North Carolina is home to several amazing, purpose-driven brands. I had the privilege of meeting some of them on February 28, 2023, at Got To Be NC’s Flavors of Carolina Festival held in Concord, North Carolina.
As a North Carolina local and the founder of Publicity For Good, my PR agency based in Morganton, North Carolina, I was inspired to get to know some of these brands to see their great products and the inspiring things they do for the community. As such, it was a humbling experience to attend this year’s Got To Be NC festival and potentially help these brands grow even more through PR. I’ve truly met some amazing brands and the people behind them, and it just feels right to share what they have to offer to everyone.
Our agency, Publicity For Good works exclusively with purpose-driven brands and individuals so we can establish them as leaders in their industries and spaces. We’ve worked with over 200 brands, and through the power of impactful PR, they’ve achieved media virality and had countless opportunities to grow and expand.
To show our appreciation for our fellow North Carolinians here are some of our favorite brands that we personally met at the Flavors of Carolina Festival:
Our Favorite North Carolina Food Brands
Sarge’s Sauce is a brand very close to PFG’s heart. As a purpose-driven brand that we’ve partnered with just this year, we’ve witnessed their commitment to giving premium sauces to up everyone’s shrimp and grits game. What started as a food truck that offered sumptuous shrimp, customers fell in love with Chef Julius’ sauce, which he eventually bottled, so everyone can have a taste of his shrimp and grits from the comfort of their homes.
Today, Sarge’s Sauce is the only brand in the market that offers sauce specifically made for shrimp and grits. Just add some chicken broth, and shrimp along with some grits, and take yourself on a journey to the South with the best-tasting shrimp and grits you will ever have.
Sarge’s Low Country Shrimp and Grits Sauce is available for just $12.99 on their website. So if you need a Southern fix of shrimp and grits, Sarge’s Sauce has your back!
Texas Pete is a brand that may be familiar to a lot of Americans Today. What originally started as the secret sauce in the Garner family’s barbecue joint in North Carolina back in 1929, eventually turned into one of the most popular sauces in the market.
Since then, the brand has grown into a leader in providing top-shelf pantry and snack items. Their current line of products includes a variety of dips, hot gourmet popcorn, and, of course, an abundance of hot sauces and barbecue sauces that are well-loved by many Americans across the nation.
Give your weekend barbecue an upgrade or kick up the heat in your favorite meals by visiting their website and purchasing a bottle (or 2 or 3..) of their sauces today.
True Made Foods
True Made Foods is leading the nation to a condiment revolution. Witnessing the ever-growing concern of sauces and condiments unnecessary additives and too much sugar, its founder, Abe Kamarck had to find a way to bring the American heritage and tradition back to its condiments.
In partnership with legendary Pitmaster, Ed Mitchell, True Made Foods’ founder developed low-sugar and flavorful sauces and condiments including a gourmet ketchup and barbecue sauce worth adding to your family barbecues.
Using the distinct flavor that comes from natural ingredients, True Made Foods is transforming America’s condiments for the better, one condiment at a time. If you want a taste of natural barbecue sauces, hot sauces, mustards, and ketchup, visit True Made Foods’ website and have a taste of good American heritage food.
Our Favorite North Carolina Beverage Brands
Alley Twenty-Six is an elite cocktail bar and restaurant nestled in the streets of Durham, North Carolina. Known most for its upscale food and drinks, its fine selection has been featured in highly prestigious outlets such as Vogue, Travel+Leisure, Town & Country, and Crafts Spirits Magazine.
The restaurant has given Durham, North Carolina locals the opportunity to have an upscale cocktail experience with its vast selection of tonics, syrups, and other essential barware that you can order and pick up front their location.
Have a luxurious cocktail at home using some of the fine ingredients made available by Alley Twenty-Six.
For The Love of Margaritas
Craft margaritas and cocktails shouldn’t be too far away with For the Love of Margaritas. It’s the brand’s aim to make an event, an evening with your friends, or simply a work day’s end even better with a celebratory, premium cocktail at hand.
The Wilmington, North Carolina-based brand of mixers houses a large variety of simple, homemade mixers made of natural ingredients. Beyond the typical cocktail, For the Love of Margarita wants to transform the margarita experience by introducing new flavors and cocktails that complement extremely well with other liquors. So cocktail lovers don’t have to stick with just tequila with their glass of margarita.
Grab a bottle of their premium mixers and have a truly unique margarita experience from their website, and their local retailers. Find them at Carolina Green Provisions, The Veggie Wagon, and Biggers Market.
What could be better than a good glass of cold Lemonade on a hot, sunny day? Lemonade is a childhood drink that’s dear to the heart of every child and adult. Too many commercial lemonades, however, have tarnished lemonade’s goodness with the addition of far too many additives that make some taste overbearingly sweet or unappealingly tart.
Eli’s Lemonade wants to bring lemonade back to its roots by using only the best lemons sourced from reliable farms and flavored with good vanilla essence and cane sugar. The result is simple, old-fashioned lemonade that many love with a taste that’s not too sweet, nor too tart.
Enjoy a good, old-fashioned glass of gourmet lemonade from their website and have a refreshing start to your sunny day.
Too many sports drinks in the market today use highly processed ingredients to give us a boost in hydration and electrolytes. With this comes the fear of putting whatever’s too artificial or foreign in your body that may cause detrimental effects on your health.
People can now experience superior hydration and energy with Jabin—a handcrafted, ancient Persian drink that uses whole herbs, fruits, and other natural ingredients to effectively refuel anyone, from the average joe to professional athletes.
Using only 7 natural ingredients, you can get a drink packed with electrolytes and rich in prebiotics to give your body the fuel it needs. Find Jabin from your local North Carolina markets including Weaver Street Market, Durham Coop market, Chatham Marketplace, Union Special, Harmony Farms, and Elk Local Foods, and Mediterranean Deli.
Our Favorite NC-Made Snacks
Yadkin Valley Popcorn
Yadkin Valley Popcorn has been the leading popcorn in the Southeast for over 32 years. Originally founded in the Shallowford Farms, it’s expanded to become an internationally selling, farm-to-table popcorn brand.
Make movie time or simple snacktime more enjoyable with Yadkin Valley’s various flavors of ready-to-eat, farm-to-table gourmet popcorn. Munch on classic butter popcorn or go with something differently delicious like yellow cheddar, white cheddar, or caramel for a nostalgic kettle corn experience.
Shop for some gourmet-quality popcorn, straight from their Yadkinville, North Carolina Farm by visiting their website and enjoy a bag of Yadkin Valley Popcorn
Have a taste of better chips with Southern Snacks’ Baked Sweet Potato Chips. Southern Snacks is a truly unique North Carolina-grown brand that makes delicious, gourmet potato chips using “ugly” potatoes.
A shocking 30% of grown vegetables from farms don’t meet cosmetic standards that would make them viable for grocery stores. Southern Snacks collects these unwanted spuds and turns them into delicious and healthy potato chips, that are way better than your conventional bag of chips.
All of their chips are gluten-free and non-GMO and all baked with coconut oil in an air-fryer, creating a seriously crispy, sweet, and savory chip that’s a pleasure to snack on. Enjoy better chips and snack all you want, without worrying about artificial additives and added sugars with a bag of Southern Snacks available on their website.
Truly Good Foods
Truly Good Foods is a women-owned brand that was founded in 1977 that aims to provide the highest quality snack foods in the market using premium ingredients that help their snacks burst with flavor. Today, it’s one of the biggest snack brands in the country with a product line that consists of over 3,000 snack foods.
Only gathering the best raw ingredients for their goods, they’ve made an impressive and expansive catalog of snacks that include nuts, snack mixes, dips, pretzels, and berries. They’re now one of the biggest suppliers of snack foods that helps other businesses grow and expand, as well as provide good, healthy snacks to the homes of Americans everywhere.
Growing tired of your old peanut butter spread at home? Maybe it’s time for a change, one for the better. Kokada is introducing a unique spread that’s different from all the others. Using a peanut-free, gluten-free, completely organic, and refined-sugar-free recipe, they’ve created the perfect peanut butter alternative that can be enjoyed by absolutely everyone.
Their Iconic Coconut Spread was created to rival all other spreads in the market. With a simple and clean formula, they’ve made a good snack accessible to as many people as possible. People with peanut allergies no longer have to despair, they can finally have a bite of a spread that’s not only good for them but also sumptuously good for any occasion and preparation.
Hailing from Raleigh, North Carolina, Carolina Kettle is but a humble brand that seeks to do better with the power of a good back of kettle-cooked potato chips. Carolina Kettle has been in the food industry for over 65 years, so they’re no stranger to the looming problem of food scarcity.
By picking up a bag of Carolina Kettle, people won’t just be snacking on some gourmet chips. They can revel in snacking great but also do good by contributing to local food backs. With 11 flavors of the best dang chips you’ll ever taste, you won’t go wrong and you’ll always have something to look forward to with snack time.
No Doubt, It’s Got To Be NC
North Carolina is home to countless, incredibly talented individuals with the goal of both providing good food to everyone, but also doing good for the community. I’ve met these purpose-driven brands firsthand, and it was a pleasure to hear their inspiring stories and learn about their amazing products.
Support these brands, and let’s celebrate the spirit of North Carolina!