Review: Blue Sky BBQ Sauce Original (4/5)

Andrew Blue Cordell is working on some big plans in 2018 for his tasty sauces.   He made a great appearance at Jungle Jim’s in Cincinnatti (which is a store I need to go to)  and is planning on being at the 2018 Fiery Food show in Albuquerque in March.  He is working on all sorts of fruit-based variations to his sauce line-up .   Look out for his Blue Sky BBQ sauce coming to a store near you!
OUTSIDE THE BOTTLE

Appearances mean a lot – especially when you are on the shelf sitting next to established powerhouse brands such as Sweet Baby Ray’s, KC Masterpiece, Kraft, and Hunts, and other sauce makers with bigtime name recognition and mass market pricing advantages.

So why should someone try it?   What’s your promise?   Why should someone try it?  What’s the point of trying out this particular sauce?

Who is your target audience – happy homemaker, sauce for a recipe, or a tailgater, or a budding BBQ smoker.   What is going to be the hook which catches their attention?

This is a nice looking label with a decent name.  Blue Sky BBQ almost seems like a Montana based thing, inspired by Alabama (where the sauce-maker grew up) but put together and shipped out of Pennsylvania.

The name is OK but lacks originality or uniqueness that ties to something bigger and it’s hard to fully understand the Alabama Good reference except for Alabama being in the South and the assumption that the south tends to produce better BBQ.   So I’d say on the label going all in for a particular theme wouldn’t be a bad idea.  Alabama Good – or Straight Outta Bama.  Or the Alabama Slamma BBQ Sauce – or something more theme-like – The Smoothest Alabama BBQ Sauce Ever.. Who’s going to question that, after all, Alabama BBQ sauce is more associated with Big Bob Gibson’s Alabama White Sauce – which is mayonnaise based and intended to be applied onto a roasted chicken before roasting / broiling to a creamy perfection.

[Edit 12/8/17: Turns out his middle name is Blue and I think that’s really cool and a creative artist could probably do something really cool with that.]

The colors on the label and the copywriting was also decent, but not inspiring enough to cause me to want to take additional action.  The quality of the packaging is high-end and the investment in high quality equipment and packing is clearly noted.

For the copywriting – in terms of the connection to the flavor, I enjoy a direct tie in.   I love when a sauce promises “Sweet and Warm and Tangy – with Zest” (making this up) and when I taste the sauce – sure enough I get the reference completely.

With this sauce, we’ve got the “it goes great on everything” blanket statement and a “I know you’re gonna love this” comment from the founder – Andrew.  These statements are awesome when you are in the store or in-person, but on the bottle it comes across questionably if the person hasn’t heard of the person making the statement.  So it’s little too bold and not specific enough.

I like to have something a little more focused – this sauce was designed to make the ultimate BBQ Sauce pizza – and goes awesome on chicken too.  I like how Easy Peasy’s Chicken Insurance BBQ Sauce does this.

INSIDE THE BOTTLE

I was a little harsh on the outside of the bottle, just because I want to help.  Once you get someone to try this stuff, it will be tough pulling them away.  The aroma is nice – very smooth and mild with nothing strong or overpowering.  The texture was just right and moved around the jar likely a freshly made batch.

Uncooked I couldn’t detect many of the individual flavors or negative aftertastes.  There was no overwhelmed vinegar element and not tangy at all.  Seemed to be made with very natural ingredients and easy to add to just about anything. And it blended together nicely so that there was no one individual flavor dominating the sauce like many other smaller brands often do – alienating the potential repeat buyer because most people just want a simple, thick, sweet BBQ sauce.

Cooked, the sauce delivers a similar flavor and experience as uncooked but didn’t change itself or transform in the heat except for a little caramelization.  I also forgot how much I like the flavor of a nice crispy bbq-sauce-coated chicken skin !   Usually I’m just using boneless chicken, so that was a nice little change.

SAUCE SCORES

OUTSIDE THE BOTTLE

  • Brand Name: 4
  • Label Quality: 5
  • Label Concept: 3
  • Copy Writing: 3
  • Connection to Flavor: 3
INSIDE THE BOTTLE

  • Appearance: 5
  • Texture: 4
  • Ingredients: 4
  • Uncooked flavor: 5
  • Cooked Flavor: 4

BOTTOM LINE

This is a delicious sauce that doesn’t need a lot of improvement to be a five star sauce.  The flavor was great and could go on just about anything.  The bottle was great too, and I always think the small glass Mason jar is a classy way to package a sauce.

The only areas I can think of for improvement is a lack of the “Wow” factor on the inside and outside of the bottle.  The sauce is smooth and tasty and mild, but safe and doesn’t hook you in with a “wow what is THAT flavor?” The outside of the bottle also is nice looking and professionally packaged, but the labeling is a bit standard and doesn’t demand my attention.

If you will be on the shelf next to the $2.00 bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s – you have to have a competitive angle.   What makes your sauce unique or special that will cause the casual shopper to try yours?

Check out some of the latest popular craft beers to see some really creative labeling and packaging ideas.   One of my faves, which I thought could be borrowed and work well for this particular sauce would be Maine Beer Company out of Portland Maine.   Simple white background, simple font, one little piece of color in the middle.  If I saw a sauce like this in my grocery store, I might just want to try it.

Check out Andrew’s Sauce here:

http://blueskybbq.com/ 

 

 

 

 

Site Editor, BBQ Sauce Lover, Family Guy, Hi Tech Marketer by Day. He recently wrote the Ebook “How to Market Your BBQ Sauce” which can be purchased on this site.

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