Hi everyone! Matt here.
I need to tell you all what’s up with Swamp Dragon and me. Once I verified in 2016 that the concept of liquor hot sauce was safe and had never been done, I decided I needed to start a company. I did so based on the strength of the concept alone, not because I had lots of money (or any) to invest. I couldn’t really shout about it, because before our launch in 2017, I kept the liquor concept top secret. I know all founders think they have a great product. I am no exception and I put it all on the line for liquor hot sauce. There is something different about this than say, cauliflower peanut butter or kale cola. The sauce is delicious, and the world finally has an alternative to acid sauce.
Once I started the company, I thought I would be able to attract investors by securing mass distribution. I did very well with prospective distributors, and while I raised some funds here and there, Swamp Dragon was always cash-starved. Cash-starved means stunted growth and zero institutional investment chance. We had no ad budget and no sales force. We still don’t. I am extremely proud of where we arrived with such insufficient resources.
Then the world ended.
It was the worst thing that could happen to an emerging brand, and the effects are now settling into an unavoidable situation. I lost my entire team. Small as a team of 3 is, it is infinitely better than no team. My mother passed away, and my marriage ended weeks later. Without a team, no one can pick up when I fall apart. I guess I’m lucky COVID didn’t just kill me outright, but its effects ravaged Swamp Dragon and my personal life.
I can never give up on the liquor hot sauce product. The stuff is delicious, opens a vast universe of culinary possibilities, and now is patented. It really is fantastic. But the company is not going to execute the business plan I envisioned. It takes money, and I don’t personally have it. CPG investing is a rich man’s game for sure. I thought I could beat the system with a truly unique disruptive product, but it was not so. Investors will flock to proven sales, but as I mentioned, I went for mass distro commitments rather than unit sales. I have my reasons, and I stand by them, but for the shutdown.
I don’t think I would have started the company at all had I known. Who knew?
I’m retrenching our retail channel to its smallest and most manageable scale, and I will not attempt to grow that channel any further. Swamp Dragon will be a side project for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, I need to find a “regular” job to put food on my table. Swamp Dragon will simmer in the background, servicing a most special demographic of exceptional foodies who want to enjoy a far more complex flavor in their hot sauce without all the sour gack and GI distress.
So when you see me posting looking for work, please know that Swamp Dragon is still here, and ready to serve you. It just won’t be my full time thing any longer until and unless things improve for the company. Absent investment, maybe in several years Swamp Dragon will be a force. With investment, we could scale at will, completely disrupt the category, create a new trend, and make a fortune, but Superman is not coming.
If you know anyone with vision and investable cash, by all means, send them my way. If you know anyone who might want to hire a guy like me with an extensive skillset, send them my way.
Whatever you do, know that Swamp Dragon endures, even if in a changed model, and that I deeply appreciate all of our customers, well wishers, fans, and casual observers.