The mission of Old Boney Mountain Hot Sauce is first to help others and have fun doing it. The group originally gave their sauces away, but they eventually started selling them in 2013 at the suggestion of a local pastor from a church in Newbury Park, CA that was located at the base of Old Boney Mountain. He pointed out that they could continue to share their delicious sauces with the world but also raise money to support others by partnering with charities. I got to interview founder Jeff Losey, so I’ll let him give you all the details of his business:
Old Boney Mountain Hot Sauce
“We have been passionate about sauces and spicy recipes for over 25 years,” Jeff revealed. “Having had the opportunity to travel extensively and visit hundreds of diners, greasy spoons, hot dog stands, and watering holes, we have had the pleasure of sampling some of the finest and spiciest sauces, sandwich spreads, and chilis. WE LOVE HOT SAUCE! We incorporated our sauce company in 2011 and we gave the sauce away for a couple of years. One day, at a local church breakfast event I was eating a breakfast burrito with what was to become our original sauce (Old Boney Mountain Original Kiwi Pear) on it, and the Pastor said, ‘Why don't you sell the sauce and give the proceeds to our water charity?’ As I was walking home from that event I realized that I have a place to live, I have food on my table and I have my health. Some people in this world don't have clean drinking water or food on the table. Many of our war Veterans have given up their health and well-being for the freedoms that we have. At that moment, I decided to take the pastors advice and start selling our sauce to benefit charities like Lifewater International, Food Share, Wounded Warrior Project, and our local school arts and athletic programs. It may be an unconventional way to raise money but what we are trying to do with Old Boney Mountain Hot Sauce Corp is set an example. If you have enough to live on, why not help others? Why not establish a business that can produce continuing revenue for worthy charities?”
“We have also given away a heck of a lot of sauces, Campfire Chili, and Grotto Dust (super-hot dried, crushed red peppers),” Jeff told me. “There are many hot sauce lovers out there who have cancer or other illnesses who we can help cheer up by providing them with hot sauce. I find personal satisfaction when I am able to give a bottle of sauce to a hot sauce fanatic in the hospital. I recently sent some to a fan in the hospital who is battling cancer. He sent me some pretty cool pictures of himself with our products through Instagram along with a nice note of thanks. That stuff makes my day! Our business is very small, and our donations are not based on profits. My wife and I run the business: We have no other employees, and we do not take a salary from the business. We donate right off the top of each sale. We sell all of our products at competitive prices compared to other small batch, all-natural sauces. The difference is that with every single bottle of sauce we sell retail, at least 25% goes to charity. When we sell wholesale to distributors at least 5% goes to charity. Everything else goes to overhead. While we would like to break even some day, you will notice that our mission, ‘Help others and have fun doing it,’ says nothing about profits."
The inspiration for some of Jeff’s fruit-based sauce flavors stems from when he tried a homemade mango sauce in the Virgin Islands. He decided that when he returned to California after that trip, he would start experimenting with sauce recipes that incorporate different fruits. As a huge fan of fruit-based sauces myself, the list of the sweet flavors they offer had my mouth watering.
“Currently we sell Strawberry/Banana Lady of the Mountain which is a mild sauce,” he explained. “Kiwi/Pear Original, and Pineapple/Mango Ventura County Line, which are both medium heat, and Black & Blue Berry Spirit, which is pretty hot but not over the top. Which one is my favorite? There’s a place in my heart for each one of them. I like to say that if you've always wanted to love hot sauce but could never get into it because of the flavor or the heat, then you need to try the Lady of the Mountain Strawberry/Banana because it's a great flavor and low heat. The top sellers are the Ventura County Line Pineapple/Mango and the Spirit Black & Blue Berry. I must say that I am partial to the Pineapple Mango for the flavor and the Spirit for the heat.”
In terms of looking towards the future, Jeff’s goal for his company is for them to continue to grow.
“The more sauce that we sell, the more people we can help,” he pointed out. “Our long-term goal is to make this a business that is self-sustaining, and producing significant revenue for our charities.”
Jeff was also quick to point out how grateful he is for his customers who keep coming back for more and add to the company’s growing momentum. His passion for flavor as well as philanthropy are shared by many of his fellow sauce producers and aficionados.
“I would also like to acknowledge all of the small batch sauce makers around the world who are a part of a very tight-knit community,” Jeff said. “We make sauces out of love for what we produce. We are hooked on the burn, the endorphin rush, the creation of something special. We love to make people happy and appreciate the feedback that comes when our sauces are enjoyed. To all of my Facebook followers and Instagram friends, I salute you!”
To support several great causes and enjoy unique, small-batch sauces, you can order Old Boney Mountain sauces at oldboneymountainhotsaucecorp.com.