Specialty Food Magazine

Spring 2019

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Summer Fancy Food Show Booth 2056 taurants, cruise ships, and Las Vegas casinos. Another startup involved adding nutrition and calorie information to guest receipts. "I'm still wondering why I did it," he says of starting a pickle company. "I cer- tainly could have been more successful by staying in software earning money instead of spending money. Maybe I did it out of curiosity. How do you make things? I've always had the mindset to create some sort of project or entity from the ground up. It's probably why I wanted to be an architect initially." Launching Pacific Pickle Works cost Bennett about $30,000 of his own money, along with some loans from family and friends. At first, he kept his day job and spent his spare time working out of a cater- ing kitchen. He also developed a relation- ship with the city's schools, trading pickles for free use of a kitchen. A co-packer didn't work out so he took a course from the University of California, Davis, and became licensed as a cannery. A branding exercise furthered along the visuals and a website. In 2011, four Santa Barbara stores agreed to stock four kinds of his hand-packed pickles. The names were crowd-sourced on Facebook, the winners proving to be Jalabeaños (green beans pickled with jalapeños), Asparagusto (asparagus spears with jalapeños and other robust spices), Unbeetables (beets), and Cukarambas (spicy cucumbers, now called ¡Ay Cukarambas!). The playful names got a dialogue going and soon more stores put them on the shelves. In 2012, Fenn Shui pickled fennel was released, joined the fol- lowing year by Bloody Mary Elixir, a spicy, customizable cocktail base. In a Pickle Pacific Pickle Works' growth, however, pre- sented a problem. Bennett sometimes had "I told myself I wasn't going to do any artificial marketing. I was going to put the pickles on the shelf and see if they sold because they looked good and tasted good. It had to fundamentally work to make a brand and a company out of it." SPRING 2019 49

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