The guys at Bravado Spice Co. have one mission: To make incredible hot sauces and seasonings with a big focus on flavor and not just heat. Their products are as unique as their personalities and feature flavors like pineapple, apple, and blueberry.
We had an opportunity to chat with Ryan Harcourt at the NYC Hot Sauce Expo and talk about how it all started, the first sale, his favorite hot sauce, and much more.
Julie: What inspired you to start making hot sauce?
Ryan: Our inspiration for making hot sauce came from the fact that we loved eating so much. We love spicy things and we were making tacos, couldn't find a hot sauce that did it for us so we were just like, "Screw it, let's make our own." So then we made the pineapple and habanero and the rest is history. That was our first one, still continues to be our most popular one today.
Julie: How long have you guys been in business, officially?
Ryan: We have officially been in business for about going on five years, it will be five years this October.
Julie: Do you still remember your very first sale?
Ryan: Oh yes, our very first sale to a store was a brand new little grocery store in Houston, Texas called Revival Market. We came in with bottles and said, "Hey, do y'all want to sell this?" They tried it, they were like, "Yeah, put it on the shelves," then we started bottling it up for our friends at our jobs to eat in the break rooms and people started asking us, "Can we buy this?" Okay, sure.
Julie: And you said, the Pineapple & Habanero continues to be the most popular product right now?
Ryan: Our first and most popular product is the Pineapple and Habanero Hot Sauce, it is the OG of hot sauces and it's always been unique to us and people have always been excited about it.
Julie: Which of your products is your personal favorite?
Ryan: My personal favorite is our Crimson Special Reserve. Oh yeah, the hot stuff. I felt like it solidified us as a hot sauce company in that we could bring the flavor and the heat.
Julie: If you could have only one sauce for the rest of your life, it doesn't have to be yours, it could be anybody's, but only one, what would it be?
Ryan: That's a really hard question. I think aside from ours, I use sriracha. I'm a Sriracha boy! Absolutely.
Julie: Where did the company name come from?
Ryan: Well, Bravado translates to "brave and reckless" and we felt we were brave and reckless to be leaving our comfortable jobs and starting a company together.
Julie: What did you do before hot sauce?
Ryan: We all worked at Apple. We were all salespeople for Apple. Jeremiah worked on fixing computers, we sold computers, worked in the inventory department, we did it all there. That's where we all met.