Red Sky Spice Traders was founded in 2015 by a group of New Englanders who share a lifelong passion for quality, uniqueness and all things spicy. We created this merry band to share that passion with you. We craft healthy, all-natural, spicy condiments to heat up all that bland food in your life. We created them from the finest ingredients, with no sugar or artificial preservatives added.
Neil Stahelek: Founder / Co-Owner
Born and raised in the rural, quiet town of Sunderland, Massachusetts, Neil grew up a very curious child. He would take things, whether it be chemicals from a chemistry set, or from his mother’s kitchen, and mix them together to see what would happen. As Neil got older, he realized he needed to watch his health more closely, and became very serious about his physical fitness. Weight lifting, interval training, and metabolic conditioning are all very important to him.
A geek at heart, Neil loves movies, video games, and sports. Being an avid New England Patriots fan, every Sunday (and of course, college football Saturdays) during football season is a holiday. When it came to the food of choice, buffalo wings were always number one on the list to devour. The more Neil ate the spicy little morsels, the more he wondered about the sauces.
The more sauces he tried, the more he wondered about the ingredients. He started to notice how high in sodium many hot sauces were, and all the other preservatives that are used in the sauces to keep them shelf stable for long periods of time. While he was not immune to eating unhealthy food, he definitely likes to know what he’s putting in his body. Seeing preservatives used such as potassium sorbate, sodium bisulfite, sodium benzoate, and sodium nitrates got him thinking “Why even use these?!”
He also noticed how so many sauces came from the deep south, or the southwest, and thought to himself “Why can’t New England have a great pepper sauce to call its own?” At that moment, a light bulb went off in his head. Drawing inspiration from the blossoming Brooklyn hot sauce scene and the rich nautical history of New England, he set off to create all-natural, “just hot enough”, and delightfully tasty pepper sauces that New Englanders can be proud of.
Grant Ritter: Marketing Director / Co-Owner
Grant is no stranger to spicy food, thanks to his family from New Orleans, but New England is where his heart is. He is a passionate mountaineer, endurance athlete, fitness instructor and event director. He also can’t ever get enough spicy food and will put pepper sauce on just about everything he eats.
Grant is a certified Spinning instructor, running coach and owner of Pioneer Valley Racing; a running event company. He loves to take on seemingly impossible challenges and to inspire others to do the same. He created New England Outside to inspire others to see the awesomeness that this region has to offer.
He spent years eating some of the more popular pepper sauces until he looked at the ingredients and realized that they all contained unnecessary preservatives and crazy amounts of sodium. That’s why he partnered with Neil Stahelek and Alison Greene to create Red Sky Spice Traders to deliver delicious sauces with the right amount of spice and all kinds of healthy.