The Food Corner

A Ketchup for "Right-Thinking" Americans
In February 2004 Chris Cylke and Patrick Spero, two former James Madison University roommates, founded Bush Country Ketchup.
"While dunking our freedom fries in ketchup a few months ago, we came to a sudden realization.  With each drop of ketchup we ingested, bottled by a company whose single largest individual shareholder is the wife of the Democratic Presidential Candidate John Kerry, we were indirectly making his wallet fatter.  Bush Country Ketchup was created so "right-thinking" Americans could once again enjoy this condiment on our burgers and fries without the guilt associated with enriching an individual whose aspirations and goals are so clearly wrong for our country." 

Inspired by a Thomas Nast cartoon, Cylke sketched out a design for a label, later refined, and with a $5,000 loan, they founded Conservative Condiments, Inc. of Philadelphia, PA.   The product sells for $5.99 for a 13 ounce bottle + shipping and handling.

Time will tell whether the enterprise poses a challenge to the Heinz empire.  On March 22, 2004, the H.J. Heinz Company issued a statement to confirm "its widely held public ownership and non-partisan status."

Competition Arises
In June 2004 a group in East Bridge, NY launched W Ketchup™.  (Founder & CEO Dan Oliver, COO Susan Oliver, Chairman Bill Zachary)  The label featured George Washington and the slogan was “You don’t support Democrats.  Why should your Ketchup?”  W Ketchup came in 24 ounce plastic squeeze bottles; a minimum order of 4 bottles cost $12 + shipping and handling.  W Ketchup pledged to give the Freedom Alliance Scholarship Fund 5% of its profits, or 1% of its revenue, whichever is greater.  Meanwhile, Bush Country Ketchup co-founder Patrick Spero challenged the bona fides of W Ketchup, asserting in a July 16 press release that the company's leaders are "just trying to enrich themselves by capitalizing on the conservative market."