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CaJohns Fiery Foods Story

CaJohns Fiery Foods Story


Founded in 1996 by John “CaJohn” Hard in the Columbus, Ohio area, CaJohns Fiery Foods became synonymous for innovative and flavorful spicy products. In its 27 years CaJohns has been a groundbreaker and leader in the industry, it stands alone as the most highly decorated and most award-winning small batch product lines in history amassing well over 500 awards, including over 250 first place honors in various food competitions, trade shows and cooking contests.

John Hard’s background was in his father’s family run fire suppression business. He traveled the country and his love of the culinary arts had him seeking out different cuisines and cooking styles everywhere he went. Hard spent a large amount of time in Louisiana where he absolutely fell in love with the Cajun culture and of course it’s food. Not only did it spark the desire to cook in that style but to adapt his nickname, CaJohn, which is a play on the words Cajun and his name John. This then became the name of his spicy food business he started with his wife Sue.

From very early on Hard set out to develop his products with the highest quality and amazing flavor profiles. He strived to stay ahead of curve and studied the trends to not only stay relevant in the fast growing and moving industry but also became an innovator and carved a path that many other companies would attempt to emulate. Formulating base recipes, he could later build off and change direction and flavor by incorporating different chile peppers and/or ingredients, the addition of fruits into incredibly flavor-packed salsas, and spice blends that met the heat desires of so many repeat and loyal customers across the world. The Hard’s would source unique and beautiful art bottles for small and large run special reserves and collectors’ pieces from glass log cabins to motorcycle and truck shapes to bottles shaped like sun bursts, lips and even chile peppers. The one set that continues to delight customers globally are the perfectly matched Adam & Eve bottles, shaped like the torsos of a man and a woman, like two spicy lovers that stand the test of time.

CaJohn, dubbed as the Godfather of Hot Sauce, was inducted into the Hot Sauce Hall of Fame in 2015 in New York City. He was part of the inaugural class which included legends Edmund Mcllhenny, the founder and hot sauce pioneer of the Tabasco brand. Chip Hearn, Peppers in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. Dave Dewitt chile pepper historian and author known as the Pope of Peppers, and Dave Hirshkop of Dave’s Insanity Sauce.

On June 25, 2018, Hot Shots Distributing signed the final agreement to purchase CaJohns Fiery Foods, CaJohn stayed on as a consultant, continued to help develop new products and recipe development as Hot Shots takes this iconic business into the future and carries on the legacy.

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