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Butterfly Bakery launches hot sauce for Pride

Jan 01, 2024

To help celebrate Pride month this June, Butterfly Bakery of Vermont is donating 25% of the sales of its Maple Sparkle Sriracha hot sauce to the Pride Center of Vermont, the mission of which is to celebrate, educate and advocate for LGBTQ+ Vermonters.

"Pride Month is near and dear to my heart," said company owner Claire Georges. "Pride Month celebrates joy."

The donation from the South Barre company is part of what Georges calls "genersaucity," where the company donates a portion of the proceeds from a given sauce to a chosen charity.

Past donations have gone to the Vermont Foodbank, Zeno Mountain Farm of Lincoln, and Good Beginnings of Central Vermont.

"Our charitable programs are rooted in the belief that every human has the right to feel comfortable in their own skin, feel safe, fed and cared for. We all have the responsibility to give back to the world that has supported us in the way that makes sense for who we are," Georges said.

Butterfly Bakery started in 2003 as a small natural foods bakery. When Georges started her business, she also was working as a baker at Hunger Mountain Food Co-op in Montpelier.

"I started by renting the kitchen equipment at the former Coffee Corner in Montpelier. I’d bake at night after the diner had closed," she said.

Prior to baking, Georges was a computer programmer, a career that did not suit her life goals.

Georges would work her day job at Hunger Mountain's bakery and in the evening switch aprons to make cookies and granola overnight for her new company. She’d drop her baked goods to be delivered to stores, and catch a couple hours of sleep before getting back up to work at the co-op.

Butterfly Bakery remained a one-person operation until the birth of Claire's oldest daughter. To achieve a better work-life balance, she hired her first baker in 2014.

"This not only allowed me to focus on my new family, but also allowed me to spend more time working on my business," Georges said.

Her business exploded in 2014 when she added hot sauces. She got the idea from watching how popular hot sauces were at farmers’ markets. Butterfly's hot sauces were an instant hit. Her various hot sauces now make up 60% of all sales. They are sold around the world, she said. In 2020, Georges moved her business from Montpelier to a 16,000-square-foot factory, warehouse, kitchen and freezers in South Barre. She now has 25 employees.

Two unexpected events helped grow the business dramatically: YouTube videos and the pandemic.

Georges’ Maple Wood Smoked Onion Sauce, her most popular product, was featured in Season 7 (2018) of the very popular YouTube show, "Hot Ones." The show features celebrities who taste increasingly hot sauces to where they can no longer stand the heat — all while being interviewed. The show's host, Sean Evans, called the Maple Wood, "One of the most interesting flavor profiles we’ve ever had on this show." The show has 12.3 million subscribers.

"The thing that I hear most often is that my hot sauces taste like the peppers that are in it. We do really simple recipes. We don't get crazy. We use all natural ingredients," Georges said.

The pandemic also boosted sales.

"Our sales tripled during the pandemic as more people were home cooking," Georges said.

The products offered by Butterfly Bakery are an eclectic mix — hot sauces, chocolates, cookies, caramel (Georges purchased Fat Toad Farms last year), mustard, salsa and tomato sauces, chipotle powder and granola.

As proud as Georges is of her products, she said she is equally proud of the fact that all the ingredients used for her products are grown or produced in Vermont.

The Maple Sparkle Sriracha hot sauce is made with Vermont grown red jalapeños and garlic scapes, and pure Vermont maple syrup. Butterfly Bakery of Vermont is committed to supporting Vermont's local farmers. All the maple syrup and chili peppers used in our products are grown within 200 miles of the South Barre kitchen.

"My relationship with the farmers is how all of this began," Georges said.

Butterfly's sauces, cookies, caramels and other products are available at their Route 14 South Barre store, at several stores around Central Vermont, and online at