Stage Coach Bonafide BBQ Sauce (4/5)

I was about to start in on a Stage Coach review and then Josh Gilbert reached out to me and said

“Hold on! We’ve changed the label! I need to send you more sauce.”

And as you can see below, the changes add up to what I think will be a major impact, especially if the bottle is on the store shelves, attempting to sell itself:

  • They’ve called out a major key element “NO HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP” – a positive change in their ingredients list
  • You can clearly read the name of the company “Stage Coach Sauces”
  • You can clearly read the name of the specific brand “BONAFIDE BBQ”
  • The white background and text with shadows makes the text “pop” off the bottle

This is before…

This is after…

Nice makeover right?

One thing I didn’t like about the bottle is that it didn’t quite match the flavor with it’s look and feel.

(start tangent)

Speaking of labels I just got this comment from friendly reader Kurt Davis!

I don’t think having a flashy label and or bottle will sell any more sauce. Sweet Baby Ray’s is proof of that. The product is more important than the package… With one exception and thats Bone Suckin Sauce. Both their label and their product are truley awful.

Well, you’re wrong Kurt. Sweet Baby Ray’s secret is that they mapped out precisely the target market they were seeking and then honed in on the price point. It is cheap sauce that tastes good enough for most folks.  They did a huge nationwide ad campaign which you can see right here.  And if you don’t like Bone Suckin Sauce, I just can’t relate.  The taste is unique and the label design is so simple it stands out.

(end tangent)

When you see a bottle you scan the front almost subconsciously…  so when I scanned this one I saw the stage coach and thought …Western.  Cowboy. Smoky.  Mesquite.  I don’t know, but that’s what I’d expect out of a BBQ sauce with a stage coach on the front of it.  “Somethin’ you’d mix into yer beans when yer by the campfire.”  Maybe that’s just me being crazy.  But I expected more of a smoky profile…

When I got to “Garlic, Citrus, and Soy” on the bottle, I was taken aback.  Citrus??  Really?   Cowboys don’t eat Grapefruit!  or do they…?  Hmmm.  What kind of cowboys are we talking about here?

The flavor is good.  It attacks your taste buds on a bunch of levels – sweet provided by sugar, savory provided by the soy sauce, a little tang from the lemon and vinegar, and a trace of heat provided by jalapeno.  The consistency and real onion chunks add texture so it’s evident that they are using real ingredients.

This was a fun sauce to taste, but I’d recommend that Stage Coach Sauces either embraces or distances themselves from the word “citrus” in this one.   What do I mean?

Stick a lemon on the front of it or take the vague word “citrus” off the front of the label.   And I think that sticking a picture of lemon on the front will probably deter a lot more people that you might think… so I would simply change the wording to lemon-infused or something like that. The lemon flavor is not so strong, but it’s there if you think about it…  and I’m glad they did it this way as a stronger lemon flavor would have been a major turn-off for me.

Compare this to one of my first lemon BBQ Sauce reviews Steven Raichlen Lemon Brown Sugar  (2/5) and it’s clear I liked this one a lot more than BBQ guru Steve Raichlen’s blend.  Good stuff, Stage Coach!






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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