Wichita barbecue sauce maker featured in People magazine

11/28/2013 7:00 AM

11/28/2013 7:04 AM

A local maker of barbecue and other sauces is gearing up for a surge of orders following a feature in People magazine.

Big Rick’s Jalapeno Honey Mustard is featured in a “50 Foods from 50 States” article in People’s Holiday Entertaining issue, which was to hit newsstands beginning Thursday.

“We’re actually getting ready for selling basically 100 times more than we would sell during this time,” said Dennis Rees, primary member of Epicurean Investments, a private investors group that owns Big Rick’s.

Rees said he doesn’t know exactly how his company’s sauce got selected for inclusion. He said his product was sampled by a People writer about two years ago at a trade show in San Francisco. “I suppose that’s how we got included,” he said.

Rees said spring and summer are the busiest times of the year for Big Rick’s, which manufactures the honey mustard and 10 other sauces and condiments from an 8,000-square-foot warehouse at 400 S. Commerce, across from Intrust Bank Arena. It has three employees.

During the busy season the company typically ships about 100 cases of sauces a week to specialty stores and other retailers, primarily in the Midwest and Northeast. In Wichita, Big Rick’s sauces and condiments are sold at All Things Barbeque and Piccadilly Market.

The company, founded more than 20 years ago by Rick Doty, also sells its sauces to about 300 butcher shops in Australia. Rees said the sauces sold there are made by another firm under contract.

Rees said his company has also developed a new e-commerce website – www.bigricks.com – to handle additional sales. It engaged RSA Marketing for the new site.

He said he really can’t guess how much the magazine story will increase sales, but knows it will be significant.

“This is huge, when you think about (the reach of) People magazine,” he said.

If the company’s early production boost of jalapeno honey mustard isn’t enough, “we’ll be down there cooking sauce all night.”

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