“The thing about heat – spiciness,” says Claire Georges, “is that it is all in your mind. Unlike with the other taste sensations, you can train your mind to deal with extra heat.”
Claire, owner of Butterfly Bakery of Vermont, in Barre, should know. Hot sauces are kind of her business’ thing. “Yeah, we’re a bakery that makes hot sauce,” Claire laughs. “We like challenging people’s expectations.”
The company name actually dates to when Claire was doing it as a side hustle, making bread (literally and figuratively) at a bakery during the day, and baking granola and cookies at night. In fact, her bakery was a one-woman operation for about a decade, until a chance glut (800 lbs large) of hot peppers led her to veer off in the direction of hot sauces.
They were an instant hit (some have even made it onto the popular show Hot Ones) and there has been no going back. Now Claire’s “bakery” (which still makes cookies, bars, and granola, by the way) has multiple employees and makes a complete line of hot sauces (shipping over a quarter million bottles a year), mustards, salsas, dressings, and they recently bought Fat Toad Farm’s luscious line of caramels. The company also co-packages products for other producers, helping to develop new sauces and recipes for clients, then packaging them with the client’s labeling.
Despite this meteoric growth, one key element lies at the heart of all that Claire’s company does. “Every one of our products is made with 100 percent Vermont-sourced ingredients,” she says. From the hot peppers to the goat milk, from the flour to the maple syrup.
Oh, and Butterfly pays its workers a livable wage and donates 5 percent of all its website sales to the Vermont Food Bank.
Now that’s some heat we can all get behind.
The Vermont Maker Project