A gift of pepper-infused vinegar to my father, Bob "Pops" Kamman, upon his retirement in 1993 is where it all began. Someone's failure to remove a price tag resulted in today's commercial food processing facility. First year Pops, an avid gardener, had copious amounts of peppers, herbs and time. Armed with gourmet gift bottles, he stuffed, filled and corked various infused vinegars. First year sales were a whopping $400. He incorporated in 1994, purchased liability insurance and quadrupled sales by adding a red pepper jelly to the product line. I'd help out evenings and weekends, a quasi production line was formed. Knee surgery sidelined my "real" job for two months, so Pops kept me busy helping him.
With a bumper crop of jalapenos, we put our heads together and decided to make a unique hot sauce, one where we smoked and dried the peppers over shag bark hickory, then finely ground to a powder. My culinary training suddenly kicked in, making sure we stimulate all the senses of your taste buds. Our chipotle sauce was born. Every gourmet/specialty shop owner who tasted it bought it. When the habaneros began ripening, we did the same thing, smoking the chiles for up to five days to achieve a truly unique flavor.
The next thing you know, our local paper, The Courier-Journal, called and wanted to interview us for an upcoming article about hot sauces, saying our Smoky Habanero sauce was "truly unique", perfect for ribs, turkey and even kale. Talk about kicking it up a notch, we were inundated with calls on who sells them. That also brought us to the attention of the Ky. State Dept. of Health. Working together, we located a licensed church kitchen to process our products. My day job started interfering with our budding sauce business. Pops retired again in '95, and I took the reins in hand.
With my wife's blessing and financial support, I located a small building that filled our needs and opened with myself as our first client. We've relocated to larger facilities twice and now process in excess of 60 products for clients in three states. Pops' commitment to quality ingredients, uncompromising manufacturing procedures and a willingness to put our guarantee behind everything we do allows us to grow every day.
(We are a high acid, low pH processing company according to the FDA.)