RUTLAND, VT--May 1, 2019--For Vermonters, Sugar Bob’s Finest Kind is quickly becoming synonymous with excellent naturally-smoked maple syrup products: With two SOFI(™) Awards under their belts already (a food industry honor for excellent and innovative products), the small, family-owned business took home yet another win last month from the Specialty Food Association for their Smoked Maple Sriracha that is quickly appearing on tables across the nation. The winning hot sauce is a take on the spicy Thai condiment that uses Sugar Bob’s Smoked Maple Syrup along with a blend of peppers, garlic, and apple cider vinegar. Sugar Bob’s Finest Kind (or SBFK, for short) runs its operations out the Vermont Farmers Food Center in Rutland, Vermont and there they lovingly turn out bottle after bottle of SOFI(™)-award winning smoked maple syrups and barbecue sauce as well as roasted nuts and even bear repellent from the by-products of the hot sauce production process! Now Sugar Bob’s VT Maple Sriracha, which fills out the trinity of their best-selling, items can lay claim to honor as well.
For business partners “Sugar Bob” Hausslein and Andrea Ogden, this latest award is a source of pride: “The recipients of these awards are chosen by top industry professionals through totally blind taste testing,” explains Sugar Bob. “When we won our first in 2016 for our Smoked Maple Syrup, we thought it was just beginner’s luck. Then came the second one for the Smoked Maple Barbecue Sauce in 2018 and we thought, ‘huh, maybe we’ve got something here,’ and now this third one really nails it for us: It affirms the validity of our Smoked Maple Syrup and its accompanying family of products as legitimate, ground-breaking, and deliciously innovative.”
The SOFI(™) (which stands for Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation) Awards are considered a top honor in the specialty food industry: The prestigious award celebrates culinary excellence and creativity through recognizing the outstanding work of passionate and innovative food artisans both nationally and internationally. Sugar Bob’s VT Maple Sriracha was one of about 150 winners selected by a national panel of 60 top specialty food experts including chefs, journalists, recipe testers and specialty food buyers from over 3,000 entries across 39 categories. Each entry carefully judged on taste, ingredient quality, innovation and creativity. "As a judge,I'm looking for great flavors, pleasing textures, and quality ingredients...Is this delicious? Does it replace something I already like or does it innovate? And why do I need it on my table?” says award-winning broadcast journalist and SOFI(™) judge, Meredith Ochs.
“Yes, we are primarily sugarmakers,” says Sugar Bob, “but we have become industry leaders in using maple in savory applications, in mixology, in barbecue, and in many other culinary areas. We have a clean ingredient list, we only use maple wood in our smoking process, and we partner with neighboring farms to supply the nation with our delicious products.”
This win for the “small company with big dreams” is a well-deserved one, achieved in part with the support of the Vermont Department of Agriculture Food and Markets, Food Export Northeast, Food and Business Accelerator Windham Grows, and the Vermont Specialty Food Association. They have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Better Homes and Gardens, The Boston Globe, among others, and their Savory Maple Sampler (bottled in 2-ounce TSA-compliant travel-sized bottles), featuring all six specialty sauces-- including the three SOFI(™) award winners--can be found at Uncommon Goods, Amazon, and at sugarbobsfinestkind.com.
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Media Contact: Andrea Ogden, firstname.lastname@example.org (802) 430-4299