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Decatur designer goes from wedding gowns to barbecue sauce

Aubrey Lenyard’s spicy peach AubSauce won the People’s Choice Award at the 2019 University of Georgia Flavor of Georgia competition. CONTRIBUTED BY PERALTE PAUL
Aubrey Lenyard’s spicy peach AubSauce won the People’s Choice Award at the 2019 University of Georgia Flavor of Georgia competition. CONTRIBUTED BY PERALTE PAUL

Breathe deeply. Picture a peaceful studio on the lower level of a suburban Decatur split-level. Imagine soothing peach walls, a church bench painted white, small peach-glazed pottery tasting bowls, windows open to a green backyard, and a perfectly ordered shipping station with supplies neatly arranged.

That peaceful space is the studio of Aubrey Lenyard, creator of AubSauce, a collection of three award-winning barbecue sauces (with a fourth just launched). Imagine walking up a few stairs to the kitchen, where Lenyard dreamed up his first batch of sauce.

AubSauce, the barbecue sauce company created by Aubrey Lenyard, is based in the studio of his Decatur home. CONTRIBUTED BY AUBS CO.
AubSauce, the barbecue sauce company created by Aubrey Lenyard, is based in the studio of his Decatur home. CONTRIBUTED BY AUBS CO.

“I work at ATDC, a start-up incubator for technology companies,” Lenyard said. “A friend said he was looking for something to do with a pork loin, and that sparked my interest. I went into my kitchen and started mixing up ingredients, and came up with the combination that is now my spicy peach barbecue sauce.”

He took the sauce to the office and was told, “This is so good you should sell it.” And, so, he prepared to do just that. As a professional in the world of start-ups, he launched a Kickstarter campaign in November, 2018.

“I spend my days among all these innovators and creators,” Lenyard said. “It just gave me the bug. My goal with the Kickstarter campaign was to raise enough money to find a co-packer. I raised $5,000 the first day.”

In another few days, he had $10,000, and the business was launched.

Aubrey Lenyard of AubSauce enjoys working with designers who can bring his vision for products to life. This small, peach-glazed pottery sauce bowl was designed by Alannah Naber. CONTRIBUTED BY JARED SERFOZO
Aubrey Lenyard of AubSauce enjoys working with designers who can bring his vision for products to life. This small, peach-glazed pottery sauce bowl was designed by Alannah Naber. CONTRIBUTED BY JARED SERFOZO

A co-packer is a company that takes a recipe and brings it up to scale. What Lenyard could produce in a Dutch oven in his home kitchen would never meet the food safety requirements, or the quantities, needed for a full-service food company. Now, he works with co-packer Janet Etheridge of Screen Door Foods and Provisions in Decatur.

He launched AubSauce with three sauces. First was the peach, then came the sauce he dubbed “original,” named that because he thinks of it as the quintessential barbecue sauce. “It’s a very Southern barbecue sauce. I like to say it’s the kind your grandmother would have made at home.”

Lenyard noted that his own grandmother, his dad’s mom, was a great source of inspiration. “My grandmother was the grill master in my family. My grandfather built her a barbecue pit in the backyard.”

His fiery pineapple mango barbecue sauce was created because he wanted a sauce with a mustard base. “I knew I wanted something tropical and citrusy,” Lenyard said, “so I decided to take my pineapple mango smoothie recipe and give it a savory twist with the mustard.”

And, this spring, he launched a fourth flavor, strawberry balsamic and rosemary, just named as a finalist in the University of Georgia 2020 Flavor of Georgia competition. He won the People’s Choice award in the 2019 competition with his spicy peach flavor.

Aubrey Lenyard of AubSauce shows off the four flavors of his barbecue sauce line. CONTRIBUTED BY JARED SERFOZO
Aubrey Lenyard of AubSauce shows off the four flavors of his barbecue sauce line. CONTRIBUTED BY JARED SERFOZO

Taking after his grandmother, Lenyard is the grill master at his house. “I’m outside by 7 and have the grill fired up. My favorite thing to grill is chicken and vegetables, cut up to make kebobs. I like the peach sauce on the chicken, but the pineapple-mango sauce is perfect for the vegetables.”

His home studio reflects a design sensibility honed by education and experience. “I moved to Atlanta to major in fashion design,” Lenyard said. “I opened Aubrey Lenyard Design, and designed wedding and evening gowns. I’m really a designer at heart.”

And, he enjoys working with other creative people, like Lilli Gluck, a student at Georgia Tech, who designed his labels, and potter Alannah Naber, who crafts the sauce bowls for his line.

Savi Provisions in Decatur was his first wholesale customer. “When I first went there to do a little customer discovery, my sauce was just in a Mason jar,” Lenyard said. “They liked it, and told me when I was ready, they would put it on their shelves. And, we’ve been there ever since.”

Spicy Peach AubSauce
Spicy Peach AubSauce

You also can find AubSauce at the Buford Highway Farmers Market, Lucy’s Market in Buckhead, Town Square Olive Oil in Covington and Atlanta Grill Co. in Roswell.

Lenyard’s favorite experience so far has been his time with the Flavor of Georgia competition. “They connected me to Georgia Grown from the Georgia Department of Agriculture, and that, in turn, has been instrumental in helping me find customers,” he said. “When I didn’t win the sauce category last year, I was disappointed, but so happy to be in the same room with the other makers. But, then, to be announced as the People’s Choice Award winner? I was so surprised and excited.”

He’s looking forward to seeing how his strawberry balsamic and rosemary sauce does in the competition this year.

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