Tom & Brittany Geist were born and raised in sunny Southern California, fell in love at their high school prom, and have been together ever since. Tom joined the Marine Corps in 2003 and was deployed to Fallujah, Iraq for 11 months. Thanks to a diet of mainly Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), which need some help to go down easy, his lifelong love of hot sauce became an addiction.
That hot sauce addiction presented a problem and what turned out to be a life changing opportunity. In late 2010 Tom was transferred to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. After relocating his family and falling in love with the people and community in North Carolina, he realized something was missing – the classic flavors of Southern California “hole in the wall” taco shop sauce. After searching high and low he realized there was only one solution … make his own. Without knowing it at the time, SoCal Hot Sauce was born.
Tom started with recipes passed down from his parents and grandparents who grew up in San Angelo Texas and Morelia, Mexico. He mixed those recipes together with flavors picked up over the years frequenting SoCal taco shops and unique peppers grown in his Carolina backyard. Brittany bought squeeze bottles so Tom could take his creations to work to enjoy on his lunch and share with his co-workers. It didn’t take long before those friends caught the addiction and started offering to pay him to make them a bottle or two. A few bottles turned into a few too many bottles so they decided to sell what they had left on their local yard sale website in Sneads Ferry, NC. The sauce was sold out in one night and the customers came back for more!
From that local yard sale the path was clear. Tom and Brittany spent the next year and a half making and selling their sauces online and at festivals under the “TG’s Hot Sauce” name. What started as a passion, turned into an obsession, is now SoCal Hot Sauce™ “California Inspired, Carolina grown.”