By Jacob Mathias
JAR Hot Sauce, a small hot sauce maker formerly located in Wausau has moved its operations to the Stevens Point Area.
“I moved it to Stevens Point, literally in the last month,” said JAR owner Andy Thompson who has himself lived in the area for two years. He operates the business out of an office in his home.
The sauce can currently be bought for $4 to $6 online at www.jarhotsauce.com and in Wausau area grocery stores. Thompson said JAR sauces will be offered soon at the Stevens Point Co-Op and he is working on distribution at other local grocers.
In 2010, Andy Thompson and his friends Joel Wissmueller and Roy Rennhack, began making hot sauce as a hobby using ingredients from their gardens to create “the cure for common food.” They began bottling the sauce for friends, making the sauce in five gallon batches. Their original Mild Flavor Sauce proved so popular that their next batch was 30 gallons.
Each founder’s first initial is used for the name JAR.
JAR now uses Dorina, an Illinois-based food processor to manufacture its sauces as demand has expanded beyond their commercial capabilities. Thompson said they process 4000 bottles at at time.
“We make all the new stuff out of a garden that I grow,” said Thompson.
“I’ve always been a hot sauce and spice lover…I’ve always been a foodie,” said Thompson. “I experiment with almost every recipe that I’ve ever made. About 15 years ago I used my garden and made a hot sauce that I loved and refined it. In 2010, I worked with Joel and Roy and we all got together and modified my recipe.”
To meet demand, the friends started a small business in 2011 and found a certified kitchen where they could produce the sauce for commercial sales.
Demand continued to grow and the company added more products including their Hot Flavor Sauce and the Schadenfreude, a very hot, smoky sauce flavored with ghost peppers, habaneros and jalapenos.
The business took a hiatus in 2012 when Hennrack was killed in a motorcycle accident.
“We didn’t do anything for a few years,” said Thompson. “Just this summer I bought them out and said I’ll relieve you and we started up again.”
JAR’s most recent product is Schadenfreude-lite, a milder version of their hottest sauce which will be available within the next week.