Although one of the newest brands to our line-up is Crazy Jerry’s Gourmet Sauces, Crazy Jerry himself has been making hot sauce since 1976. He and his wife Betty have been running the business since January of 1990, and they now produce so much more in addition to hot sauce: spicy garlic mushrooms, olives stuffed with Jalapeno or Habanero peppers, bean dips, cheese dips, and more.
Crazy Jerry and Betty Boop
Jerry met Betty just after he got out of the Marine Corps: “I was driving home one evening and stopped at our local McDonalds when I saw some of my high school friends (there was no indoor seating back then),” Jerry told me. “Just as I was getting out of my car, I noticed the most beautiful girl I had ever seen sitting in the car next to mine and I just had to meet her. Well, 48 years later, we're still together... and, she's still the most beautiful girl I've ever seen.”
Years later, a friend of Jerry and Betty called and asked if Jerry would make some of his sauce for his small restaurant, and Betty and Jerry made 14 bottles. A few days later, they learned that every bottle of the sauce they made had been stolen off the tables from the restaurant! Their friend asked them to make more, which they obliged—only those bottles were stolen, too. That’s when Jerry got the idea to get into the sauce business. Betty told him he was crazy, and Crazy Jerry’s Gourmet Sauces was born. I had the chance to talk to Crazy Jerry to learn more about them and their products.
Crazy Jerry’s: Hot Sauce and More
Mary: Out of all of your products, which is your personal favorite?
Crazy Jerry: My first one... Oyster, Clam & Everything Else Sauce. I made it in 1976, because I would always have to put salt, pepper, lemon juice and hot sauce on each oyster, and that ate (no pun intended) into my consumption time. So, I came up with this sauce to eat on my oysters and other seafood.
Mary: How do you come up with products (the flavor profiles and the fun names)?
Crazy Jerry: I drink a lot of beer first!
Mary: In terms of hot sauce, what flavor profiles do you generally tend to go for personally, and what sauces do you like from other brands?
Crazy Jerry: Betty & I love spicy food, so, I try to make sauces that aren't stupid hot (except for a couple of hot sauces) and hides the flavor of whatever we're eating. I really like Taco Bell's hot sauce.
Mary: I love your story about your cat Hoppy on your site! We’re huge animal-lovers here ourselves. Which charities have you donated to so far?
Crazy Jerry: We donate to the SPCA and other animal rescue charities: Cherokee County Humane Society; Homeless Pet Clubs of America; Mutt Madd-ness Dog Rescue and more. We generally look for smaller charities that need the help more.
Mary: What’s your favorite annual show/expo to do, or your favorite chilehead event?
Crazy Jerry: We did the Atlanta International Gift & Gourmet Shows for 20 years, also, the N.A.S.F.T. Shows in New York and California.
Mary: If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice to yourself back when you were growing up, what would it be?
Crazy Jerry: Invest in Google!
I want to thank Crazy Jerry for taking the time to answer my questions. Crazy Jerry also wants y’all to know that his hottest sauce, Mustard Gas, was developed especially for people who want to try the hottest thing possible. He personally recommends that you check out the video Crazy Jerry's Mustard Gas Challenge—but only if you’re not squeamish! Crazy Jerry’s Gourmet Sauces are now available at Hot Sauce Depot.