After many successful years of operation by the original owners of Disaster Bay Chillies, the business was recently purchased by Les and Letitia Cruikshank and their family in August 2020
Although this was a tough year for business, under the instruction of both Stuart and John we have been able to learn the ropes of the business and understand the recipes to be able to continue making the award products and carry on their legacy.
Having lived in the Middle East for the past 12 years, we have experienced many diﬀerent cuisines, from the mild to very hot and plain to spicy and enjoyed expanding our palettes to savour these foods.
When the opportunity to purchase Disaster Bay Chillies arose, we were very interested in not just the products, but the lifestyle of the business and being able to grow our own produce to create these wonderful organic products.
Both our children Elita and Joel, and daughter’s husband Josh are involved in the business as well, be it in the marketing, sales, IT or gardening and our plan is to expand the business to be able to sustain all the family and employ others as well.
Disaster Bay Chillies commenced in 1999 as a partnership between Stuart Meagher and John Wentworth. John had been an organic market gardener for more than a decade and Stuart was, and still is a chilli fanatic.
Stuart and John combined their passions in 1999 to grow chillies in Eden on the Far South Coast of NSW to produce what they believe is the world’s ﬁrst commercially available wine made from chillies. They used a recipe from a mate of Stuarts, known as Old Didler, as a starting point. Then, after much experimentation – and a little luck – they struck upon a workable method to produce the wine.
The wine ﬁrst went on sale at the 3rd National Chilli Festival in 2000, where it created immediate interest, winning the award for the Best New Product at the festival. By concentrating on quality rather than quantity and with a philosophy of “if it’s not right it’s wrong” Disaster Bay Chillies have picked up a string of awards nationally and internationally including awards in London and New Mexico.
Disaster Bay Chilli products have been developed to enhance the amazing array of tastes and textures found in the fresh chillies they grow.
The range includes chilli chocolates, exotic sauces, liqueur jellies and even a sauce made with freshly smoked chillies and smoked garlic
Stuart and John maintained the quality of their products by growing their own chillies organically. They produced over 2 tonnes of chillies, which were hand harvested each season and then processed and cooked at the factory in Eden. They grew up to a dozen diﬀerent varieties of chillies from the very mild Anaheim Chilli to the ﬁery hot Habanero and Naga Chillies.
John and Stuart were continually striving to improve on their success around the world. The awards the company has received over the years created keen interest from a number of countries which enabled them to start looking at the prospect of small exclusive export deals.
With the help of family and friends Disaster Bay Chillies evolved into a successful, award winning business that still maintains the home grown, handmade approach that the business began with.
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