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Meet Michelle and John Davidson of Cooper’s Small Batch Hot Sauce in Aurora

Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle and John Davidson.

After more than a decade of working in notable kitchens throughout the US, including New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Chef John Davidson and his wife, Michelle, opened their own successful restaurant located in Denver Colorado’s historic South Pearl Street neighborhood, in 2007. The hotspot delighted foodies with homemade bagels, paninis, salads and an even ever-theatrical liquid nitrogen ice cream.

As the restaurant thrived, Chef John struggled to find food-friendly hot sauces to complement his popular menu. He found that most hot sauces on the market lacked depth of flavor, had overwhelming notes of vinegar or were so spicy that just a couple of drops burnt the palate. What John craved was a lineup of gourmet hot sauces that would make flavors sing and compliment food not overpower it. That’s when John and Michelle took to the kitchen and Cooper’s Small Batch-named after their son was born and sold at local farmers markets & at their restaurant.

In 2017, Michelle, whose background is sales and marketing rebranded Cooper’s Small Batch, hit the road officially September 2018, and introduced Cooper’s Small Batch to retailers throughout Colorado & the United States.

Cooper’s Small Batch is sold in over 150 locations with plans to continue servicing their customers with excellent customer service and great product, expansion  into more retail throughout the US & adding new products to their assortment.

Has it been a smooth road?
Beginning a new business is never easy, hot sauce is a competitive space and a niche product.  Navigating the road is bumpy and at times has led us down a path that is uncomfortable and in unknown territory. At the same time exciting; your adrenaline is pumping because every day new opportunities present itself.   We find that there is just not enough time in the day to get everything done. Keeping up with production is a challenge, our packaging has hand touched elements that are important to the brand, however it slows down the efficiency of production, so, we are constantly evaluating our process to mainstream it  without losing the handmade authenticity of the brand. A big bump for us was making the move to our own space, we moved in June 2019, right in the middle of our busiest season. It was extremely stressful trying to keep up with production, sales, and family life. Let’s just say, the balance was not in our favor.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Cooper’s Small Batch Hot Sauce story. Tell us more about the business.
Cooper’s Small Batch Hot Sauce is made from scratch in small batches . Our unique Hot Sauce flavors are carefully crafted to enrich food with the freshest feisty flavors. Our hot sauces are not meant to be the hottest hot sauce you’ve ever had. Rather, we are creating hot sauces that add spice and flavor to compliment your dishes without overpowering the food. Our hot sauces won’t make you cry, but they will make you want more!

We really try to focus on creating flavor combinations that would not typically  be found in a hot sauce with creative yet relatable names such as our Chipotle with Dates (Smokin’ Hot Date), Thai and Curry  (Thai Me Up), Cranberry and Ghost Peppers ( Perfect Storm), and Habanero and Arbol Chili (Grundle Thumper). Our most unique hot sauce, and what we are most known for is our White Hot Sauce made with Coconut Milk, and blended chili’s. (Leche Diablesa) it’s definitely a fan favorite, delicious on seafood, fish, or used as a substitute for mayonnaise. It’s also our son Cooper personal favorite and our daughter loves using Thai Me Up-she brings a small bottle to school with her.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The shelf-stable food industry and hot sauce, in particular, continues to grow at a feverous pace, inspired by local food trends, craft products, and continued interest in cooking and discovering and experiencing unique flavors in food. Hot sauce is the country’s fastest-growing condiment, Internet pepper challenges and POD casts such as Hot Ones have also spurred growth, we have noticed a tremendous number of younger fans including kids gravitate towards hot sauce; so much that a new award was given at the fiery food fest this year; Best Kids Sauce, for a not so hot hot sauce, in which Cooper’s Small Batch Hot sauce received a Third Place Scovie Award. This trend amongst the youth will continue to spur growth in the craft condiment sector for years to come.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Desiree Johnson photographer lifestyle images.

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