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BREW Partner: Matt Beeson of Swamp Dragon Hot Sauce

“I just don’t like taste of white vinegar at all,” said Matt Beeson, inventor and owner of Swamp Dragon Hot Sauce. “Grandma uses it to clean counter tops and windows, and I think that’s the best use for it.”

Having been born in New Orleans, Beeson was always a fan of spicy food. Because of his distaste for white vinegar, however, he really didn’t like most of the popular hot sauces on the market.

“I’ve been a foodie my whole life,” Beeson said. “I started checking the labels of hot sauce bottles because I like spicy food, and they all had vinegar. I wanted to figure out a way to break that unholy alliance.”

Since he couldn’t find the sauce he was looking for on store shelves, he decided to make his own. By April 2017, Swamp Dragon was on store shelves.

Vinegar is commonly used in hot sauces because of its preservative properties, Beeson’s hot sauce uses liquor instead of vinegar to preserve the sauce, resulting in a radically different taste. He says this eliminates vinegar’s overpowering taste, and even makes the hot sauce pretty good on sweets, like a Rice Krispie Treat.

Swamp Dragon currently produces hot sauces made with rum, vodka, tequila, bourbon and ouzo. Beeson also did a limited run of a cognac-based hot sauce that retailed for $250, which sold out. The limited edition sauce caught the attention of Most Expensivest, a Viceland show hosted by 2 Chainz.

The producers of the show contacted Beeson and arranged to feature Swamp Dragon in an episode, which will air August 6. Swamp Dragon will also be featured along with 2 Chainz on the Today show on July 25.

The announcement that Swamp Dragon would be featured on the show interested us because Beeson has worked with several Tech Park staff members in the past, and has also participated in past BREW events. He didn’t really have experience in the food industry, and his experiences at BREW helped him to get his business off the ground. Beeson said BREW gave him the skills necessary to seek out good investors for his company and weed out bad ones.

“Be more careful about who let invest in your company,” Beeson said. “Make sure they’re team players.”

We decided to have Beeson come to the Tech Park and let some of our members try his sauce. He had posted a video online of people not being able to handle the vinegar flavor in their favorite hot sauces after trying Swamp Dragon. He referred to it as the Swamp Dragon Shootout Challenge. We wanted to put it to the test.

Of the ten people that participated, nine said they no longer liked their favorite hot sauces after trying Swamp Dragon. Beeson also pulled out some Rice Krispie Treats, which the rum hot sauce went particularly well with. Pretty much everyone who tried the hot sauce could not get enough of it.

Matt Beeson is one of many talented Baton Rouge-area entrepreneurs that will be at BREW this year. Visit https://www.celebratebrew.com/ for more information.

Stephen Loy