If you’re local to The Woodlands or surrounding areas you may have heard of or met local entrepreneur Kerry Stessel or tried Hot Line Pepper Products.
Kerry started Hot Line Pepper Products in 2010, and also runs and administrates numerous popular local foodie groups in the area. One group The Woodlands/ Spring area, TX. Foodie Club has over 21,000 memebers!
I have tried many of Hot Line’s sauces which are all phenomenal (Garlicky Gringo is a personal favorite), and thought it was important to share and spotlight his hot sauce company as it’s getting very popular not only among locals, but it’s been getting attention in places around the U.S. as well. If you haven’t tried Hot Line Pepper Products you should get to the Hot Line Pepper Products website asap and try them all. Let me know what your favorite flavor is. You won’t regret it.
Kerry was kind enough to let The Woodlands Journal interview him so we could find out and share with you more about him and how the company started.
Woodlands Journal: How long has Hot Line Pepper Products been around?
Kerry Stessel: We started the company in 2010 and I was working on recipes 2 years prior. So 6 years
WJ: What got you into making hot sauce and what keeps you inspired?
Kerry Stessel: It started with poker nights with my buddys and everyone would bring something to snack on. Mostly salsa and pico and it turned into a friendly competition to see whose was better so I decided to change the game and take it to another level and made a habanero hot sauce. It was delicious on everything. I’m inspired by my desire to be able to create great tasting products that people love and compliment us on. It makes me happy.
WJ: How many places currently carry Hot Line Pepper Products?
Kerry Stessel: We are currently in about 100 stores or so and have been in around 2,400 stores total with a seasonal promotional deal we did.
WJ: How can merchants carry your hot sauce in their stores if they would like to?
Kerry Stessel: Retailers, distributors and restaurants that are interested in carrying our products can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and request pricing and samples if needed. We offer wholesale , distributor and retail pricing and even offer gallons for food service. We are actually looking for independent sales reps/ Distributors right now to hire to assist us in reaching all the potential accounts we currently have lined up.
WJ: How many varieties of hot sauce do you have? What flavors?
Kerry Stessel: We currently have 7 hot sauces and a Hatch Chile powder seasoning. Mild to extreme are Garlicky Greengo, Hatchanero, Ajo Hatchanero, Rojo Hatchanero, Evil Ooze , Ghost Pepper and Scorching Scorpion
WJ: When did you first get into the food / foodie industry and what got you into it?
Kerry Stessel: I’ve always loved food and have had a passion for it since I was 8 years old and wanted to become a chef. I love to cook and love to eat but decided I wanted to enjoy cooking and not do it as a job but wanted to do something in the food industry. Growing up, I remember hanging out in the kitchen with my grandmother on Saturday and watching her cook all day long. Great memories.
WJ: When did you start The Woodlands/ Spring area, TX. Foodie Club?
Kerry Stessel: I started the Facebook page about 6 years ago just to help support local restaurants and food businesses. The economy was rough and lots of good restaurants were going out of business because if people didn’t know about them and frequent them, they went out of business. I believe that its critical to support locally because it helps stimulate out own micro economy. We all need that now and it trickles down and effects everyone in the community.
WJ: What are the rules of the group as far as what’s acceptable and what is it’s purpose?
Kerry Stessel: I hate “Rules” really the only thing that I do not tolerate is personal attacks and bashing. That does not benefit anyone or the page. Most people contribute in a positive manner. My one message that I would love to get out to everyone is simple. Post positives about restaurants publically and tell the restaurant owner privately and confidentially if it’s a negative or if its helpful criticism to help them get better. People don’t realize the negative effects one person can have on a restaurant by saying hateful things about them to an audience of over 21 thousand members. It hurts them , their livelihood and their employees.
WJ: What are your favorite things about administrating your groups?
Kerry Stessel: I love to see the coming together of people over sharing our love of food. The interactions are amazing. It’s built friendships and has built a community with a common bond that has risen to the occasion many times to help those in need and raise money for charities and the Montgomery County food Bank. It is so amazing and warms my heart to see that compassion and love for each other and our community is alive and strong.
WJ: What sparked your interest to start The Foodie Club Entrepreneurs?
Kerry Stessel: I’m just here to serve. Plain and simple.
WJ: Do you run or manage any other groups you believe would be of interest or benefit to hot sauce lovers, foodies or entrepreneurs?
Kerry Stessel: I also have The Texas Foodie Club, The Foodie Coffee Club and The Hot Line Pepper Products page
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us.