Baumer Foods, maker of Crystal Hot Sauce, renews lease to continue operations in St. John Parish

Published 9:46 am Saturday, March 26, 2022

RESERVE — When Baumer Food Inc. initially signed a lease with the Port of South Louisiana in 2006, it was in response to the company’s 99-year-old production facility in New Orleans being ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Baumer, the manufacturer of Crystal Hot Sauce, has since made the 190,000 square foot Globalplex Intermodal Terminal in Reserve its permanent home.

On Thursday, March 24, Baumer Food Inc. President Pepper Baumer joined Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Paul Matthews to renew the lease agreement for seven years, with an option to renew for an additional seven years.

The ceremonial signing took place at the Port of South Louisiana’s Guesthouse in Reserve alongside community leaders, business representatives, and Port commissioners and staff.

Matthews said Baumer Foods has become a pillar of the community, and housing their operations locally has added spice to the Port of South Louisiana’s lineup of industrial partners.

“We are keeping Louisiana’s small businesses at home, right here in St. John Parish and the River Region,” Matthews said. “In Louisiana, we often see companies leave for Florida or Texas. Anytime we can keep a homegrown business right here in Louisiana, it’s important.

St. John Parish President Jaclyn Hotard said Crystal Hot Sauce is synonymous with Louisiana. It can be found in restaurants, on kitchen tables, and even inside of Hotard’s office.

“When Baumer relocated here after Hurricane Katrina, we thought it would be temporary, and we’re so excited that the temporary location has turned into a permanent location,” Hotard said. “We look forward to many more years of this relationship with Baumer Foods. We are extremely proud to have a multi-generational family business here.”

The partnership between Baumer and the Port of South Louisiana began in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. According to Alvin A. Baumer Jr., it all began with a chance meeting as one of Baumer’s executives visited the Port Office to copy some papers and use the fax machine.

After learning that Baumer no longer had a home base, officials with the Port purchased a building in the latter part of 2005 specifically to accommodate Baumer. Over the past 16 years, Baumer’s presence at the Globalplex has opened the door for other food producers, suppliers and trucking companies to station their operations in St. John Parish.

The Globaplex has been beneficial to Baumer because of its prime location between two interstates and a major highway. The Reserve location has additionally allowed all manufacturing, shipping and distribution operations to be under one roof, something that wasn’t possible at the previous facility.

Baumer Foods Inc. is an internationally known producer that distributes to 75 nations worldwide. In addition to its famous hot sauce, the company produces a variety of sauces and condiments including Worcestershire, steak, wing, teriyaki, and soy marinades and mustards under the brand name Crystal.

Crystal Hot Sauce was started in 1923 in New Orleans. The company was later renamed Baumer Food Inc. as operations expanded.

Pepper Baumer is the third-generation leader of the family-owned business. He was running around the facilities as a toddler and working in warehouses by the time he was in high school. After graduating from college and gaining two years of outside experience, he officially joined Baumer in 2014.

Baumer currently employs 166 individuals. Approximately 140 employees work locally.

“We look forward to our continued partnership with the Port of South Louisiana and the region,” Baumer said. “We are continuing to grow with the region as it grows. There’s a lot of synergy there.”