Requirements, Introduction and Brand Story…
A tasty Southern Tradition for over 150 Years
I'm interested in having a label design created for a food product. A bottle-neck hanger and website design will be a takeoff from the graphics created and selected in this contest.
The product is a Southern Style BBQ Sauce that literally has been handed down from the slave days in Mississippi but was virtually lost and unavailable to the public since 1960. I’m looking for a creative re-birth of this sauce using contemporary design elements without losing sight of the conservative yet very hospitable flavor of the Old South. As a designer, you pretty much have a free hand to be creative. What I have written is rather lengthy but I feel very important for you to really get into the feel of what I’m looking for.
There’s quite a story behind this sauce. It goes way back…back before the Civil War during the slave days as we know it. First a bit about me and my interest in reviving a 150 year old Southern Tradition…I was born and raised in Mississippi…growing up in an era of unrest during the initial days of the civil rights movement. I’m setting the stage to tell the story of this time tested Southern tradition. I believe the designer needs to have this background just as an actor needs to get into the role of their character.
As a young boy in the late 50’s I worked alongside my father in his business. Yeah, he got me started with work responsibility early on…8 years old. I guess that would be in violation of child labor laws today. LOL My father was a distributor for Tom’s Foods…then called Tom Toasted Peanut Company. At the time Tom’s had a huge line of snack food products that we distributed. Sales and Distribution was handled through route personnel that sold and delivered the product to our customers. There was one particular sales route that I really enjoyed helping on the most in my home town of Greenwood, MS. On this route was Lucas’s BBQ Stand. Talk about good BBQ sandwiches and especially the BBQ Baby Back pork ribs….Yummmmm. Once a week we called on Lucas to fill his rack with fresh snack foods and we always worked that route so by the time we got around to Lucas it was lunch time. However, our patronage went well beyond lunch once a week. My father would call in an order for ribs and sandwiches at least two or three times a month to take home to the entire family. Lucas’s BBQ was a household name in Greenwood.
As the story goes, the real genius behind Lucas’s BBQ was Ms Katy, as we all knew her. Katy was a delightful Black woman that was always smiling and cooking up great BBQ every time we called on them… a real friendly lady as I remember. Considering our goal here, she sort of reminds me of Aunt Jemima Brand and its depiction of Aunt Jemima on its label. Perhaps we should look at the possibility of a more modern stylized version of this depiction.
It was Katy’s BBQ sauce recipe that was the smoking gun at Lucas’s BBQ Stand. Every time we had lunch at Lucas’s place Ms Katy would just laugh and talk up a storm. On one such occasion she shared a little bit about her BBQ sauce and how it had changed a little over the years. She goes on to say that her recipe had been handed down from as far back as her great-great grandmother. She did speculate that if could have gone back further. She just didn’t know for sure. When you put the math to it, we know the recipe goes back at least before the Civil War. Katy died when I was about 13 years old…she was 76. When Katy died, Lucas BBQ died with her. For all practical purposes an iconic product in our little town was lost forever. To this day it’s only folks my age that can even remember Lucas BBQ. The recipe has not been available since.
It was in 1990, practically 30 years later, that the recipe re-surfaced. As a child, I was virtually raised by a black nanny. In those days and in that part of the country that was quite common. Some very loving and affectionate life-time bonds were created. My nanny’s name was Annie. Throughout my life, up until her death in 1990, Annie was as much a part of my family as my Mother and Father. Once when I was visiting Annie…comforting her after the recent death of her husband, August, we started reminiscing about many things and Lucas BBQ came up as one of the topics of discussion. I was telling her how much I loved his BBQ Ribs and what a shame it wasn’t around any longer. On that thought, she leaned over and whispered in my ear with a degree of secrecy…”I have Katy’s BBQ sauce recipe”. With that said, she was all about giving her little boy, as she called me, the recipe and the instructions to properly make the sauce. I was truly touched at the time… not necessarily to get the recipe but to share and experience her excitement for sharing her secret with me. I never knew how Annie ended up with the recipe. I guess there could be several people in the black community with the recipe but I imagine Katy kept it pretty close and Annie must have been pretty special to Katy or whoever gave it to her. Of course, I wrote everything down Annie told me and ultimately put it in a safe place. Annie died shortly after that…grieving for her life-mate, August.
Unfortunately, when Annie gave me what she said was Katy’s BBQ sauce recipe, I was thankful but, at the time, was focused more on my career and making a living…if you know what I mean. I was several years later that I gave the recipe any real thought. I had friends over for dinner one evening and once again a bit of reminiscing went on and Lucas BBQ came up again. I told my friends this same story and they were quite insistent that we at least try it. We figured that if it was really Katy’s sauce we would know it. I was certain I would. Being so preoccupied with business it wasn’t until a few months later I decided one lazy Saturday to make up a batch of this sauce and put the mystery to rest.
The instructions Annie left me were quite precise with the only downside being the time involved in preparing and cooking the sauce to just the right consistency. It was truly an all-day, 2 day affair. After carrying out Annie’s instructions to the T and 2 days later the sauce was in the bottle. The recipe Annie gave me made several gallons of sauce…go figure.
The following weekend we were prepared to give it a go. I decided we would try it out on Baby Back pork ribs. I sort of consider myself a pretty good griller but I never really liked putting baby backs on the grill all day…loses too much flavor and tends to dry out. I prefer baking a few slabs in the oven in a cover pan for a couple hours and then put them on the grill to finish the process basting the ribs with the sauce for about another 30 minutes. That’s what I did here. Well, sure enough, it was the real deal. It had been 35 years since I tasted Katy’s BBQ ribs.
After looking into some history behind BBQ sauce in general, I got some answers to questions I had about the sauce recipe I had inherited, so to speak. BBQ sauces created prior to refrigeration and especially 150 years ago were mostly vinegar based sauces. The meats were soaked and marinated in these vinegar based sauces as a preservative and somewhat of a tenderizer. I found that there has been debate for decades as to which is best…vinegar based sauce or a tomato based sauce. The only logical answer to the debate in my mind lies with the beholder of the taste buds…to each his own as they say. The market is there for both.
The sauce I have is a bit different. It has a distinct vinegar smell and taste straight out of the bottle but it also has a balanced portion of tomato base that when used takes on a different very tasty characteristic. The facts about this sauce are quite interesting. There’s only four (4) ingredients in the sauce…salt, vinegar, tomato paste, and cayenne pepper. These four ingredients in there precise proportions are very important but the cooking process is truly the smoking gun. Hummm…that’s not a bad slogan, “Smoking Gun”…no pun intended. LOL Of course, the old saying “different folks, different strokes” certainly applies to BBQ sauce. A quick look at the grocery shelf and the space dedicated to BBQ sauce will tell you that. It is interesting to note, however, most all BBQ sauces have a generous portion of sugar in them. This sauce is for those that like spicy not to mention its use in many different ways. Most BBQ Sauce with Sugar added can’t be used in creative ways.
In general, vinegar based sauces penetrate the meet and carries in the sauce flavor throughout the meat … drenching it with subtle flavor that gains rich layers during the barbeque process leaving a pleasant little twang. Sweet sauces don't do this but only cover the meat leaving two tastes on the palate. Oddly enough though, far more sweet sauces are sold than not.
From a marketing standpoint I think, as some would say, less may very well be best in this case…four ingredients…All Natural, 100% Organic, No Sugar added, less than 8 cal. per serving and the taste is great for those that like spicy. To look at the sauces on the shelf at the grocery all most all have some sort of sugar in them…sugar, brown sugar, honey, etc. etc.
It seems that most BBQ sauces are exactly that…limited to preparation on the Barbie. With this sauce, I have developed several great preparation methods to accommodate a number of meat and seafood choices. For instance, I stumbled upon a taste that blew me away using the sauce on broiled shrimp…a shrimp sauce, if you will. The BBQ sauce combined with an amount of pure melted butter makes for a fantastic dipping sauce and further a sopping sauce for garlic toast. Bet you can’t eat just one. Anyway, this sauce is not limited. I’m still developing ways to use the sauce on meats and seafood.
My thoughts are to produce a great looking label along with a bottle neck hanger to come later once the label is designed.with a short version of the branding history and several suggested recipes.
The suggested label size for the 16oz bottle is 2.5” x 8” and for a 32oz bottle it is 2.75” x 8.5”. I will need finished files for both sizes.
Size of the Bottle-neck hanger will be at the designer’s discretion. I’m thinking the hanger could be a folded piece approximately 2” x 3” Finished size with 4-6 panels to accommodate history and recipes. Perhaps attached with a string around the bottle neck through a small 1/8 hole drilled in the finished folded piece…Open to suggestions.
Recap of Important Points to consider…
• Name of the product will be Katy’s with a sub-title not yet decided and is open for suggestions…something consistent with the Brand History. Possible considerations are: “A Southern Tradition”, “150 Years of Southern Tradition”, “For Those that Like it Spicy”, “The South’s Finest”, “The South’s Premier BBQ Sauce”, etc.
• Label size for 16oz bottle…2.5” x 8”
• Label size for 32oz bottle…2.75” x 8.5”
• Nutrition Facts
• UPC code (will be provided)
• QR code (will be provided)
• No added sugar
• 100% Organic
• All Natural
Amount Per Serving 2 tbs.
Total Fat 0.0 g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 280.9 mg
Potassium 74.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 2.6 g
Dietary Fiber 0.2 g
Sugars 2.3 g
Protein 0.2 g
Vitamin A 2.2 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 0.6 %
Vitamin C 1.6 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 0.9 %
Calcium 0.4 %
Copper 1.4 %
Folate 0.2 %
Iron 1.7 %
Magnesium 2.1 %
Manganese 4.4 %
Niacin 0.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.1 %
Phosphorus 0.6 %
Riboflavin 0.4 %
Selenium 0.4 %
Thiamin 0.2 %
Zinc 0.2 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.