Featured Hot Sauce Maker: PexPeppers

3 min read

Garrett Peck, PexPeppers

When you picture Pennsylvania, people often picture gritty industrial towns like Pittsburgh, or historic (but sometimes equally gritty) Philadelphia. You don’t generally picture it as the birthplace of a growing hot sauce brand, but Pennsylvania is where PexPeppers was born.

How It Started

Garrett Peck, PexPeppers founder and hot sauce mad scientist, began his spicy journey by experimenting with a box of habaneros from his grandfather’s garden, and honey from his grandfather’s bee hives. Those early experiments with honey came to be incorporated in not only the PexPeppers brand, but honey is showcased as one of the few ingredients many of his sauces use. 

Over time he started to experiment with some of the flavors and heat combinations that have become the hallmark of PexPeppers sauces. “My friends and family really enjoyed my sauces and thought I should refine my recipes and sell them professionally,” Garrett said recently. “My company was born out of necessity to stay clean of drugs and alcohol. I needed to fill my time with constructive activities so I decided to start cooking up some new spicy treats.” 

PexPeppers Pueblo Red

Sometime in late 2010, Garret’s first hot sauce, hornetbomb, was born. As time progressed he saw more and more people getting interested, so he started to add new and exciting flavors. “My mission was simple, to balance heat and flavor,” he said.

PexPeppers officially launched in 2011. In 2016, Garrett moved his operations to Pueblo Colorado, where he could utilize one of the most flavorful chiles in the world, the Pueblo Chile.

What Makes PexPeppers Unique?

PexPeppers has become known, not only for the array of new sauces that Garrett creates, but the use of minimal ingredients (many sauces have only three or four ingredients), low sodium, honey as a predominant sweetener, no additives or thickeners, and often very intense heat.

“Our number ONE best selling hot sauce is Cosmic Peach hot sauce,” Garrett said,  “which contains an awesome balance of orange habanero, peaches, and honey. It's absolutely to die for if fruity heat is your thing! Our Pueblo chile sauces have quickly risen in our ranks to become our most beloved sauces since moving here to Pueblo, especially our Pueblo Red hot sauce.”

But what about that heat, that PexPeppers is famous for? “Most of our sauces rate at 50%+ chile pepper concentration while retaining an amazing balance of flavor AND heat,” Garrett said. That means that PexPeppers sauces stay very true to their pepper origins, celebrating the taste of the peppers without overwhelming the flavor with vinegar, a closet full of spices, salt, or fillers.

Challenges

Launching and growing a popular sauce brand isn’t easy. When asked what typical challenges PexPeppers has faced as it has grown, Garrett said, “One of the biggest challenges I face as a smaller sauce producer is that sourcing materials can be kind of difficult, especially in a post-COVID world. Also seasonal events such as hurricanes and other natural disasters can easily wipe out pepper suppliers.” Garrett added that, “A backup plan is always a must. The other big challenge is getting new people to try new things and spreading the word.”

The Industry

So what trends does Garret see in the industry? “I'm really starting to see people break out of the traditional salt and pepper hot sauces moving towards the gourmet foodie side of things,” he offered. “The amount of flavor variety out there is simply astounding! We are a very proud member of this movement!”

PexPeppers' new kitchen

Looking Forward

PexPeppers future is definitely looking bright. Garret’s line of sauces continues to grow, and so does the company’s physical presence. When asked what’s next for the company, Garret said, “Fast forward to 2022 and now have a lineup of 21 sauces with new products being added all the time!” One of these new products, that Garret has hinted at, is a new line of hot pepper jams to complement the extensive sauce offering.

But one of the largest recent developments for PexPeppers is a new facility. “After years of hard work we finally have our very own cannery and retail store!” Garret said. “That means you can visit us if you ever find yourself in Pueblo Colorado. Our place is located at 2705 Lake Ave Pueblo CO 81004.”


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