Maine salsa is hot stuff

Posted June 02, 2009, at 4:26 p.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A company founded by an Aroostook County businessman and his southern Maine-based brother and business partner has won two national awards for its hot, spicy salsa.

Presque Isle-based Shipwreck Galley’s Chipotle & Tequila Salsa was the 2008 first place winner in the Hot Pepper Awards’ Chipotle category. The company’s Black Bean & Beer Salsa was the first place winner of the Kato Production 2009 Fiery Food & Sauce competition.

Both awards recognize outstanding salsas, seasonings and sauces.

“We were very excited about the award,” Brian Lamont, who co-founded the company in 2005 with his brother Gary, said Tuesday. “There was competition from companies who came from all parts of the nation. For a young company from Maine to win was pretty exciting.”

Brian Lamont said he and his brother decided to get into the salsa-making business several years ago and first tested their product out on family and friends.

“We came up with a recipe we thought might work and Gary shipped it up here so that my wife, Debbie, and I could try it out on our friends,” he said. “Then Debbie and I came up with other varieties and we shipped them down to Gary so he could try the product out on his friends. We also sent it out to family in California.”

Lamont said Tuesday that Gary oversees production, packaging and distribution in southern Maine. Brian Lamont and his wife, Debbie, manage the company’s product development, sales and marketing.

“We are a good team,” said Brian Lamont.

In addition to the company’s two award-winning salsa flavors, Shipwreck Galley also produces three others: Cherry & Brandy, Black Pepper & Ale, and Olives & Gin. New flavors also are in development.

“We are hoping to have a new flavor out in the next 30 days or so,” he added.

Lamont predicted the awards could “really open a lot of doors for a small, family-owned business such as ours.”

In Aroostook County, the company’s salsa is sold at Graves Shop ’n Save in Presque Isle. Shipwreck Galley Salsa may be purchased online at www.shipwreckgalley.com and at other stores throughout Maine and New England.

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