Now why would you do that?
After our favorite taquería temporarily closed in 2020 our flow of chili de árbol sauce dried up. It was our favorite, and vinegary grocery store sauces just didn't measure up. We jumped to the logical solution of making our own sauce, an idea that would eventually evolve into Left Lane Pepper Company.
We dabbled around in the kitchen cooking árbol hot sauces for about one year, occasionally giving some bottles away at socially-distanced barbecues during the summer of 2020. Feedback was very positive and we were encouraged by what we heard.
I (John) had left my corporate job at a global automaker during 2020 and was looking for a new opportunity in the electric vehicle space. Ultimately, that did not pan out but my mindset had locked onto an entrepreneurial path. I started up an international automotive consulting agency with clientele on four continents. But something was missing.
One day Bernie and I cooked another batch of árbol hot sauce and we began to discuss "what if...". Would people really buy our sauce? How do we sell it? Where do we make it? What are the rules and regulations surrounding food products? How much investment would it take? How would it be branded? So many questions.
What's a 3PL?
And so began the great research project of 2021. We unearthed a great many details about starting a food business in New York State, about production, distribution, USDA/FDA rules, taxation, GTIN barcodes, 3PLs (what is that even?), process schedules, nutrition labels, pH values, and on-line stores. With every question resolved, another seemed to arise. But we remained undeterred. The project grew in scope but the positive feedback we received encouraged us to proceed.
So, yes, we are starting a hot sauce company!