DENVER — Shaun Goodwin started making hot sauce as a hobby almost ten years ago. He loved to cook, and began experimenting with bottling the hot sauce he created.
He started by selling them to friends, and launched a small web store. When the pandemic hit, he lost some other work and decided to fully invest in his hot sauces. His company, called Sauce Leopard, was born in August 2020.
“Originally when I started it, you know, I had no real anticipation of making it into a company," said Goodwin, who got the licensing for Sauce Leopard done between April and July of 2020, at the very start of the pandemic. “A nice opportunity that I wouldn't have had if it weren't for the pandemic.”
Many of Goodwin's sauces have names with nods to Denver, like The Colfax Killer. He showed Denver7 how he used to make The Colfax Killer in his kitchen. Now, all of his sauces are bottled on a conveyor belt.
“I owe my success to the city," Goodwin said about Denver.
For those in the hot sauce world, the YouTube show "Hot Ones" needs no introduction. The episodes feature celebrities being interviewed while eating progressively hotter wings. This season, Sauce Leopard was one of the sauces in the lineup.
“We've been sending them samples as we come out with new sauces. And they really liked this one, they never really bit on any of our previous sauces," Goodwin said.
The sauce featured on Hot Ones is called The Seventh Reaper.
“I have to watch. It's surreal. Post Malone, Kevin Bacon, Khloe Kardashian, eating a sauce that I made is really crazy," said Goodwin. “It does wonders for the industry. They are giving these small businesses a chance to put their product in front of the entire world, in front of the biggest celebrities on the planet.”
Goodwin said they have already seen a spike in sales, but believes this is just the beginning.
“Food in general brings people together, and I really like to cook for other people and now I really get to do that on a huge scale," said Goodwin. “It's not like making dinners for people, but I can make their dinners better if they don't taste good.”