Here’s a special treat to those loyal HZOB readers out there…at least, we hope that are out there. Blair Lazar’s products have always been held in high regard by us, whether they be the tasty hot sauces or collectible items like his Reserve sauces. There are few names more recognizable in the hot sauce biz than Blair, so we are glad that he took a little time to answer a few questions about himself, his business, and how he likes to make chileheads FEEL ALIVE.
Tell us a little how you got started in the hot sauce biz.
While in the bar business, Death sauce was born. Demanding hot food and fun, the late night drunks never wanted to leave. So I made them a deal. If they could eat just four of my Death Wings, they could stay all night. To make a long story short, everyone always left. Little by little the word got out and I had found my passion. I saved up $600 in bartending tips to buy the very basics (and I mean very basics)…….and Death sauce was born
If you were gonna try to hook someone on your products, which single one would you give them and why?
Death Sauce…..no brainer. It has so many uses. It has a wonderful full balance of flavors, while still providing ample heat for even the most seasoned chilihead.
Most people (your fans, anyway) know the story of why you made the first Reserve sauce. What inspired you to make more of them, and is there a limit of how many/what kinds you’ll ultimately make?
When my passion and excitement leaves me, it is over. But since 1989, when I started, my passion and excitement has only grown each and every day.
How shocked are you by the monetary value that your Reserve sauces reach nowadays? I think the 4 a.m. Reserve, which we bought from you back in ’01, now sells regularly for ten times its original price.
Of course I am proud to say that my Reserves have returned people higher profits than all major indices. However, that is really not what I focus on… hours and hours go into these bottles (more than I think people realize). They are unique and handcrafted by me personally. The Reserves keep me very focused on not losing sight of how I started (ie burning my hands, getting spice in my eyes, going home with battle scars). Definitely not a desk job…that is very cool. So, as for the market…let it go where it may.
In the world of hot sauces & spicy fare, you have a bit of a cult following…which can only be good for business. How is your relationship with your fans & customers?
Great question!! My relationship with my fellow chiliheads could not be better. They are, in many cases, like family that I share trials and tribulations with. Not customers. Never customers. That is what this is all about, and why it works. It is real. No fancy business plan or complicated rule of mathematics.
Aside from monetary success, what goals have you set for yourself & company in this biz?
Honestly…and I mean honestly, I have never focused on monetary success. My focus since I started Death Sauce is, and has always been:
1.) Making people happy. 2.) Enjoying what I do. 3.) Showing other people how to make money. The rest will follow.
What direction, in terms of new products and collectibles, do you see your company going in the future?
I am not, and have never been a long term planner. No one can say what the future has in store. I believe that passion and karma will steer the way for the direction for Death Sauce as it has since 1989.