Local Business

Outerbridge Peppers — still spicy at 50

  • Sherry good: Outerbridge Peppers managing director Norma Cross presents Governor John Rankin with a decanter of Original Sherry Peppers Sauce to mark the firm's 50th anniversary (Photograph supplied)

Bermuda’s signature sherry peppers sauce might have hit 50 — but it’s lost none of its spice.

And in the five decades Outerbridge Peppers’ sauce has been on sale, the product range has extended to include a range of other sauces and drink mixes.

Norma Cross, managing director of Outerbridge Peppers, said: “We’re looking for bigger and better things and we’re very proud of the fact we’re 50 years old.”

Ms Cross, involved in the business for 12 years, added that the recession had taken its toll on the business, along with many others.

She said: “What I’m really proud of is we’ve made it through the last seven years, which have been difficult.”

But Ms Cross added that the product was key to keeping the firm on an even keel during the economic storm that hit globally in 2008.

She said: “The product is superb — we also have a website and we supply orders internationally through that.

“It’s amazing. We have people contact us and say ‘we’ve found you, that’s wonderful’.

“It’s word of mouth and anyone introduced to it is impressed and we build on that. We have built on our good service and good product.”

Over the years, the firm has expanded from Outerbridge’s Original Sherry Peppers Sauce with a full range of sauces, including Royal Full Hot Rum Peppers Sauce, a Bloody Mary Fix, Full Hot Mustard, and Devilishly Hot Barbecue Sauce, as well as Outerbridge’s Rum Swizzle Mix and gourmet rubs for meat and poultry.

But Ms Cross said: “The flagship product is Outerbridge’s Original — from there, everything else started.

“The mother lode is used in every product and it’s what we call the WONF — with only natural ingredients.

“I would have to say the flagship product is our biggest seller, but our swizzle and our taffy, which is only a couple of years old, we can’t keep them on the shelves and the rum swizzle is really popular with the tourist sector.”

She added that the firm’s Swashbuckling Steak Sauce had also proved a hit, at home and overseas.

Ms Cross said: “That’s the best steak sauce known to man — a lot of people have told me that.”

The firm was founded by the late Yeaton Outerbridge with his cousin Robbie, a restaurateur.

It was introduced at Robbie Outerbridge’s Harbourfront Restaurant and took off from there.

Yeaton Outerbridge, who died in 2006, remained active in the firm before selling up in 2003-04.

It started out in Mr Outerbridge’s home before moving to Laffan Street in Hamilton, then to its current home in Shelly Bay around four years ago.

Sherry Peppers sauce originated in the days of sailing ships, where it was used to disguise rotten and poor-quality food before refrigeration helped preserve meat and other basics on long voyages.

As a maritime centre, it came to Bermuda and hundreds of years later, it was refined and popularised by Mr Outerbridge.

And Ms Cross said that, despite the milestone, the firm was firmly fixed on the future.

She added: “I’m hoping that, for the next 50 years, we will continue to evolve and as time goes on we will introduce other products which will benefit all of us.”