The story is legendary. NASA astronaut and Eustis High School graduate, the late Dave Walker, enjoyed King’s Taste Bar-B-Q sauce so much that he requested it for his voyage aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in December 1992.
From that point on, the Lake County company that’s served barbecue with a distinctive mustard based sauce since the early 1950s could boast it produced an “out-of-this-world” barbecue sauce.
Now that is a brand endorsement fit for a king.
“Fit for a King” is exactly what company founder and sauce creator Isaac Thomas had in mind when he thought of the slogan and developed the name King’s Taste Bar-B-Q Sauce.
The brand originated from humble beginnings. Isaac made his distinctive sauce at home until increased demand required opening a barbecue stand, according to current owner Betty Kagler, niece of Isaac’s wife Doris Thomas. So, he opened a stand at 503 Palmetto Street in Eustis, steps away from his home. Isaac began the business in 1951, and the stand’s reputation for mouth-watering ribs, chicken and signature sauce quickly spread beyond the neighborhood. In 1973, he patented his hot, spicy yellow mustard-based sauce.
After Isaac died in 1982, Wilts Alexander, a former third-grade student of Doris, purchased the stand to help her carry out her husband’s legacy.
The retired schoolteacher used every waking moment to promote the sauce the best way she knew how — by driving around town, meeting with various grocery store owners, obtaining orders and making deliveries herself.
Doris eventually hired a distributor, who introduced the product to southeast regional grocery chains Publix and Winn Dixie. The product went national when Albertson’s, the second largest supermarket chain in the nation at the time, picked it up.
Kagler, who assisted Doris with business management for years, gained ownership of the sauce when Doris passed in 2009.
For now, Kagler plans to keep things exactly as they are. Why change? In its 64th year, King’s Bar-B-Q Sauce remains a universal hit by offering great taste, via three well-respected grocery chains and a lasting endorsement, literally heard from space.