A family recipe, 20 years in the making, has ignited Bonaventure’s taste buds. Ron Welch, ’17, has made himself at home in Allegany selling his national award-winning hot sauce: Formula 47 and recently partnered with local business Mangia’s Pizza 2.0.
Far from Lancaster, California, Welch’s hometown, Formula 47 has rooted him to Western New York. During his sophomore year at Bonaventure, Welch designed a business plan for getting the hot sauce some attention from more than just relatives. After, he pitched the plan to his dad. There was nothing holding Welch back—he decided to start selling the unique hot sauce.
Formula 47 wasn’t always Formula 47. Being a family recipe, there wasn’t a catchy name for the sauce. Welch originally thought of “Dad’s Secret Recipe,” but after a year of consideration he came up with Formula 47. Which “rolls off the tongue,” unlike his original idea.
“Forty-seven is sort of my lucky number,” he said. “It appears just about everywhere for me.”
Welch experienced his first success in May at Eb’s Eatery on Main Street in Allegany. Partnering with the well-known local restaurant, Welch sold out of bottles of sauce and Eb’s ran out of wings between Saturday lunch and Sunday breakfast.
Despite a positive experience at Eb’s, Welch doesn’t believe Eb’s is his demographic for marketing Formula 47, adding, “hot sauce is a niche product.”
Welch won first place for Traditional Amateur Sauce at the National Buffalo Wing Fest in 2016. He also participated in a street fair in Reno and visits various other events to market his sauce.
“Saying you won a national award convinces people to give it a try when they might not have initially,” he added.
On partnering with Mangia’s Pizza 2.0, Welch said he is looking forward to “sharing [the sauce] and the opportunity to grow.
A lot of people have contacted us on Facebook looking for a place to purchase the sauce. This is giving us the opportunity to give people what they want.”
Mangia’s is a good location for Welch’s start-up after gaining some publicity and popularity from the Eb’s Eatery weekend event, as well as his success at Bonagany, which is why he’s pushing to tap this demographic of college kids.
Formula 47’s biggest obstacle is capital, according to Welch. Welch makes the sauce from scratch two gallons at a time, resulting in 28 bottles. Once he manages to turn a profit, which he predicts to be after the new year, Welch can start expanding. Part of his future plans for Formula 47 include hiring employees and branching out from a traditional bottle of hot sauce to frozen foods, snack packs and more.
Another obstacle Formula 47 faces is filling the demand. People are requesting bottles, but production takes time and money.
Welch considered expanding to retail stores, but the costs can go up to $1,500 in legal fees and health requirements to be featured in a retail location.
Welch offered some recommended dishes to try with his hot sauce. The unique aspect about this hot sauce is that it isn’t your typical spicy taste; there’s more of a sweet tone to it.
Chicken wing dip is a great dish for hot sauce, the cream cheese helps to suppress some of the hotness certain foodies might not like. Try Formula 47 on a burger or eggs to give an extra, unexpected flavor. Welch’s personal favorite is saucy bacon-cheese fries. Ultimately, Welch added that the sauce can be put on anything.
Upcoming events to find Formula 47 are at Good Times Nov. 18, Small Business Saturday in Olean on Nov. 25, and 716MAS Festival on Dec. 2.
Find more information on Formula 47’s Facebook at Formula 47 Wings and their Twitter @Formula47Wings.