Press release from the Charlotte in 2012 Convention Host Committee:

Charlotte in 2012 Convention Host Committee Releases RFP for Barbeque Sauces to Represent Flavors of the Carolinas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, February 16, 2012
Contact: Suzi Emmerling

CHARLOTTE – This week, Charlotte in 2012 released a Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking to work with a Barbeque sauce vendor as part of the merchandising effort for the convention. The RFP calls for three different types of BBQ sauces; mustard, vinegar, and tomato, to represent and showcase the different styles from around the Carolinas. The sauces will be sold together in Charlotte in 2012’s online merchandise store to people from across America.

“I love the food from this region – I even smoke my own pork - so I understand very well the importance of selecting three barbeque sauces that truly represent the flavor of the Carolinas,” said Dan Murrey, Executive Director of Charlotte in 2012. “We expect bids from eastern Carolina, western Carolina and South Carolina…Needless to say it will be a challenge to select the best sauces, but I think I speak for my entire team when I say that we are looking forward to the taste test.”

This is part of a grassroots fundraising effort, and proceeds go toward funding the convention. Charlotte in 2012 is the first Host Committee in convention history to raise convention funds without accepting monetary corporate contributions; monetary contributions now come from individuals, foundations and charitable organizations.

Those interested in submitting a proposal to sell barbeque sauce must register their business in the Vendor Directory at and must be open to working with Charlotte in 2012 on any creative designs having to do with the bottle and labels. Sauces must be made in America, and preference will be given to those made in the Carolinas. Final proposals are due by Monday, February 27th, 2012.


By the February 27 deadline, 30 brands had been entered, comprising 28 tomato-based, 13 mustard-based, and 15 vinegar-based sauces.  The next challenge was to figure out the winners:

All Photos: Charlotte in 2012 Convention Host Committee

30 brands, 56 sauces.

Charlotte Observer food editor Kathleen Purvis.

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, pitmaster team and South Carolina BBQ Society judges Brian and Sherry Teigue, and Jon Fortes, executive chef at Charlotte’s Mimosa Grill.

Charlotte in 2012 Convention Host Committee Executive Director Dan Murrey.

Charlotte in 2012 Announces Official BBQ Sauces of the 2012 Democratic National Convention

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, May 7, 2012
Contact: Suzi Emmerling

CHARLOTTE – Today, the Charlotte in 2012 Convention Host Committee announced in an email to supporters the winners of the competition to become the official BBQ sauces of the 2012 Democratic National Convention. The “Taste of the Carolinas” tomato-based, vinegar-based, and mustard-based sauces will be sold in person for the first time Saturday, May 12 among local vendors and restaurateurs at the reopening of Charlotte’s Seventh Street Market from 11:00am-1:00pm. The sauces will also be sold together to people from across America as part of the convention’s grassroots fundraising efforts in Charlotte in 2012’s online merchandise store.

In February, Charlotte in 2012 called upon sauce makers to compete to become the convention’s official BBQ sauces. Charlotte in 2012 staff conducted several fact-finding meetings to decide best how to judge all of our entries. Expert advice was collected from North Carolina BBQ Society President and Judge Jim Early, South Carolina BBQ Society judge Lake High, Holy Smokes BBQ book author John Shelton Reed, and many others on the best way to judge the sauces.

Six judges – including certified BBQ judges, a local food expert, and a chef – tasted and rated one of the three types of sauce based on criteria recommended by the experts. The judges evaluated each sauce on a scale of 1-20 in four different categories – aroma, taste, aftertaste and overall impression. For more information about the judges and the process, including pictures of the tasting, click here.

And the winners are…

Mustard-based: Dan Huntley aka “Dan the Pig Man” with Pig Pucker BBQ of Charlotte, North Carolina

"It's a high honor in barbecuedom to have my sauce chosen by the DNC,” said Huntley. “In the Carolinas, the epicenter of global BBQ culture, a good sauce is a holy vestment."

Vinegar-based: Mark Cieslikowski with Q2U Catering and BBQ Pit of Lake Wylie, South Carolina

“We are so very proud that our sauce was picked to represent the Carolinas in the vinegar category,” said Cieslikowski. “Even though our particular sauce has our own recipe, its development was due to years of tasting some of the best vinegar sauces in the country right here in the Carolinas.”

Tomato-based: Tom Montgomery and Sabra Kelley with 12 Bones Smokehouse of Asheville, North Carolina

“We are very excited to hear that we have been selected and hope that everyone enjoys our sauce when they come to the convention," said Montgomery.

The Carolinas boast a proud rivalry in their different approaches to barbecue sauces. The convention’s host committee launched this competition to showcase each unique style. Eastern North Carolina barbecue typically uses a thin, vinegar-based sauce, while Western North Carolina barbecue uses a thicker, sweetened tomato-based sauce. The central part of South Carolina makes a sauce made from yellow mustard and vinegar.

The sales of the “Taste of the Carolinas” sauces are part of a grassroots fundraising effort, the proceeds of which go toward funding the convention. Charlotte in 2012 is the first Host Committee in modern convention history to not accept monetary contributions from corporations, lobbyists, or political action committees. Instead, monetary contributions now come from foundations and charitable organizations, and individuals like those who purchase these winning sauces online.

The Charlotte in 2012 Convention Host Committee is a non-profit, non-partisan organization established by the city of Charlotte to fulfill obligations of the master contract with the Democratic National Convention Committee. In addition to those obligations, Charlotte in 2012 works to engage the citizens Charlotte and the Carolinas through business and civic opportunities, ensure that the Convention leaves a positive lasting legacy, and tell Charlotte and the region's story to the nation and the world. For more information, visit us online at