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Meet Chris Sutton of Char Man Brand in Ojai

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Sutton.

Chris, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in a restaurant and commercial fishing family and started cooking at a very young age. In my teens, a good friend of mine and I had a friendly rivalry when it came to barbecuing and making fresh salsa to enjoy with it. The batches salsa kept getting hotter and hotter and that’s where my love for spicy food started. Eventually, I wanted to make hot sauce because the salsa had to be consumed immediately. I wanted something that have a longer shelf life.

In 2006 a friend of mine made labels poor the two hot sauces that I’d been making for a couple of years. One was a fire-roasted habanero sauce and the other was a fire-roasted green hot sauce. I would make these sauces at the family restaurant after hours and did this as a side job for nine years period. In 2015, I decided to follow my dream and pursue making hot sauce my full-time job. I rebranded the company and added a third sauce to the lineup. That sauce is our Caribbean which features mango pineapple and habanero. In January, we added two more which is are sriracha and are picante which is my take on a Taco style sauce.

We try to utilize as many locally grown ingredients as possible including peppers from Underwood Farms in Camarillo and also from many small Ojai Farms along with peppers that I grow at my house. Every year we make a few seasonal sauces that feature some really fun off the wall ingredients.

Today you can find our sauces in Europe New Zealand and other parts of the globe. You can still find us at Ojai Farmers Market every Sunday.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There’s been a few bumps along the way. Obtaining your own Cannery license isn’t the easiest thing since we don’t use a co-packer we do everything painstakingly by hand. For the most part though we have a lot of support from the community friend’s family.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Char Man Brand – what should we know?
I basically run all aspects of the company from the recipes to the cooking to the bottling the marketing Etc I do bring in some help to label the bottles but that’s it. I’m very proud of the product that we put out. We only use quality fresh ingredients.

I’m also proud of the brand itself being named after a local Ojai urban legend I really like are branding and are creative artwork and backstories for each different sauce/character.

We’re heavily involved in the community & donate 1% to the Ojai Land Conservancy and are involved in many local fundraisers.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I feel like consistency is key being that we make every bottle by hand ensures the highest quality. I also love creating new sauces to share with people in our community. It seems like every week at the farmers market people are coming up and wondering if there’s anything new they need to try.


  • All of our sauces are modestly priced at $7

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @charmanbrand
  • Other: Char Man Brand

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