The Baumer Foods Story
The Legend Starts
Great flavors were born on Tchoupitoulas Street back in 1923. The story of Louisiana’s favorite hot sauce begins in the early 1920s, when Alvin Baumer borrowed some cash from his future father-in-law to purchase “Mill’s Fruit Products,” a small sno-ball syrup company in New Orleans (sno-balls are a summer treat made with shaved ice). Included in the sale was a recipe for a hot sauce made with cayenne peppers, called Crystal Pure Louisiana Hot Sauce. The name still holds true today!
Business Heats Up
In the 1940s, the business, renamed Baumer Foods, Inc., expanded rapidly as people everywhere discovered the unique flavor of Crystal. The boom in business prompted a move to a larger plant on Tulane Avenue in Mid City. At this location, preserves and jellies were manufactured for the U.S. war effort, which American soldiers enjoyed as part of troop-issued combat rations. The building's iconic neon sign became, and still is, a famous New Orleans landmark.
And then…Katrina. On August 29, 2005, the devastating storm roared ashore and weakened the city’s levee system, causing breaches which allowed billions of gallons of water to inundate the city and the Mid City neighborhood. The Baumer Foods, Inc. building was flooded and destroyed, along with the iconic sign, but the great flavor survived and our spirit and determination to recover along with the rest of the city flourished.
A Recipe for Recovery
The family-owned business resumed operations after relocating the manufacturing facilities upriver to Reserve, Louisiana, which is 9 feet above sea level. The iconic sign was replicated and placed atop a new apartment building, built on the same site as the old factory.
Today, Baumer Foods, Inc. is still family-owned and run by Alvin Jr., and has become not only a Louisiana institution, but one of the fastest growing condiment manufacturers in the country. More than 4.5 million gallons of Crystal Hot Sauce are shipped to destinations in the U.S. and across the globe. And while Crystal Hot Sauce is still the heart of Baumer Foods, Inc., the company has also branched out into a successful, taste-driven product line, including Crystal Buffalo Wing, Worcestershire, Steak, Asian sauces and Figaro Liquid Smoke.