The Tale of the OKB

Nearly 100 hundred years ago, during the time of Al Capone and Elliot Ness, two brothers, Clarence and Mike were businessmen working along the deltas of the Ohio River Basin. Their businesses were similar in that they both dealt in products for drink. In fact, even their customers were the same people though their products were so different.

You see, Clarence owned a dairy and Mike ran bootleg. Living and working in the river bottoms, they delivered their wares into the hills and hollers of northern Kentucky to a grateful citizenry.

At one Sunday family supper, Mike and Clarence hit upon an idea that would streamline their operations and help Mike avoid the revenuers. Hey Clarence, Mike would say, you know that you and I deliver to all the same people so why don't we just load up your delivery wagons with whisky as well as milk and cheese? That way we can save half on delivery and the revenuers will never catch on. That way we both make more money!

What a great idea, Mike said to Clarence. We can share on collecting as well as delivery and really make some hay!

Thus, on that Sunday afternoon over fried chicken, black eyed peas and mashed taters and gravy was born one of the most successful partnerships ever conceived in the mid-south.

Clarence' milk wagons would make their normal daily runs and drop off a quart of milk and a quart of hooch on each doorstep, keep the tally and collect from the customers each week. Clarence and Mike were doing very well with this arrangement.

Now, down in the hills there was a barbeque shack. Bowe's Bar-B-Q had existed since prior to the civil war and was known from the Cumberland Gap to the coal mines of Southern Illinois. Bowe's was a regular stop on the Pony Express routes and was a dependable and sought after stop by travelers, Confederate and Yankee forces alike and settlers making their way through the backwoods of Kentucky.

Bowe's was now owned by the third generation of Bowe family members, Orville and his wife Millie. Orville's great grandfather had first started feeding travelers in the 1830's and the "best barbeque in the south" was handed down from generation to generation until Orville and Millie operated it from the turn of the 20th Century on. The recipe for their famous barbeque sauce was closely guarded and the recipe was not shared with children or any living sole until the shack was to be passed on.

As time went on the travelers and pilgrims began to slow and business declined, but Orville and Millie kept buying more and more of Mike's fine whisky but less and less of Clarence' quality milk. All the while the unpaid balance of their bills to Mike kept growing and growing.

Finally, Mike and Clarence found it necessary to pay Bowe's a visit to enjoy barbeque and discuss the debt.

Orville and Millie had to admit that they could not pay either Mike or Clarence what they owed and asked if there was any alternative Mike or Clarence could provide.

After a great deal of cogitation, Clarence suggested that they would settle the debt in full but make no more deliveries if Orville and Millie would give them the recipe for their old and coveted sauce.

"No, no!" Orville yelled. My daddy and his daddy before him made me swear that no one would ever get their hands on the prized and secret mix of ingredients! After many long, difficult and sometimes violent conversations, Orville and Millie finally relented on two conditions:  that Mike and Clarence would never release the recipe and the sauce would not be commercially produced for 80 years. So, in 1922 Mike and Clarence received the secret mix and shortly thereafter Bowe's closed its doors forever in that holler.

Mike and Clarence kept their word and this 175 year old recipe has been kept within our family for nearly 100 years now.

Although we will never release the mix formula, you are now able to experience for yourself the "greatest barbeque in the south." for yourself. The OKB – Old Kentucky Barbeque Sauce.


Have you tried The OKB


Markets and Special Events

The OKB is available at these fine Farmers Markets throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area:

Old Town Scottsdale - Saturdays 8-1

Chandler Farmers Market

Saturdays 8:30 - 12:30

High Street Market - Sundays 10-1

Verrado Farmers Market - 9:30-1:00


           HALF GALLONS - $17.00

THE OKB is now available in half gallon containers.

Enjoy the equivalent  of 5 1/3  of the 14 ounce bottles for the price of just 2 1/2.


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