Marrion Demore has always loved improving on commercial bottled barbeque sauce. “I used to have really big family cookouts and I’d just doctor up some Open Pit to make it taste better,” Demore recalls. “People always said, ‘you should market this.’ I never gave it much thought until the economy went down hill. Then I knew I had to make it from scratch.”
Today, Demore calls himself the Rock and Roll Star of Sauce. In 2009 he began experimenting with homemade sauce, trying his various versions out on friends and family. Two years later, he had perfected his flavors and launched Demore’s Fusion Sauce in 2011 “There were a lot of taste tests and a lot of money being blown on bad batches, he says of his two-year journey. “It was important to me that my sauce was all natural, with no preservatives.”
Demore makes and bottles four versions of his sauce – mild, medium, flaming and hickory smoke. He uses ghost peppers, ground into a powder, to add the heat to his flaming sauce and buys his bottles from Cleveland Bottle and Supply. In addition to being all-natural, all varieties are also low in sugar and sodium. “It’s more sauce with less calories,” he says.
Demore describes his company as a grass-roots effort. He recently launched an online store on through his Facebook site. Last November he began handing out free samples and selling his sauce on Saturdays at Zagara’s Marketplace in Cleveland Heights, where he sells 15 to 20 bottles a week.
“A tell-tale sign to me us when you have a taste-testing and people buy it,” Demore says. “I let people try it and tell them about it. It keeps me motivated and keeps me going when people walk away with a bottle. Ninety-five percent of people are going to enjoy one of my sauces when they try it.”
While Demore still makes his sauce in his home kitchen, he has gone to the Cleveland Culinary Launch and Kitchen (CCLK) for advice and guidance. “Cleveland is very supportive once you plug yourself in,” he says. “Even though this is not high-tech, the platform is here. It gives you more confidence with the product to know there are people you can call for mentoring and that kind of thing.”
Demore is always thinking of new flavors and ideas. He is currently testing coconut and pineapple sugars in sauces and he is working on dry rubs.