Being longtime fans of Garry Sommerville's Kaitaia Fire, Peter Pipers co-creators Kyle Arnesen and Barry Power were inspired to create their own chipotle. Barry Power chatted with the team about growing distribution, having an eye on exporting and all things saucesome.
What is your company background, how did you start the business?
"Both Kyle and I are big foodies and had spent time on separate occasions in Mexico and felt we could create something special that Kiwis would really enjoy.
We both agreed we didn't want to use indoor or contract grown chillies as we needed to know the exact growing conditions for our raw ingredient, so this saw us take the more difficult path of becoming farmers and learning how to grow our own spray free jalapenos on the foot of a friend's Uncle's olive grove. At times we thought we must be mad taking the hardest path possible, but we wanted to be 100 percent certain that when someone buys a bottle of Peter Pipers NZ Smoked Jalapeno hot sauce they are eating the cleanest, purest handmade chipotle sauce we could possibly make, and that was paramount to us and worth all the blood, sweat and tears. We ourselves like to eat healthy, locally sourced food and want to help everyone else do the same, so we added our little gem to the mix.
One of the hurdles to getting started was finding a smoker that was big enough, and that hadn't been tainted with fish. A DIY home smoker wouldn't suffice from a Food Safety perspective so it was with a bit of lateral thinking and blind confidence that we thought to ask Westmere Butchery if we could use their smoker. Dave didn't hesitate at all and was super supportive, with him and a lot of his lads being big fans of chilli sauce, so a box of beers later and we were in business. We owe a huge thanks to him and the team at Westmere Butchery for their support and help.
With the growing and smoking, all sorted and after many recipes with much trial and error we created our Peter Pipers sauce. We then contacted Liz and set up a stall at La Cigale French Markets. The feedback we received at the markets was awesome; it seemed our little creation had found a place in the fridge of many an avid foodie.
From here we planted out more chillies for the next harvest and opened up retailers to make it easier for our customers to get our little red bottle of all natural goodness."
What are the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
"At present, we offer our Peter Pipers NZ Smoked Jalapeno Hot Sauce in one heat, Medium. Our product is unique in that it only contains Jalapeno and Vinegar; the only other pseudo-ingredient is the sweet aroma and flavour of Manuka as we warm smoke the jalapenos for four hours before small batch production runs all stirred and poured by loving hand.
We are one of a kind in that we retain the nutritious seeds in our sauce which act as a great source of capsaicin and anti-oxidants."
Has there been any recent company news?
"We had a great day displaying Peter Pipers at the China-New Zealand Agribusiness Investment and Trade Conference. It was great meeting young and established New Zealand and Chinese business owners. We made some strong relationships and are working on how to co-create value from these going forward."
What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?
"Yes, we are looking at planting additional crops this coming season, and creating new variants with an eye on exporting our sauce to new markets next year."
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability? If so, where would you like to see the product situated?
"Peter Pipers is available in a number of great establishments; the likes of Farro Fresh, Father Rabbit, Westmere Butcher, Wise Cicada, IE Produce, Stafford Road's Point Wines, Waiheke Fruit and Vegetable, Seaview Meats, Ellerslie Organic Meats, Paper Plane, Moore Wilsons, Hungry Elephant and our Far North friends at Coopers Beach 4 Square.
We are in the process of growing our distribution, with a particular emphasis on food stores outside the Auckland region, and restaurants within the Auckland region. We would like to be known as New Zealand's premium hot sauce, using only the best raw ingredients to deliver on flavour and taste. When a restaurant serves or stores stock us, it's because they value and appreciate authenticity, local growers, and a superior taste experience in their food offering."