The General's Hot Sauce Becomes Part of a Great American Tradition
The General's Hot Sauce celebrated the end of the inaugural year of Tactical Tales on December 8 at its annual Army-Navy tailgate.
Inspired by the small-batch hot sauce company that started as an idea hatched at the Army-Navy game in 2012, friends and families around the country shared good stories and good food at college football tailgates throughout the season.
"Tailgates bring people together, and that's what our product is all about," said Dan Ballister, founder and CEO of Smoke Hall Foods. "We want The General to be a part of your family and friend group. We want to be there to help you to create those infamous tailgate stories."
Tactical Tales continues The General's mission of providing high-quality hot sauce that has a greater purpose. Since its founding, a meaningful portion of the profits from all of The General's sales goes toward supporting the military community.
"From the beginning, we set out to do everything the right way," said Ballister. "We're committed to being a zero-waste company. We donate to charities that help veterans and active duty servicemembers. And we make darn good hot sauce."
Those priorities were on full display at the Third Annual Army-Navy Tailgate hosted by The General's Hot Sauce on Saturday. Guests learned more about the company and sampled recipes that highlighted all four hot sauce flavors: bestselling Dead Red, power-packed Shock and Awe, limited-edition Marine Green, and the recently released Danger Close, which is a blend of red cayenne and orange habanero peppers. Additionally, an ammo can circulated around the tailgate to collect donations for the Veteran Golf Association and Boulder Crest Retreat-two of The General's nonprofit partners.
"America's Game" marked the end of a Tactical Tales season that traveled coast to coast, beginning in Columbia, S.C., where a former University of South Carolina mascot hosted a party in one of the legendary Cock-a-booses. From there, the floating party moved to LSU in Baton Rouge just down the road from the Louisiana farms that grow all of The General's peppers. Each sauce flavor is all-natural and contains at least 85 percent pepper.
Moving north, Tactical Tales arrived in West Lafayette, Ind. to spend time with fraternity brothers at Purdue University for their annual tailgate. To the attending veterans and Purdue fans, there was nothing sweeter than reminiscing about good times with old friends.
Veterans and active duty servicemembers were present at all of The General's tailgates. The company never loses sight of its larger purpose. Since 2016, The General is responsible for more than $155,000 in donations to several organizations that support the military community including Boot Campaign, The Mission Continues, The Brendan Looney Foundation, Paws4Vets and TD Foundation. Customers even have the opportunity to purchase gift boxes that donate directly to one of The General's nonprofit partners.
"We created this company to serve those that have served us," Ballister said. "We exist to create jobs for veterans and to donate an impactful amount to organizations that support the military community."
The sauce itself is a constant reminder of sacrifices made by our nation's heroes. Each flavor comes in The General's iconic grenade bottle. Fans at the University of Maryland thought it drew connections to the battle on the field.
"Every gameday we always came together for the tailgate-rain, shine, win, or lose," said Erin Canada, wife of Maryland Interim Head Coach Matt Canada. "Just like Matt always says, 'forget everybody but us.' We lived this out through our tailgates."
Other 2018 Tactical Tales stops included UCLA, Utah, Oklahoma, NC State, Auburn, Alabama, Penn State, and Clemson. At each school, storytelling was a major component because that's what Ballister thinks unites us all, and he wants The General to bring people together.
"We are a great sauce for the greater good," he said. "It's not a promotion. It's not a temporary marketing program. It's not a division of the company. It IS the company."