Local Entrepreneur Heats Up the Sausage Market

ValleyBiz Story | Submitted photos | Ring of Fire Jalapeno Garlic Sausage (ROF) sales are on fire, with each batch selling out quickly, since the GrindHouse Fine Foods (GrindHouse) product hit store shelves in the Swan Valley in December 2017. The GrindHouse brand and ROF product are the creation of local entrepreneur, Corey Hurren.

Hurren has worked in the meat and livestock industry for the past 20 years and it isn’t his first time at the sausage making rodeo either. Soon after he starting work at the Swan Valley Co-op Marketplace meat department nine years ago, Hurren began training with Don McDonald to take over as the sausage maker upon McDonald’s retirement.

Inspired by the Johnny Cash song, Hurren began making and selling a jalapeno garlic sausage at the Swan Valley Co-op. “I realized how popular and unique the jalapeno garlic sausage was because people told me they couldn’t buy anything like it at other stores, so they would stock up when visiting here or were buying it for people who lived outside the Valley.” said Hurren. Co-op eventually shut down their in-store smokehouses, but that did not extinguish the ROF. Pursuing the production of the product on a larger scale, he was put in touch with Smith’s Quality Meats in Winnipeg. ROF was originally sold as a Smith’s product, but Hurren has just recently started selling the product under his own GrindHouse brand.

“I knew from talking with customers how much demand there was for products that are gluten and allergen free. I also have family members who can’t have gluten and have food allergies, so I decided to start a line of food products made without those ingredients. I had to get a custom made garlic sausage binder made which didn’t contain any gluten or the allergens that I don’t want my products to have. It has corn starch instead of wheat which contains gluten, as the starch. My custom binder has been formulated to meet the required regulations so that products made with it can also be sold in the USA.”

ROF is made from Canadian pork and beef and contains no gluten, priority allergens, lactose, soy or MSG. According to Hurren, “The Ring of Fire Jalapeno Garlic Sausage is a savory blend of hot peppers and garlic sausage. It is a must have for hot and spicy fans.”

Highlights from his journey include his product launch at the Manitoba Food Processors Association Annual Holiday Reception in 2014 where Paul Masserey, Executive Chef of the Investors Group Field, liked the product so much that he began using it at the Stadium. ROF has been served to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers when they were there for games and practices as well as during the FIFA Women’s World Cup games there in 2015.

“The Ring of Fire sausage has found its way into the mouths and hearts of the patrons of Investors Group Field who frequent the Private Suites and the Pinnacle Club” said Masserey in the 2015 Manitoba Made Summer Food Guide.

Another memorable event took place at the Farm Credit Canada Forum where Hurren met Arlene Dickinson from Dragons Den and was able to provide her with a product sample. The next day, he received a call from Dickinson’s District Ventures business accelerator program manager in Calgary and was invited to tour their offices and learn more about the program. The 6 month program is designed to rapidly increase valuation through sales, distribution, and marketing support and provide the opportunity for participants to present their product to investors – an opportunity Hurren would like to pursue.

During the FCC Forum he also had an opportunity to meet Olympic gold medalist Jon Montgomery who now hosts the Amazing Race Canada, and Ryan Walter, a former Stanley Cup champion who is now a motivational speaker and performance expert.

Pictured above: Left – Ryan Walter (left) and Jon Montgomery (right).

Hurren also has plans to explore other products including a ROF crumble for nachos, pizzas etc, other varieties of garlic sausage, jerky, marinades, BBQ sauces and hot sauces. “Eventually, if there is enough demand for these products, I would like GrindHouse to have it’s own federally inspected facility.” he added.

ROF is available locally at the Swan Valley Coop Food Store and Co-op C-Store.