Whiskey junkie that I am, I was sucked into a story online today about how the “Holy Grail of Whiskey” had just fetched over $1 million at auction. Only two kinds of people pay that much money for one bottle of, well, anything: obscenely wealthy superfans of the liquid in question (who’ll actually drink it, possibly to impress a love interest because everyone else who’s overcompensating for small junk just buys a ‘vette) or obscenely wealthy collectors (who won’t). Credit Suisse even compiled a report making the case that booze is a good investment if you’re into collectibles. Does the same apply to hot sauce, though?
Back in 2005, Cackalacky launched a special five-ounce autographed bottle from The Cackalacky Classic Condiment Company’s Single-Batch Private Reserve Stock. Unlike the company’s usual $5.99 version, the one autographed by owner Page Skelton packed a price tag north of $98,000. The infamous Chip Hearn even carried it for sale at his specialty distribution company and admitted the whole idea started out as a joke that came to life.
To the best of my knowledge, it never sold, although to be honest, I haven’t checked on that yet. Regardless, buying it would have netted you not just five ounces of hot sauce for more than the cost of gold bullion, but also a cookout at your place with Chip and Page doing the honors.
Hot sauces don’t get better with age the way wine or spirits can. Shelf life depends on what’s in them and they do expire over time. The $98k you’d spend on that would be a pig cookout with Chip and Page for you and 100 of your guests that also included an autographed bottle of Cackalacky. That’s a pretty cool party but memories don’t work too well as financial investments.
In my opinion, the real collecting with hot sauce lies in the bottles. They don’t expire unless you hit them with a hammer or drop them on the floor. A few years ago at the Fiery Foods Show, Hellfire Hot Sauce brought out the big guns with some expensive custom bottled sauces that were jaw-dropping cool.
Hot sauce will never be as mainstream as whiskey or Scotch, but with artwork like this, over time the bottles may hold more value than the sauce inside them.
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