Whether it’s doubles with heavy pepper, Pelau with pepper on the side, or a mouth-watering mango chow laced with the spice, Life in Trinidad and Tobago is pepper.
Pepper is a main ingredient in Trini cooking and our hot peppers are world-renowned.
It should be no surprise then that one of our local pepper sauce brands is now award-winning – Alvin’s Hot Sauce.
Alvin’s Hot Sauce starts with the freshest Caribbean Scotch Bonnet Peppers blended to perfection with local paw paw, peppers, herbs, and spices adding flavour to all types of dishes. A true island pepper sauce with flavour up front and a slow building heat on the back of your palate.
At the Scovie Awards 2019, Alvin’s racked up the following awards:
- 1st place in the Wing Category (Alvin’s Yellow Hot Sauce)
- 2nd place in the Wing Category (Alvin’s Red Hot Sauce)
- 1st place in the Hot Sauce Category (Alvin’s Red Hot Sauce)
- 2nd place in the Hot Sauce Category (Alvin’s Yellow Hot Sauce)
- 3rd palace in the Hot Sauce Category (Alvin’s Red Hot Sauce)
Learn some more about Alvin Franklin himself, to find out more about the genius behind this award-winning success.
What were your first memories of hot sauce or spicy food?
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, and fresh garlic. The love for that recipe sparked my passion for a tasty hot sauce up to this present day. The exciting feedback throughout the years making the hot sauce at home for my family became a necessity in every meal. My family and I have been hooked ever since.
How did you grow from your first batch to starting your own company?
A culmination of events over the years, including consistent compliments and requests from family and friends to make more and more pepper sauce, cultivated the passion to perfect my recipe, for its taste and flavour. 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 company.
What were some lessons learned?
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 products can protect you from making major mistakes in the beginning. Making decisions on the planning and selection of your packing, for example, is crucial to succeeding early our in the company. I suggest always planning ahead for your next move. For instance, having a social media presence is a strategic move if you want to expand the audience and growth of your company. Having different strategies like sampling, entering competitions, and packaging etc. Lastly, surrounding yourself with people who share your passion, including the relationships when acquiring reliable sources for your ingredients, is truly important.
Describe your sauces and the way your company is set up.
My sauces have a complex flavour. They consider that we have the sensation of heat from the fresh hot peppers but also the savoury taste when it settles son your palate. The first wave of introduction to your taste buds, of course, is necessary. There is heat but there’s an equal enjoyment of the true taste through the spices of the Caribbean. If your meal is lacking the flavour it deserves, Alvin’s Hot Sauce will enhance it.
This company is kept alive by the demands of passionate customers who all need this as a staple in their pantry. That being said, this is definitely a growing and continuous lifetime career for me.
What inspires you to keep making hot sauce?
The relationships and feedback of my satisfied customers, family, and friends. Their encouragement has compelled me to stay the course on sharing my product. Truth be told, I just love what I do. It keeps me committed and driven.
Any advice for hobbyists interested in scaling and starting a hot sauce company?
Do your homework as a hobbyist. It’s 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 ensure honest feedback, whether positive or not before launching your company.
Alvin’s Hot Sauce has embedded into the markets of Trinidad and Tobago, U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, and the United States. The company keeps thriving on social media – Facebook and Instagram – and has its own website. It’s also available on Amazon. Call 318-2130 or 730-8532 to place wholesale orders!