It doesn’t matter where you fall on the flavor spectrum; whether you like spicy, sweet, or savory and rich, we can all agree that any consumable product (i.e. beer, food, hot sauce, etc.) should be delicious and is usually better when the ingredients are fresh, local, and all natural. Especially compared to that other mass-produced, over-processed, and utterly bland stuff on the shelves.
Enter TorchBearer Sauces.
The small, yet rapidly growing family business was started out of Harrisburg by Vid Lynch, Ben Smith, Tim Wortman, and Vid’s
parents, Tom and Pat. Like most small businesses, TorchBearer started as an accident. Looking for a way to save a surplus of habanero peppers from the garden, Vid and Ben decided to make habanero preserves. Realizing they were on to something special, they packed the car and headed to Texas to pick up 666 pounds of peppers. A batch of hand-made, hand-bottled, and hand-labeled bottles later, the boys set out to the Cajun Hot Sauce Festival in Louisiana, looking to share their creation—only to be validated further by winning three national medals.
Similar to brewing a great craft beer, the ingredients matter; better ingredients equal a better product. TorchBearer is passionate about this concept. They quickly realized that the mass-produced stuff all tasted the same. Obviously the same can be said about the beer world. The reason for this, of course, is the ingredients, which TorchBearer strives to find and use only the best local and all natural. Their focus on this can be seen in their tagline “Accidentally Healthy. Intentionally Delicious,” which Vid says is the backbone of the company—it tells of their history and their passion for using delicious, healthy ingredients—of which all can be pronounced (or grown in your garden for that matter).
TorchBearer is also working to bridge the gap between local craft beer and local craft hot sauce. At the moment, they have their sauces for sale in the gift shop at Tröegs Brewing. Vid says they are interested in building stronger relationships with breweries, even open to using the beer as an ingredient in their sauces.
After eight years of brewing and bottling delicious sauces, TorchBearer is still keeping it in the family. Although they have
grown from the initial 666 pounds of peppers and are now bottling 350 cases a day—from savory garlic to super-hot Zombie Apocalypse—family and community still remain the driving force behind the company. The three friends, Vid’s parents, and maybe even an ex-girlfriend, along with the support of the local community, keep the company moving and growing. In keeping with the community theme, during spikes in the season when orders are up, TorchBearer creates jobs for people in the community who are out of work; whether it’s working at mall kiosks, fairs and festivals, or in the kitchen making the sauces. As they grow, their goal is to be able to create full-time employment opportunities for a few of these people who have helped TorchBearer get where it is today.
So whether you’re a “hot-head,” prefer the tangy taste of BBQ sauce, or the sweetness of mangos and papaya, TorchBearer has a sauce for you. Once you try some hand-made, gourmet sauces, you’ll forget about that other mass-produced stuff you’ve been using for all this time.