Written by Alvin Franklin
In August of 2018, Alvin’s became available in the U.S. market. Alvin’s Hot Pepper Sauces immediately made its mark and received multiple awards in various categories from the 2019 Scovie Awards and 2018 Saucekers Competition.
Alvin’s Red Pepper Hot Sauce placed 1st in Hot Sauce (Unique), 2nd in Wing Sauce (Unique) and 3rd in World Beat categories in Scovie and took bronze in Saucekers. Alvin’s Yellow Pepper Hot Sauce placed 1st in Wing Sauce (Unique) and 2nd in World Beat categories in Scovie and took silver in Saucekers.
First memories of hot sauce and spicy foods
As far back as a child growing up, I have loved spicy foods. My brothers and I would always come together to make mango chow, which is green mangoes thinly sliced, mixed with fresh hot peppers, salt, black pepper, fresh garlic etc. The love for that recipe sparked my passion for a tasty hot sauce up to this present day.
The exciting feedback throughout the years of making the hot sauce at home for my family, became a necessity in every meal. My family and I have been hooked ever since.
Growing Alvin's Hot Pepper Sauces was a culmination of events over the years. It was a combination of consistent compliments and requests for more from family member and friends that sparked the passion to perfect my recipe for flavor and taste. Also, Entering and winning second place in a local hot sauce competition in St. Croix, Virgin Islands gave enough motivation and incentive to start my own company.
Lessons learned along the way
Transitioning from making your own batches to producing for a company requires patience with yourself. Doing proper research including looking at competitors and the demand of your product can protect you from making major mistakes in the beginning.
In addition, making decisions on the planning and selection of your co-packing is crucial to succeeding early on in your company. I suggest always planning ahead for your next move. For example, having a social media presence is a critical strategic move to expand the audience and growth of your company. And having different strategies like sampling, entering competitions and packaging is also imperative. Lastly, surrounding yourself with people who share your passion, including the relationships when acquiring reliable sources for your ingredients is truly important.
My sauce has a complex flavor, considering you have the sensation of heat from the fresh hot peppers but also its savory when settled onto your palette. First wave of introduction to your taste buds of course is the necessary heat but there’s an equal enjoyment of the delicious taste through the spices of the Caribbean. If your meal is lacking the flavor it deserves, Alvin’s Hot Sauce will enhance it.
This company is kept alive by the demand of the passionate customers who all need this as a staple in their pantry. With this being said, it is definitely a growing and continuous lifetime career for me. In August of this year, I partnered with Roger Kurtin to expand and set up national distribution for the U.S. Now everyone has access to a truly unique and award-winning Caribbean hot sauce.
What inspires me about hot sauce
What inspires me to keep making my hot sauce is simply drawn from the relationships and feedback of my satisfied customers, family, and friends. Throughout the years the encouragement has compelled me to stay the course on sharing my product, but truth be told, I just love what I do and it keeps me committed and driven.
My advice for new hot sauce makers
Do your homework as a hobbyist. It is essential that you carefully examine the hot sauce industry. Monitoring your costs properly, inquiring inside information from people within the industry, and testing your product first to gather honest feedback, whether positive or not, before launching your company.
Alvin’s Hot Sauce has embedded into the markets of Trinidad & Tobago, U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, and the United States as well.