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home : news : education October 23, 2019

2/8/2017 12:01:00 AM
Father & Son Entrepreneurs Build Their Sauce Business With Gaston College Classes
Bret and Elijah Morey’s Reaper Sauce took 3rd place in the People’s Preference Hot Sauce category at the 2017 Zest Fest in Texas.(Photos Courtesy of Gaston College)
Bret and Elijah Morey’s Reaper
Sauce took 3rd place in the People’s
Preference Hot Sauce category at
the 2017 Zest Fest in Texas.

(Photos Courtesy of Gaston College)

Elijah’s Xtreme Hot Sauces have won 13 awards in two years.
Elijah’s Xtreme Hot Sauces have
won 13 awards in two years.

Stephanie Michael-Pickett, Gaston College
Director of Marketing and Public Relations

DALLAS, N.C. – The Department of Economic and Workplace Development (EWD) at Gaston College has helped a local entrepreneur build the business he started with his son. Bret Morey, and his son Elijah, launched their first product, Elijah’s Xtreme Ghost Pepper Sauce, in June 2014 and Elijah’s Xtreme Reaper Sauce was introduced in April 2016. Although he is an experienced marketing and graphics professional, Bret Morey wanted to update his Microsoft Office and QuickBooks skills so he could better manage Elijah’s Xtreme Gourmet Sauces through online channels, retail, and at trade shows. He enrolled in the Basic Computer Technology Awareness class in the Gaston College Economic and Workforce Development Division. 

“I am glad that Bret decided to take our classes here at Gaston College,” said Steve Curtis, Instructor in the Economic and Workforce Development Division of Gaston College. “Bret and Elijah have a very exciting and promising line of products, and I believe the classes gave Bret some insight into how to maximize the impact of his efforts. I’m sure that it will pay off and lead to bigger opportunities for Elijah’s Xtreme Gourmet Sauces.” 

Curtis continued, “Bret also was an inspiration to his classmates. He has earned success as a marketer, and he was generous in sharing his experiences and creativity. Some people who take our classes are just starting out and others may feel that their businesses would benefit if they increase or improve their skills. Bret’s enthusiasm motivated the others to explore innovative, fresh approaches to their work and careers.” 

The concept of Elijah’s Xtreme hot sauces arose from a simple question. When he was 6 years old, Elijah asked his father, “What do I need to do to be the youngest person to eat the world’s hottest pepper?” Bret had him try a hot banana pepper from the garden, and that was the beginning of Elijah’s passion for hot peppers and hot sauces. A few years later, the father and son started to experiment with making their own sauces, and in 2013 they came up with a recipe they were happy with. Feedback from those who sampled it confirmed that they were on the right track. 

The Moreys began by growing their own peppers and making the hot sauces themselves, but with burgeoning demand they now outsource the production process to different co-packers. The have a copyright on their recipes and are very involved in ensuring that their products, which are handcrafted from those original recipes, meet their standards of quality. 

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Elijah’s Xtreme Ghost Pepper Sauce has won many awards since its 2014 launch, including the third-place Best New Product Award at the 2014 NYC Hot Sauce Expo in Brooklyn, N.Y., and the first-place People’s Preference Award at the 2015 Zest Fest, a fiery foods show in Texas. It is currently ranked the top Ghost Pepper Sauce on Amazon. 

Their second product, Elijah’s Xtreme Reaper Sauce, which features the Carolina Reaper pepper with a blend of black cherries, cranberries and bourbon, was launched at the 2016 NYC Hot Sauce Expo. Among the seven awards the Moreys won in 2016 was a first-place finish for their Reaper Sauce in the Hot Sauce-XXX Hot category of the Scovie Awards. The Scovie Awards were named in honor of Wilbur Scoville, the scientist who invented the Scoville Organoleptic Test to determine the heat scale of chili peppers. 

The father-son duo recently returned to North Carolina after a successful showing at Zest Fest 2017 in Irving, Texas. Their Ghost Pepper Sauce placed third in the Pepper Blend X-Hot category, and the Reaper Sauce placed second in the Fruit Based X-Hot category and won third place in the People’s Preference Hot Sauce category out of a field of approximately 500 Hot Sauces at the show. 

In two years, the Ghost Pepper and Reaper sauces have won 13 awards. The newest addition to the Elijah’s Xtreme product line is Pineapple-Mango Habanero Chutney, which launched in late January 2017 at Zest Fest. 

Elijah is now 19 and is studying Business Marketing and Finance at Anderson University in South Carolina. Bret is applying the skills he honed through his classes at Gaston College to building the Elijah’s Xtreme business, with the intent of expanding its reach by working with grocery stores, restaurants and distributors. 

Elijah’s Xtreme products are available in the local products section of Ingle’s Markets, in all Bass Pro Shops, as well as in a number of local shops and on Amazon. Elijah’s Xtreme Ghost Pepper Sauce will be featured in the Tijuana Flats restaurant chain sometime late in the first quarter of 2017. For more information about Elijah’s Xtreme Gourmet Sauces and where to find them, go to

Call Gaston College’s Continuing Education Department at 704-922-2244 or for additional information about the class. 

Did You Know? Gaston College was the first college in North Carolina to be approved by the N.C. Department of Commerce’s NCWorks Apprenticeship Office as a registered apprenticeship program sponsor. Gaston College is one of only three colleges or universities in the U.S. to be a registered sponsor of an apprenticeship program.  

Got a question? ASK US! Go to or click on the ASK US! button in the upper right hand corner on the Gaston College website home page. ASK US! is an online service designed to assist prospective and current Gaston College students and the community to receive quick responses and answers to frequently asked questions about tuition, financial aid and scholarships, continuing education and more.

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