Sabarac - An interview with Geoff Barker
Sabarac is Australia's premier producer of fermented hot sauces and condiments. Founded by Geoff Barker after a visit to a Low-n-Slow style American BBQ joint in Melbourne, the unique flavour of their house-made hot sauce struck a chord with him. Mind abuzz with inspiration he returned to Brisbane hoping to create one of his very own. Not content with traditional recipes, Geoff's creativity would result in his first masterpiece, a fermented watermelon hot sauce. His range now includes a generous bevvy of unique and incredible flavours that reflect his ever-growing passion for this spicy condiment.
Try them all at your own peril!
We know small business is hard. Is there an inception story to your brand? What got you started or gave you the push to start your own enterprise?
My love of everything flavoursome and spicy started in 1998 whilst on student exchange in Malaysia. I was exposed to a vibrant and addictive world that I never knew existed, and fell in love with it. Fast-forward 16 years, and I was a stay-at-home Dad with my first son & experimentation started with hot sauces. From there it was, and still is, organic growth which has the business where it is today. From gifting samples of small batches to family & friends, to getting labels designed just for the sheer heck of it, the business slowly morphed into a commercial venture. Just quietly, my wife was ecstatic when this happened, as she no longer came home from work with the entire house smelling of delicious hot sauce (her spice tolerance is quite low 😊).
Who or what do you draw inspiration from?
I endeavour to create hot sauces from flavour profiles that I enjoy. I have a strong love for all Asian influenced cuisines, hence the ever popular Japanese Miso Hot Sauce, and the zero waste products that have been created from it. Moroccan tagines are another favourite, which was the basis and inspiration for the Moroccan Fatalii Pear. I always strive to create something that is truly unique, and hopefully hasn’t been realised in my market before.
Other than yourself of course, who is your favourite artisan producer here in Australia? How come?
The Little Gingerbread Cottage is an all-time favourite (Instagram - @the_little_gingerbread_cottage). My two boys get one each weekend from the Rocklea Markets as a treat they can enjoy whilst they are waiting for their swim lessons on Wednesday.
We know Australia is the best place on earth, but what makes it so special to you? What’s your favourite thing about Australia?
I love the open spaces and the diverse scenery. I take the family on a road trip to visit with my wife’s family on the Atherton Tablelands every year. It is a beautiful 2 ½ day drive from Brisbane, and you are guaranteed to majestic sights along the way.
Which of your products are your favourite to gift to others or share with friends around the table?
My Japanese inspired range are always my favourite to share. They all have an addictive flavour profile, and as they are quite mild, they can be enjoyed by almost everyone.