North Lake Tahoe foodies launch small batch sauce company
Tahoe Daily Tribune
INCLINE VILLAGE — Brought together by a love of snow and food, two friends have now launched their own craft sauce company out of Incline Village.
Andy Brimm and Erik Castaneda met at Diamond Peak Ski Resort where Brimm’s catering company operated Snowflake Lodge and Castaneda worked as the base operations manager.
“We got to be friends, and he’s a foodie and I’m a foodie so that’s all we did — talk about food and eat,” said Brimm. “I got fed up with buying BBQ sauce that I wasn’t happy with. It’s all syrupy and thick and sugary, so he and I started messing around with the BBQ sauce first and finally got to a point that we really liked it. We’ve been using it in the catering company ever since.”
After four years of experimenting in the kitchen, Brimm and Castaneda launched Small Batch Sauce Co. in January with their signature BBQ sauce as well as two varieties of enchilada sauce.
Every jar is made by the duo and canned in Brimm’s catering kitchen using only vinegar as a preservative.
“It’s all natural. In our BBQ sauce, there are only seven ingredients,” said Castaneda. “It’s a very well-balanced sauce. Our secret is taking whole tomatoes and smoking them for a few hours. That’s the puree and the base of the sauce.”
Small Batch Sauce Co. has started a new partnership with a farmer in Nevada City who is growing 50 organic tomato plants specifically for their BBQ sauce.
Using chilies sourced from farms in the Hatch Valley of New Mexico, organic chicken broth and an assortment of spices, the enchilada sauces are made with the same philosophy: simple, but flavorful.
“Eventually we’d like to grow our own ingredients, but that’s a ways out,” said Brimm.
For now the pair is focusing on ramping up production and experimenting with seasonal specialties, like a limited-edition applesauce.
“We’re going down to pick organic apples in the next couple of weeks from a 100-year-old orchard that’s never been touched in Guerneville,” said Brimm.
“There are over 200 trees with all of the species of apples you could ever want,” added Castaneda.
Though for now Small Batch Sauce Co. is as described — small — Brimm and Castaneda have hopes of getting their product in more stores and restaurants around the lake.
“It’s an expensive hobby at the moment that we want to turn into more,” said Brimm.
But until then, their sauces can be found at a few select locations on the North Shore: Mountain High Sandwich Company in Incline Village, Tahoe Food Hub in Alpine Meadows, and Tahoe Central Market in Kings Beach.
Claire Cudahy is a reporter for the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister paper of The Union based in South Lake Tahoe.
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