It was freaking delicious!
we both lost.
January 2021. We needed another banger to compliment the award winning Surfer Slappin! Sauce. The people spoke, and they told us to get weird and spicy. Chef O’Rourke began boiling, whisking, and blending an array of peppers and fruits. Much akin to a glad scientist in an aromatic laboratory. Iteration number one included four berries of the blue, rasp, straw, and black varities. We had habanero in mind, and plenty in the garden to experiment with, so we picked, seeded, and mashed them up to add hot smoky goodness to the four berry banger. What came of this concoction was a muddled mess of incoherent berry overload. But not for long...
At once, but also after many more mixed berry madness, the chef’s intuition allowed him to narrow down the nonsense, and pair the habanero peppers with strawberries exclusively. I remember the evening we brought three versions of the newness to The Dive Bar & Grill in Carolina Beach to let our hot sauce loving freak friends provide some feedback. Oh what a night. Late February back in twenty one. What a very special time for we. As i remember, what a night. The yet to be named hot sauce was too thin and sad. The strawberry wasn’t prevalent enough. The color was just a bit off. Points taken. We added applesauce to mix, and therein lies the jammy consistency that this masterpiece holds today. A sexy dark red sauce with a very berry burn emerged as a clear cut winner in the kitchen.
We needed a name. Sean Sauce was an early forerunner, but eventually gave way to ideas such as Angry Berry, The Strawpocalypse, Berry Burner, Strawbanero Sauce, Hababerry, Strawberry Hurtcake, and other silliness. Legend has it both Brian & Chef O’Rourke both said Danger Berry simultaneously, and the bromance magic in their eyes grew three times stronger that day. Danger Berry Strawberry Habanero Hot Sauce had a recipe and a name.
She needed a label worthy of the flavor fumes inside. And finally, Brian was able to help. For he was only needed prior to this as a taste tester, and general counsel. Using a twenty two year old version of Photshop, and the wee hours of the morning, a bright red strawberry centric label began to take shape. We set strawberries and skulls on fire. We threw flames on the nutrition label, and smoke rising from the Danger Berry font. We made up an arbitrary heat scale that only we were privy to. A habanero fused strawberry image won out, and we wanted a green shrink wrap top to imitate the likes of a strawberry leaf. Several miscommunications later we ended up with a black top bottle, but the berry hot bravado inside remained delicious.
Today, Danger Berry boasts a strawberry skull label with a bright green shrink wrap, and a truly unique flavor burn. Initially thought of as a wing sauce, the pure sweetness, fruitiness, and jamminess of the sauce led to numerous food pairings we never imagined possible. Good friends swear by Danger Berry on pancakes & waffles. True enemies of ours cannot have a strawberry margarita without rimming the glass with Danger Berry & salt whilst adding the hot sauce in to the margarita mix. I’ve personally found cheesecake as my favorite yum yum to drizzle the danger on. Sean prefers his mixed into cream cheese and on a breakfast bagel.
Fast forward to the word is out about Danger Berry. We now collaborate with DrumTrout Brewing on a Danger Berry Blonde Ale, and with Boombalatis Homemade Ice Cream on a Danger Berry strawberry ice cream. In addition, Block Taco concocted a Danger Berry chicken taco that was loved by all. This hot sauce won the Bronze Medal at the SIAL International Food Show for an innovative product, and took runner up in the North Carolina Specialty Foods Association “Best in Taste” contest. In September 2023, Danger Berry won 1st place at the Pinehurst Barbecue Festival!
What’s next? We’re thinking Danger Berry pineapple pizza, a specialty cocktail with a lucky bar downtown, and possibly a spicy donut collab with a local donut shop. We’d love your input as well, so hit us up with your ideas for the next Danger Berry takeover. Stay saucy, my friends.
When: January 29th, two thousand twenty two, there was a Signal Fire in the streets, tell me where were you? Sean was enjoying bbq & beers with local reggae legends, Signal Fire. Hot sauce fans, and rock star mans - the band needed a picante banger in their lives. In love with Surfer Slappin! Sauce already, these rock steady mellow fellows requested a thick & spicy, citrus nicety. We were taking it cool & easy, taking it slow. And all of a sudden in Rocktober, nine months later, a bottle of Lift Up was birthed.
What: Sauce is what we got, it’s within our reach. And the Sea Monster style’s still straight from our beach. This liquid love juice Lift Up lathers one’s tongue in tang while the thickness throat drip drops the heat, and the savory flavor. Her color is that of an autumn afternoon in an Amsterdan arboretum. An intense aroma almost immediately invigorates the nasal, while the denseness dances tongue top in your mouth cave. The pour is slow & precise much like a molten cayenne avalanche meandering down Mount Tabasco.
Who: Mucho gusto, me llamo Sean and B. We’re cornier than Sean Gregory, Cullen Seward, Kenneth Forrest, Michael Root, Tristan Burns, and Carl Blackmon - the esteemed Signal Fire team. Each of ‘em enjoy the spicier things in life, and strive to spread unity through music. Love that. Sean O’Rourke put in the leg work, and made that ass twerk for this 3rd sauce in our repertoire . Many a righteous rendezvous’ made a bright citrus sauce so damn good, it was Brian’s turn to bestow his blessings upon the condiment. Labeled and named, this unlikely outfit of misfits united like a pride of conquering lions.
Why: We don’t practice Santeria, we ain’t got no sense at all. Well we had a zillion sauce ideas but we’d, we’d found our call. The band brings beautiful music to our port city beat by beat. Uplifting lyrics listened by lovely loyal fans, and a meaningful message of unity ultimately made our decision as easy as another day in paradise. Presently, Lift Up Hot Sauce gives Sea Monster all the feels knowing we help spread unity via and vicariously through the melodies, and bromance that bloomed in the Signal Fire flower bed.
Where: We took this trip to Myrtle Grove, it smelt like Lou dog in the house. This is a funky reggae party, leave your worries at the door. Lift Up is now nestled snuggly on shelves in over a 100 stores. Put a dollop of crazy on your oysters, empanadas, wings, and rice bowls. That’s where the flavors roll. Greenfield Lake Ampitheater on 10-23-22 twas a twilight to remember as members of Signal Fire announced our collaboration to twelve hundred hungry hungry hippies. Yippie! With both Brian & Sean & family in attendance, the evening lives in infinite infamy in our young history.
Stay saucy, my friends.
The inception: We’re normal guys; the jobs, the wives, the foods upon which we snack.
A young chef Sean secrets a family sauce recipe so savory, he shares only with his favorite folks. Luckily, Brian invited Sean to an all day beer olympics shit show meticulously detailed with custom logos, wager tracking, and man foods. For the benefit of these misters that night, Sean bathed our barbecue dinner with what is now Surfer Slappin! Sauce. Many, many mouths watered for more, and plates were literally licked. Impressed with the organization, and overjoyed by the gist of the games, Sean offered up an idea so wild, we giggled in glee. A truly un-scriptable plot twist.
The process: We're ambitious guys; the dream, the desire, the wind at our backs.
Twas the twilight of July 19th, 2018 whence thee articles of incorporation were filed for Sea Monster Sauces, LLC. Mere days before, the Mack kitchen was full of flavor fumes fueled by vinegar, orange juice, tabasco, and red pepper flakes. We had a “legit” company and the 1st batch of a banger. Beholden by our beer buddies and family, we sauced everyone, including our first bottling partner - The Veggie Wagon. We scaled quickly with reckless abandon, and blind ambition. November 2019 we brought home 3,000 bottles of our sunny Surfer baby in 12oz bottles lovely labeled and sticky sweet with a tangy slap of heat. Success seemed inevitable despite our multiple missteps, and blatantly flagrant disregard for the bottom line. Happy, having fun slanging sauce all over Wilmington. A truly remarkable meteoric rise.
The name: We’re beach people; the vibe, the lifestyle, the sand in our curvy cracks.
Sean Knew immediately his baby’s name would be Surfer Slappin! Sauce. Brian liked not loved it, but the sheer shimmer in Sean’s sultry eyes, and love in his voice is not something any man can say no to. Now the name is loved by all whose lips love language is sauce. A truly memorable moniker.
The label: We’re dapper dudes; the dad jokes, the attire, the tattoos on our lower backs.
Fun and carefree along with yum and made in NC were foreground in the first iteration of fonts and hues. ehh. Today we boast a bodaciously bold pantry panty dropper of a bottle. Black top, bright red booty and blues aplenty. A truly grabable bubbly bottle blouse.
The present: we're weird guys: the slap puns, the satire, the seriousness our souls lack.
Surfer Slappin! sauce on turf or surf is tappin tongues across the world. Sweet sticky stickers are stuck on unsuspecting spaces all over the places. Our waves of bbq sauce silliness break upon distant shores with tsunami like force and salami like gurth. We relish in the delight of our customers' joy. We embellish how easy the sauce game is. A truly chugable condiment masterpiece.
The thank you: we’re humble hunks; the gratitude, the rave reviews acquired, the spicy pace we’re on track.
Thank you to the O’rouke, the Mack, and Ledford families for your fathoms of advocacy that sustained the Surfer Slappin! Sauce helmed side hustle. Thank you to you. You follow, you like, you comment, and you purchase this product of passion. A truly unforgettable fan base of brethren.
Stay saucy my friends.
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