George's BBQ Sauce

A worker fills bottles with sauce at George’s BBQ Sauce in Nashville.

Nashville-based George’s BBQ Sauce is seeking the help of local residents in wining a statewide contest sponsored by the N.C. Chamber, the state’s leading business advocacy organization.

The N.C. Chamber is spotlighting the manufacturing industry by hosting a statewide “Coolest Thing Made in NC” contest. The competition features over 70 companies statewide that were nominated by the public with products ranging from buses to butter, bacon, pickles and BBQ sauce.

The nominated companies received votes from their loyal customers over a period of a few weeks. The top 15 semifinalists were announced on Sept. 7 by the N.C. Chamber and locally owned and operated George’s BBQ Sauce was included on the list. It is the only business in the Twin Counties to make the cut.

“It is humbling just to be nominated and even more rewarding knowing that our fans got us to the second round. We are so thankful for the opportunity to make a great product for everyone to enjoy,” said Brian Hassell, co-owner of the family business.

The team at George’s BBQ needs the help of the community in getting to the next round of the contest. Fans can vote once a day, every day until Friday. Then, the top four finalists will be announced on Sept. 21 and followed by another round of voting. The eventual winner will be announced on Oct. 2 and will get the distinction of being the “Coolest Thing made in NC.”

North Carolina has a rich barbecue history, from Manteo to Murphy, and a big part of that is the sauce. George’s BBQ Sauce manufactures three flavors of barbecue sauce; original, hot and special. The Original Sauce and Hot Sauce are traditional eastern North Carolina vinegar-based sauces. Their Special BBQ Sauce is a thicker, western-style, tomato-based sauce.

What the folks at George’s believe makes their sauce “cool” is the fact that they do every single step of the manufacturing process themselves, without any automation. That means that their eight employees produce each batch of sauce all by hand. This begins with mixing the ingredients, followed by labeling, filling, capping and packing each bottle.

The George’s team believes this is the best way to ensure the highest quality for their customers. Ashley and Brian Hassell, owners of George’s BBQ Sauce, believe this is the reason their product has such a loyal fan base because it has stayed consistent since 1975.

“We take great pride in making our sauces by hand in small batches here in our hometown. We take our time to make sure each batch is of the highest quality for our customers … because at the end of the day, that’s all that matters,” Brian Hassell said.

Ashley Hassell said she also feels that the relationship with their customers in important.

“It is absolutely humbling to see our customers have so much love for something that we make. There are hundreds of barbecue sauces out there, and it means so much that they choose ours,” she said. “That makes everything we do worthwhile.”

Voting in the “Coolest Thing Made in NC” contest can be made daily by visiting