Posted 6/18/2012 12:00 am
Updated 2 years ago
About a year ago, Ron Watson of Little Rock and Brent Shad of Chicago, co-owners of Sooey Foods Group, spent $20 on ingredients and cooked up a batch of Sooey Sauce, an all-purpose seasoning, marinade and table sauce, that they packed into 36 Mason jars and sold at a hair salon in Illinois.
Two days later, a woman called asking for a case of the sauce. The next day, a man called asking to buy two six-bottle cases. Watson said that was when he really knew they were on to something. Now, after investing more than $120,000, the company has a manufacturer and is selling about 900 cases of Sooey Sauce a week.
A cartoon drawing of "Little Sooey," with his snout dripping with sauce, on the bottle may give Sooey Sauce the appearance of a barbecue sauce, but Watson is quick to point out it's not. Although, he said, it does taste good on barbecue.
So what sets Sooey Sauce apart? "We go good on everything. We are not a one-dimensional sauce," Watson said.
That sentiment was echoed by Watson's celebrity cousin, former Razorback Darren McFadden of the Oakland Raiders.
"One thing about Sooey Sauce, it's good on everything. Whatever you want to put it on, it's going to be good," McFadden told KATV-TV, Channel 7, at a Hot Springs food show in January.
In May, McFadden hopped in the Sooey-mobile and went on a four-city tour promoting the sauce and signing autographs with stops in Batesville at Hawgs Exxon, Mountain Home at Arena Sports Bar & Grill, White Hall at Sandy Acres Grocery & Market and Benton at Smith-Caldwell Drug Store.
The sauce, which is officially licensed by the University of Arkansas Razorbacks, can also be found for sale at the UA campus bookstore in Fayetteville and Hogg's Meat Market in North Little Rock and is available to eat at various restaurants.
In the next couple of months the company plans to launch a bloody mary mix and a rub, which Watson said can also be used on the rim of the glass to set off "the best bloody mary you'll ever taste."
But their plan to expand the line of products in the Sooey Foods Group doesn't stop there. Watson said his partner Shad, whose family has been making the sauce at home and using it on everything since 1923, "has got taste buds like nobody else," which has led to testing hot and mild versions of the original sauce, a Sooey burger, white sauce and even chips.
Until those products come to fruition, SooeySauce.com offers a variety of recipe suggestions, including sloppy Joes, pot pie, shrimp dip and many more. You can also buy an 18-ounce bottle of Sooey Sauce for $8.99 or six bottles for $49.99 on the website.
For more information on purchasing or becoming a distributor of Sooey Sauce, contact the Sooey Foods Group in Little Rock at Sales@SooeySauce.com or by phone at (501) 420-3635.