The Bully Sauce BBQ sauces have no added sugar per serving, and they use sunflower oil to provide a higher temperature tolerance, making them almost more like a marinade than a BBQ sauce, in part because the sauce won't char as quickly. "If you took the hickory smoke flavor out, they'd almost be salad dressing," Edens says.
Bully Sauce red sauce is Keto-friendly. "The workout community in Birmingham is going hard on the red sauce," Edens said.
For now, Bully Sauce remains on the cusp of a hobby--Edens still has a day job, although the job of figuring out distribution for a craft food product feels like another full-time job, with him sometimes taking off at the end of the workday for a six-hour round trip to Altanta to drop off product.
He says one of the biggest challenges is simply figuring our how product is going to get from one place to another and to stay on top of distribution, even if you are an accepted brand in large grocery stories.
"I had an idea that 'they' would call you if the product had run out," he said. "No one calls you. You have to figure out how to get it from point A to point B. You have to make sure your cost of goods is competitive--everyone is cost-conscious. Sunflower oil is more than canola oil, but there's health benefits, so we can sometimes justify a higher price--but not always."
Edens says that aside from distribution, marketing Bully Sauce is a challenge--how to get in front of your potential customers, feed word of mouth, and do the right things on the Web and in social media. He's doing it all himself right now, with an assist from his wife, but feels like he's about the turn the corner and be able to hire more employees.
His advice to other craft food startups? "Everyone has something homemade they might be able to sell. Before you even get started, have some groundwork done on who is going to get it into the stores. Unless you have a trust fund you have to have a second job--balance your time."
Edens says Birmingham is a great place for a startup, especially in the craft food space. "There are a lot of small companies that get started at these farmers markets and are blowing up," he said. "People are buying big on 'local' and from the Southeast region. Pepper Place is really big here for a farmers market and getting exposure--these outlets have really helped us."
Learn more about Bully Sauce, and their new BBQ rub, at www.bullysauce.com.