ABOUT CO-OP SAUCE
Before there was Co-op Sauce, there was Co-op Image, a free arts and entrepreneurship organization that Mr. Mike Bancroft (a.k.a. the Sauce Boss) started with Chicago youth. Mike and the kids needed to raise funds to sustain the programs, so in 2003, they got together to brew, bottle and sell hot sauce to restaurants and at farmers markets.
Well, the business turned out to be hot, hot, hot!
In a few years time, Co-op Sauce went from being a fundraiser to a legitimate business that was growing fast and furious. The operation no longer bottles hot sauce in a small art center, but now has its very own café and retail location in Chicago’s Rodger’s Park neighborhood. The only thing that hasn’t changed much is the way the sauce is made: it’s crafted in small batches with hand picked ingredients sourced straight from farmers in the Midwest.
All of the recipes are hatched from Mr. Mike’s very own imagination, utilizing techniques including fermentation and barrel aging. Obsessed with spice and flavor, Mike the Sauce Boss takes inspiration from the farm-fresh ingredients to create flavors that enhance food, rather than overwhelm it with spice.
Co-op Sauce still donates half of its profits to Co-op Image and employs former program participants in the making and sale of the sauce.