, I got a haircut if you didn’t see from last Wednesdays video. So now I am a peach.

  • May 23, 2011 at 9:42 am
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    Good video and very good topics. I do have one question. Did you wipe the microphone windscreen off with the lint collector from the dryer?

  • May 23, 2011 at 10:03 am
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    That is Dougie’s belly button residue.

  • May 23, 2011 at 12:24 pm
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    Okay some more comments and I hope you bloggers read this. Last year I was perfectly content to eat my homemade salsa and occasionally use El Yucateco in my soup. Then I discovered the Hot sauce Blogs. Please listen. Scovie Awards and other awards don’t mean anything to me. As a chile grower and chilehead I have always known about them but never tried a new product because of them. I was content to use my chiles and make my own stuff. I never recommended any sauce to anyone. Ever!

    So what happened?? You Bloggers that sat at that Roundtable turned my world of flavor upside down. You see an award tells me nothing! It does not make me hungry or want to try anything. But a review especially a video review or in an extreme case Al talking to for an hour on the phone about products got me out of my shell. Now I buy these sauces and hardly eat my salsa. Not only that I give away products to my friends and have my customers try your stuff. Remember I talk more than Al so if I like something everyone I know will hear about it. Let me give you a breakdown of your influence on me Since January. Here is my list of multiple or large orders

    Bonfattos Wing sauces, Defcon wing sauces, Cajohns, Zane and zacks, Danny Cash, Golden Toad, Heartbreaking Dawns, Deanos Jalapenos, Flaming Joes, Dean Martins, Cajun Island, Cajun Heat, Hippy Seed Company, Brother’s BBQ Sauce, Mutchlers Dakota Mustard, Mild to Wild, Tats and a few I can’t remember.

    Those of you who represent these companies know in just a few months I have either ordered a large order or came back and ordered again or had orders sent to my daughter or a friend. Some of you already got orders from some of my friends. Awards did not make me a consumer of your products. Hot sauce blogs did!!! Yesterdays meal. I slow cooked ribs in oven using Clements Voodoo ash and then grilled with Brother’s BBQ sauce. I also had wings with three sauces Defcon 1, Defcon 2 and Clements wing sauce. Then I wrapped shrimp with cheese in flower tortillas seasoned with Cajun Island rub and had Johnnys Ghost Pepper sauce and Sams Stinger sauce on side for dipping wraps. Oh yeah I made my salsa because someone from Church wanted some. But I did not eat it. I gave it away.

    I say forget the awards. When real people on these blogs tell me about the product I will buy! I challenge you Bloggers to step it up. Next time you do a roundtable do it in a nice setting not a cluttered room. Be more organized and better planned. Like it or not you represent the industry. If you cuss and do things sloppy the big players in the food and cooking industry will not acknowledge you. And they should acknowledge you. For if more consumers knew about you the dining rooms would be a tastier place. Can I get an AMEN??

  • May 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm
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    To be completely honest…

    While we were doing this, I thought that within a minute or two (maybe after Brian accidentally asked last year’s question) that things sadly weren’t going in the right direction with this discussion, and probably about halfway in I thought this whole roundtable turned into a trainwreck. 🙁

    After watching this, though, it seemed more like a fun, informal discussion. I don’t know how this will translate to audio for the podcast.

  • May 23, 2011 at 12:39 pm
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    Good point about the bottles. While I think the label graphics “cool” from an art perspective, maybe at some point Johnny can have clean versions do up for his specialty pepper sauces line.

  • May 23, 2011 at 12:42 pm
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    As far as the sloppiness and setting is concerned, this was originally planned to be an AUDIO podcast for Hot Sauce Weekly, therefore none of the appearance would have been a factor.

  • May 23, 2011 at 2:04 pm
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    What I see here is a group of fun personalities that represent the Industry. Getting all of you together is an opportune moment so to speak. So to me video is more powerful than a podcast. Whay not take advantage of it next time. The consumers do want to see you guys so next time you get together make it look good. I still enjoyed it though. If the Sopranos ever starts up again I think Doug should audition.

  • May 23, 2011 at 2:06 pm
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    He should do like Clement and have two versions. I am telling you I would buy so much more to give as gifts and I know more mainstream stores would carry them.

  • May 23, 2011 at 2:41 pm
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    Jim thanks for your points and of course i do agree that the new labels are not for everyone. One thing, that I feel does set us apart, is using the custom hand painted artwork for each individual product and would not want to compromise that, yet at the same time alternate labels are not out of the question. In fact we are working on a rework of the 1498, both toned down and bilingual for an overseas retailer. Once we get settled from our move and this last very busy week of the month HBD will bring you the alternate labels you are looking for….and i promise they will have the same unique and artistic quality as our current labels do, except a bit more table friendly! :weightlifting:

  • May 23, 2011 at 2:45 pm
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    I would expect nothing less from you Johnny as you always listen to the voice of the customer and I look forward to making larger orders in the future when you get new labels. Thanks :winner:

  • May 23, 2011 at 3:07 pm
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    Uh huh, uh huh. I will just say that I would be dissapointed if Johnny conformed to sell more products to people who may be offended by his art. That’s like Danny Cash altering his “Salvation Sauce” so he won’t offend Jewish people.

  • May 23, 2011 at 3:52 pm
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    Speaking of which, that midget promised me some Jewlokia Sauce when that Salvation stuff first came out. I am going to have to give him a friendly reminder.

  • May 23, 2011 at 4:00 pm
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    Hi Thomas,
    Graphic art will not get sauces into a mainstream store. And Johnny is in the sauce business to make money. I think he should keep his labels but at the same time make more family friendly secondary labels for mainstream stores like Clement has done. So in other words have two labels for each sauce. An example of this in another industry is movie industry. They will make two DVD’s one will be uncut and unrated and the other will be more tone down with a rating. Now the movie can be sold to anyone. Bottom line is mainstream American families are not going to have a graphic art or graphic name sauce on their dinner table no matter what their beliefs are. I am prepared to buy more quantity possibly in cases if I get a more toned down label. How much do you buy??? Danny Cash is no different then what I am asking as he has sauces with Salvation label and sauces without Salvation label. So the Jewish and Buddhist customers can buy the non-Salvation sauces.

  • May 23, 2011 at 4:00 pm
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    I think there’s a big difference. Danny’s Salvation Sauce is specifically marketed towards the Christian crowd. If Johnny targeted a specialty product just for those people into tattoos, the biker crowds, Mormons, metalheads, or whatever, I could understand. But these sauces deserve to be enjoyed by all demographics, interests and belief systems, and you have to admit that blood and nudity ain’t for everybody, especially those with families.

  • May 23, 2011 at 4:04 pm
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    TG i would never change the labels and offer two styles to choose from at a sales level, but being we always do some unlabeled cases in a run we can offer an “optional” label for people who love the sauce but might have an issue due to personal convictions with some of the graphic images, of course they would have to specifically ask for it, like Jim did. The rework I referred to in the post above of the 1498 is only being done because they are just are not allowed to have any nudity on labels and I’m happy to help out in that case.

  • May 23, 2011 at 4:07 pm
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    I think what Scott is trying to say, they need to show nipples. :love:

  • May 23, 2011 at 4:22 pm
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    I wonder if he would come out with a Rapture label.

  • May 23, 2011 at 4:54 pm
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    Not offering two styles (like Clement) is for two reasons. One is that every one of our labels is hand-painted specifically for that product. Our final item develops considering the color of the contents and the taste and the image, it is all interwoven. The artists we work with are literally using the product during the weeks they develop the final image. The second reason is that with the number of products we are up to now, 2 label style would double that, and that is just a confusing pain in the booty. However we do make a point to always consider special request and customer feedback, hence this thread here. One comment will not push us to rearrange the way we develop our vision, but we will make room to work with someone on an individual level to get them what they need for the right reasons.

  • May 23, 2011 at 4:54 pm
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    It really depends on your goals as a sauce maker. If your goals are mainstream public and have this be your main income then you can do what Clement did. But if your art is important and you are comfortable staying at a certain level of income then that is your choice. People come and go in this industry and the ones that get to CaJohns level or above make adjustments. I love your sauces and will always buy them for myself but demographically your labels will keep you out of larger markets. But if you are okay with that then it is your choice. Maybe down the road you will consider my suggestions. And my suggestions are from feedback. And that feedback was from non-Church people and also Industry people. Many believe as do I that you have the potential to get as big as CaJohn. You are not just a chilehead sauce maker. You are a Gourmet sauce maker. And I believe as do others that the labeling is the only thing that will get in your way. Something for you to think about…….It all depends on where you want to go Johnny. My final suggestion is if you want to grow don’t consult your friends, family or chileheads on what I am saying. Talk to CaJohn and others in the Industry and then make a decision. If after that you still feel the same then you have used wisdom. And wisdom is good.

  • May 23, 2011 at 4:59 pm
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    I would only modify 1498 and 1841. The rest are okay. And in the future make new labels less graphic. I know it would be a pain to offer two labels for each product. These are your two best sauces in my opinion. Have your artist tone them down for future runs and then you please everyone.

  • May 23, 2011 at 5:15 pm
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    Jim has some solid points in this thread Johnny. While I am not offended in anyway, I could definitely see that happening to others. You have an artistic touch in everything you do, from the cooking, product design of the name, the label and the product itself. Yet with that said, do you wish to go mainstream or simply sell to art shows and chilehead events? There will come a time when you will have to chose to sacrifice your art for money or be satisfied with your niche. I can not remember the names of those 2 number sauces. I do not wish to remember them. It is my choice, but am I the only one? I know for a fact I am not. I like your hidden meanings behind what you do, but I rather be able to say to other people when I recommend your product the name of it instead of that Trinidad Scorpion sauce with the number on it.

    Other people can tell you that I recommend products all the time. It is easier to say the name because I found it easy to remember than to force myself to. I just want to have the sauces I like and I do not want to be educated by them. Garbage Sauce is easier to remember than 1612, and while it might not have the appealing name, I would be more intrigued to try the Garbage Sauce than 1612. Just my 2 cents.

  • May 23, 2011 at 5:33 pm
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    There are some great points in this thread and I always take them into consideration. As i mentioned we are doing alterante labels for a specific customer who has a legal issue, and we will do some for Jim as well being he asked. If someone asks us, we will do our best to satisfy that need. Offering two labels at the full retail level is not in the cards right now, but again on a needed basis we do what we can.

  • May 23, 2011 at 6:03 pm
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    Johnny has a great head on his shoulder and knows exactly what he is doing.I do dont agree at all that he will lose money if he does not change his labels.His sauces speak for themselves.He has found his nitch in the hot sauce world and will do just fine with what he is doing.

  • May 23, 2011 at 6:17 pm
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    well, now I need one of every label variation to put in my collection of HBD sauces!

  • May 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm
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    I’d like to see them get twice as graphic, just to push people’s buttons :lick:

  • May 23, 2011 at 8:02 pm
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    😈

  • May 23, 2011 at 8:54 pm
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    Yeah great idea. Get people pissed so they don’t buy your sauce. I really think Johnny should focus on that and sell less sauce. You should be his financial advisor! On a more serious note what I have said in this thread was not to get my opinion heard. It was to help Johnny. Because I believe in Johnny and his products. Contrary to what you stand for Thomas most people do not like graphic images. So does that mean we piss them off. Are we abnormal if we want to hold to a moral standard in our lives. Is it wrong for me to not want graphic images on products when families come over?? Or am I supposed to tell them too bad and upset them. No I think not. I think I will give people respect and show them kindness and be sensitive to them and treat them as I would want to be treated. We live in a country where we can respect each others beliefs and standards. And even though I disagree with your comments Thomas I still respect your right to voice them.

  • May 23, 2011 at 9:11 pm
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    Jim,

    I’m somewhat in agreement about the awards. When I first started, I knew nothing about the Scovies. A friend who attends shows on behalf of manufacturers suggested it as a way to get “it” out there. And it worked, somewhat.

    I think it depends solely on the integrity of the host. The first year of the Scovies I spent a but load of money and won multiple awards. The following year I did not fare so well and I actually purchased the judges evaluation. What I received absolutely shocked me. From reading their comments I had the worst product ever made, the same product that had just won 1st place the previous year! I haven’t entered anything since.

    I have a good product. It’s not up everyone’s alley, but it’s good and those that like buy and talk about it. I’m the tortoise in this game and slow and steady she goes.

  • May 23, 2011 at 9:13 pm
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    I think whatever you have been doing is certainly working Johnny so keep up the good work. You are a serious breath of fresh air to the industry. Someone called you the new CaJohn this weekend. I think that is certainly a compliment.

  • May 23, 2011 at 9:15 pm
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    Yes it can be…especially when preparing for a show, all labeling done at the time of purchase!

  • May 23, 2011 at 9:41 pm
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    Word

  • May 23, 2011 at 9:46 pm
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    It’s only rock n roll, but I like it. Jimbo, shouldn’t you be off tending to those delicious peppers of yours….I’d like to buy a bunch of fresh morugas from you at some point…but if you can grow them to look like big titties, I’ll pay extra! :_dancingdevil:

  • May 23, 2011 at 9:56 pm
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    I already have some peppers reserved for you Thomas. But you don’t have to pay extra. Your favorite “Red Peter Peppers”! Hope you can do a vid for me eating them :lick:

  • May 24, 2011 at 12:07 am
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    Thanks guys! That works for me.

  • May 24, 2011 at 12:09 am
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    Johnny is David and he’s working on vanquishing Goliath as we speak. 👿 He definitely has some of the most interesting tasty flavorful creations.I love all his stuff by the way Johnny I’ll be seeing you this comin weekend at North Market grillin show buddy.I’m comin to see u,Rick and Maria,and Cajohn.I can’t wait !! I’m in need of some more 1841 and maybe some 1498 also 🙂

  • May 24, 2011 at 1:06 am
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    Hey Steve I need your contact info a guy from the history channel wants to talk to you about your pepper eating abilities. I showed him the machine vid already.

  • May 24, 2011 at 8:47 am
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    Awesome Steve!! Can’t wait to catch up. This is our first time doing the Grillmaster’s and we are going to come a day early and leave a day after. Taking our time to enjoy this one. I’ll be participating in the Thrilla at The Grilla Competition and we’ve also got a cooking demonstration lined up on Saturday at 2. It’s gonna be a blast!!

  • May 24, 2011 at 8:48 am
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    agreed. 😀

  • May 24, 2011 at 10:12 am
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    You know I agree with the part about the awards that we really dont know how they are Judged in most cases. As I read this and listen to the roundtable it came to me that it would be Great for the Bloggers to come together and be the Judge at the NOLA hot sauce show. Heck they can even set there own criteria. This way we will call it the Bloggers awards. Are Y’all up for it?

  • May 24, 2011 at 10:27 am
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    The only issue I see is the time it will take away from enjoying the show. Everyone would have to be on the same page for a deadline to judge. It must be confidential and each entry must be presented to the judges by a third party so the judges do not know whose product it is. I have an idea how to do that last part, so there is some breathing room between products. I am up for it if all agree on a time frame so we do not miss the best parts of the show.

  • May 24, 2011 at 12:48 pm
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    I agree. As long as the judging process is well-organized and can be done rather quickly, I’m all for it.

  • May 24, 2011 at 8:29 pm
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    Well, maybe do a “Blogger’s Choice” award…?? Not necisarily THEE “Nola Award”….??

  • May 24, 2011 at 8:58 pm
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    I wonder how a sauce with a skeleton on it would do? Or a big skull with a planet and star in its eye sockets and all the sauces had the word death in it would do? Better yet it said Feel alive?

    I wonder if that sauce could be mainstream? 🙄

  • May 24, 2011 at 9:00 pm
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    Very good point Blane. There is a niche for everyone if they find it.

  • May 24, 2011 at 11:13 pm
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    how DO you say death in 9 languages…….?

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