JROTC instructor markets his own wing sauce
Lili Wortmann ‘21
Going to school is only a part of a student's life, and normally students have a completely different persona once they leave the gates of Riverview High School. This can be the same for teachers because although students create such impactful bonds with them, they still do not necessarily know that their teachers have lives outside of school as well. Teachers can be an enigma, because although students spend most of their day with them, and think they have an idea of who their teachers are, they still do not realize how remarkable some of them are in the outside world.
For instance, this can be said for Riverview's JROTC Army Instructor Maj. Joe Williams because during the school day he is a teacher just like any other at Riverview, but once he goes home, he becomes a business owner and marketer for his barbecue sauce company. Will Moore’s Twangy Wing Sauce is the name of the sauce that Williams and his family owns and markets at local stores.
When asked how the idea of the wing sauce came to Williams, he said it all started from a letter from his wife.
“In 2012, I was in Afghanistan, and I was out on the road every day. Part of my excitement and wanting to return was reading emails or receiving phone calls from my wife or my sons,” he said. Little did he know that one of those emails would lead him to starting a barbecue sauce business on the side. He said the email read, “Hey we came up with a recipe for wing sauce.”
“I kinda blew it off,” Williams added.
He decided that he had other things to worry about, since he was deployed and too busy to focus on marketing the sauce. Once he came back, though, things began to happen.
“I invited my niece to put all the ingredients together and brought it to a tailgate party, and my goodness, everyone was asking questions about it,” he said.
He said he took it to the packer in Daytona beach to do an acidity test to see if it had a water content of .25, and if it has above that, then that would mean it wouldn’t have enough shelf life.
“Ours was way below .25, so they said you had a good product here,” he added.
He then said he had to create a label.
“If you look at my bottle, that's label 114,” he laughed.
He started to get involved with creating the business, and he said it was 2016 when he introduced the product and started doing the marketing for it.
“It was put on shelves at Publix in 2018,” he said.
For now, the sauce is only sold in Auburn, AL, which is where Williams was working before coming to Riverview.
“We have it in a couple stores in Alabama and it's not yet here. But it will go to stores on April 26,” explained.
He said his distributor is licensed in Alabama, and Williams found that he was not licensed in Florida.
“I had to redo the paperwork and decided to take a year off the business because I was concentrating on retiring, but Publix contacted me,” he said.
He said they discussed getting it in Sarasota. For those who can't wait to get their hands on the sauce at the stores he said that
“We still sell it online and our website is twangysauce.com and you can order either the bottles, gallons or a case.”
He describes the sauce by saying “it’s twangy, its sweet and has a little spice to it
“It goes on everything, and the bottle says wing sauce, but people put it on meatballs and salmon,” he added.
Williams also mentioned the business slowed down because of COVID-19, but that has not stopped his family from trying to build their business.
Many of the teachers at Riverview have other jobs or even a whole different life outside of school that students would never have guessed. Williams is just one of these examples, as there are still many teachers that have other side businesses or cool talents like playing the guitar or the piano that may surprise. But If they ask the right questions and became more inquisitive, that might create a stronger bond with their teachers, and they can learn more about them.