Local hot sauce maker fired up after celeb Instagram post

Authored By Chloé Morrison

Since model and social media maven Chrissy Teigen posted an Instagram story that included Chattanooga’s Hoff & Pepper, the local hot sauce manufacturer has been blowing up.

“It’s been a crazy 14 or so hours,” co-founder Aaron Hoffman said via email Friday. “Our phones have been lighting up with social media and texts from friends/family/fans. We’re seeing a giant uptick in online sales today.”

Hoffman and his wife Michelle, also known as Pepper, started by bottling hot sauce for Christmas one year and launched their business in 2015.

Teigen—who has 19 million Instagram followers and has published her own cookbook—said in her social media post that someone gave her the award-winning, locally made hot sauce.

Although his company’s products have gotten high-profile attention before, Hoffman said Teigen’s post has created a fiery, positive reaction.

He said:

Our products have been shared online before from popular social media feeds such as Mike Wolfe from American Picker, Orange Amplifiers, and the (reformed) band Sublime where we’ve seen our sales grow but this is at another level.

It’s also great to be featured by Chrissy Teigen because she’s known for her cooking and has just released a cookbook.

The business’ Hoff Sauce recently won first place in the Louisiana-style hot sauce category at the New York City Hot Sauce Expo.

The products are in hundreds of stores nationwide and the company has grown 300 percent year over year since launching.

There is more work to do, but Teigen’s post helps with name recognition, Hoffman said.

“This is definitely a big brand awareness win and as we win more awards and get in more stores we hope to continue the spread the word of Hoff Sauce,” he said. “We’re just one out of many small companies in Chattanooga trying to make it so this helps validate what we’re doing.”

In other Hoff & Pepper news, the company was recently accepted as a national vendor at Ace Hardware.

Next month, the team will get their product in front of about 3,000 Ace Hardware store owners at a Chicago event, Hoffman said.

“This will hopefully help us spread throughout the country,” he also said.

Check out a screenshot of Teigen’s post below.

Updated at 11:03 a.m. July 23 to correct a factual error. The company has grown by 300 percent year over year, not quarterly as first reported.