Fiery chilli sauces created during lockdown in Sheffield vie to be crowned world's best
A chilli sauce business which began life in Sheffield during lockdown is proving a roaring success as it vies to be crowned maker of the world’s best hot sauce.
Andrew Armstrong founded Sheffield Dragon when he found himself with some time on his hands and, bizarrely, a huge bag of chillies to use at the start of the pandemic.
The 44-year-old’s side hustle has gone from strength to strength as he celebrates its first birthday by releasing a new sauce, Hot Fuzzz.
Andrew officially launched the business in July 2020 after the pandemic left him with more time.
He said: “In about September 2019, somebody gave me a massive bag of chillies at work, and before I got to use them, I decided to stick them in the freezer, but I already had about 4kg of chillies in the freezer.
“I decided to make a chutney for Christmas, and me and my brother-in-law and sister-in-law went through like four jars in two days, and all the people I gave it to were asking for more of it.
“So I thought whilst I’m on reduced hours we might just see what we come up with, so we started with one thing, went to a few markets, people said what else do we do, so I made some more stuff, and it just snowballed from there.”
Since then Andrew has sold almost 2,000 products, including a range of hot sauces, chutneys and a BBQ rub, whilst also working his full-time job and studying his master’s degree at Sheffield Hallam University.
All Sheffield Dragon products are vegan and gluten-free, made from chillies grown by Andrew in his greenhouse and polytunnel.
You can buy the products through the Sheffield Dragon website, including their unique gift sets, or visit one of the numerous shops selling them across the Sheffield area.
These shops include Beanies Wholefoods, Knab Farm Shop and Whirlow Hall Farm Shop.
Andrew also features a selection of his own recipes on the Sheffield Dragon website to show customers ways to utilise the products flavours, including how to make homemade jalapeno poppers and tasty fired slow-cooked ribs.
Sheffield Dragon has won the UK Enterprise award for Best Emerging Hot Sauces Company 2021 and was nominated for the Northern Indie Design Award.
Andrew added: “It was great because for both of those somebody had nominated us, so it was just wonderful.
“We now do tastings every Saturday and Sunday, and that’s a lot of fun.
“It’s quite nice because we’re getting to talk to people after being locked up for so long and being kept away from people, it’s just nice to meet other people.”
These tastings take place during weekends at the Sheffield Dragon pop-up shop in Dyson Place, off Sharrow Vale Road.
Andrew has also submitted four of his products to the self-titled world hot sauce competition in California and will be finding out the results this Sunday.
This summer you will also find the Sheffield Dragon at the Bennington Lordship Chilli Festival during the August bank holiday weekend.