Grammy Award-Winning Guitarist, Songwriter, and Best-Selling Author Chris Perez to Release New Hot Sauce Brand with Top U.S. Grocery Store H-E-B
Chris Perez, husband to the late superstar, Selena, dubbed the ‘Queen of Tejano music,’ released his custom “Perez Pepper Sauce” online on Saturday, November 16, 2019 to rave reviews. Fast forward to a year later, what started out as a casual conversation over dinner between Perez and his great friend John Gomez, has led to an amazing opportunity with the top U.S. grocery retailer H-E-B. On November 2, 2020, fans can start looking for Perez Pepper Sauce in almost 200 H-E-B stores throughout Texas and just in time for the Holidays. There are currently two flavors, the multiple 1st and 2nd place Golden Chile award winning 'Original' flavor sauce (red) and the 'Jalapeño' flavor sauce (green), developed by Perez and business partner Gomez. The sauce will also be available for online ordering at HEB.com and ships to 46 states and military bases.
“It's always been a life-long dream of mine to launch my own hot sauce brand and enter into the Fiery Foods Industry, and now we get to offer my signature hot sauce to the masses in partnership with my all time favorite grocery store, H-E-B,” says Perez. “My love for spicy food began as a young child when I accidentally ate a Mexican chili pepper,” recalls Chris. “I guess you could say that’s when I had my jalapeno popped,” laughs Perez. A scene from the 1997 biopic "Selena: The Movie" (portrayed by mega-star Jennifer Lopez) showcases Chris's (played by actor Jon Seda) love for hot sauce, which remains strong to this day. (See clip here: https://youtu.be/OmXqVW7Ux7s)
Rewind to August 2019. Before attending a Dallas Cowboys football game at AT&T Stadium, Gomez noticed that Perez was carrying chili peppers in his tote bag during dinner. That was when an idea was planted to help Perez’s passion to create his own hot sauce brand become a reality. While hanging out on the sidelines prior to the game in the company of legendary players Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith, Gomez casually said, “You should create your own hot sauce, Chris, I can help you. What’s better than football, beer, hot sauce, and chicken wings?” A spontaneous brainstorming session ensued, engaging the minds, talents, and creative energies of the two friends. Soon after, a partnership between Perez and Gomez was formed, called Tongues Ablaze LLC.
John Gomez is a successful talent manager/entrepreneur with twenty-five years’ experience in Entertainment, Music, Sports, and Drama. He’s worked closely with a vast network of key influencers and decision makers and has represented multi-platinum artists of all genres- Grammy winners, Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, Hip Hop and Rock legends, Pro Sports Athletes, and artists at various stages in their careers. Knowing how important it is to take potential investors' personalities and business reputations into consideration when seeking seed money, Gomez reached out to his good friend and business partner, Marc Colombo, to help fund the new hot sauce venture as an angel investor. Colombo is a former American football offensive tackle who played for eleven seasons in the National Football League for the Chicago Bears, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Miami Dolphins. He is also the former Offensive Line Head Coach for the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants.
To produce Perez Pepper Sauce, Gomez and Perez worked with the masters at CaJohns Fiery Foods and John Hard to develop Perez's original pepper sauce. John Hard is a member of the Hot Sauce Hall of Fame and his products have won more national awards than any other producer. "The 'Original' flavor is truly a gourmet hot sauce that will amaze people," says Perez. "We own the recipe and spent a lot of time developing it to make sure we had a delicious blend of premium quality peppers, spices, and ingredients resulting in an exquisite balance of flavor and fire. It's tasty, hot and goes perfect on everything," Perez adds. "The best thing about the sauces is that they are so versatile, you can use the original flavor as a marinade for barbecue and hot wings, which trust me, you're going to love," says Perez. "The jalapeño flavor is a perfect sauce on breakfast tacos like egg, bacon and potato. It just works so well with tacos," adds Perez. Tongues Ablaze LLC recently moved operations from North Carolina to Texas and partnered with Tom West of Ol' Gringo Chile Company, making the deal with H-E-B even more attractive.
“Even though Perez Pepper Sauce will just be two offerings for now, as business expands, the aim for Tongues Ablaze LLC is to be a one-stop shop for different kinds of hot sauces, BBQ sauces, salsas, rubs, and snacks with a distinctive and unique taste,” says Perez. “In the past, there were only a few segments of the society that appreciated and used hot sauces with the same big hot sauce brands cornering the market for years. However, this has changed as hot sauces have now hit the mainstream market with Global market projected to reach a value of US$5.5 Billion in the next 4 years, so for prospective entrepreneurs, there is no better time to come into the market than this time when the industry seems to be on an upward trend,” says Gomez.
“Hot sauce is now considered the sexiest of all condiments, straddling the line between pleasure and pain, and people have increasingly become interested in sampling new sauce taste sensations. I want to hopefully shake things up a bit by offering sauces and products that are ethnic or culturally inspired from various regions such as Mexican and Spanish sauces among others,” Perez adds.
“Chris’s passion for spicy foods and his entrepreneurial spirit is what made me keen to start a salsa company with him in the quest to become a successful hot sauce business. Chris also has a strong Social Media presence with over 850k Facebook followers and 560k Instagram followers. As we all know, Social Media is increasingly more important in today’s marketing world. If you have a solid following on social platforms, it’s proof that people have an interest in you, your relevancy, and how you can carry a brand to the world. Salsas, hot sauces, and barbecue sauces are among the fiercest battles in grocery in Texas, with limited shelf space, but I believe Perez is set to be a market influencer and will have a great impact on the market,” says Gomez. "Over the years I've done some pretty cool things in the entertainment industry with some pretty cool people, but getting a product onto the shelves of H-E-B is no doubt one of my proudest moments. I'm super proud of what my dear friend and business partner, Chris Perez and I have accomplished in a short year with our business Tongues Ablaze LLC and the Perez Pepper Sauce brand, and this is only the beginning," concludes Gomez.
“For those of you that don’t know, I'm a Leo, so for the logo of my new hot sauce brand I wanted something that was reflective of my personality. I went with a lion's head surrounded by some peppers ablaze, and appropriately named my sauce Perez Pepper Sauce. The lion represents the King of the Jungle, and just like Budweiser is the King of Beers, maybe one day Perez Pepper Sauce will be the King of Hot Sauce. That’s the dream anyway,” says Perez. "I would like to give a Special Thank You to H-E-B and their amazing team for choosing Perez Pepper Sauce to be on your coveted shelf space. Our hearts are filled with gratitude as Big as Texas," concludes Perez.