News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Aug. 25, 2024: A cherished scotch bonnet recipe passed down by a Jamaican grandfather has transcended from a humble dinner table in Westmoreland to gracing the shelves of numerous Target stores and Target online across the United States.
Drew Gray, the Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Scotch Boyz, shared with Jamaica OBSERVER ONLINE that his grandfather, originally from Portland and settled in Westmoreland, imparted not only his treasured recipe but also his wisdom about spices and sauces to the family.
“Our family has a deep connection with spices and sauces, and the kitchen has always been a significant part of our lives. I’ve been cooking from a young age, and our family gatherings were always filled with pork and jerk cuisine due to our strong jerk heritage,” Gray expressed. “As I grew older, I started adding my own twists to various family recipes and honed my culinary skills.”
Gray’s personal touch to his grandfather’s recipe marked the inception of what would eventually become the renowned Scotch Boyz hot sauce.
In 2016, during his time at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Gray and his friends and co-founders of Scotch Boyz – Kemar Swaby, Matthew Wallace, and Neil Hudson (the company’s CEO) – entered a barbecue competition purely for fun, showcasing their “secret” sauce. The sauce was an instant hit, its popularity soaring so high that they decided to bottle the creation.
Four years down the line, these young entrepreneurs introduced their hot sauce online on Amazon after Caribbean distributors turned them away due to the saturated sauce market. In the same year, their sauce gained the spotlight as an Amazon homepage seller in support of the Black Businesses Initiative, and it was also featured on QBC’s Big Ticket Winner, resulting in several thousand bottles being sold in a mere eight minutes.
Their greatest milestone materialized this year when they successfully launched their product in 600 US retail giant Target stores, facilitated by the Shae Moisture Next Black Millionaire’s program.
Scotch bonnet peppers, primarily found in Africa and the West Indies, are a type of chili pepper dubbed for its supposed resemblance to a Scottish tam o’ shanter bonnet. They’re occasionally referred to as Jamaican hot peppers, Bahama mama, or Caribbean red peppers.
To maintain their brand’s authenticity, these enterprising youths opt to purchase their ingredients locally. “We strive to support Jamaican products as much as possible. Sourcing raw materials locally from small farmers across the island is our priority. While scotch bonnet is our main ingredient, we also use pimento, scallions, and onions in our sauces, which are essential components of jerk cuisine. Whenever feasible, we source locally, but for items like bottles and cans, we have to import since they aren’t produced locally,” Gray clarified.
Their commitment to giving back resonates in their initiatives to assist the Westmoreland parish in western Jamaica. In 2021, they donated tablets to the Savanna-la-Mar Primary School, and they continue to engage in various charitable efforts.
“Three out of the four founders were raised in Westmoreland, and we ensure we support our community. Our contributions extend beyond our product; sales revenue is reinvested into the community by funding local school projects. The brand embodies our heritage, friendship, and community,” Hudson emphasized.
In their future plans, the Scotch Boyz envision expanding to include a vegan line, diverse variations of jerk seasonings, and an array of sauces.