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Fat Boy Barbecue Expands into the Southeast With Kroger

November 14, 2017 – Fat Boy All Natural Barbecue is bringing some time honored favorites along with some new product offerings to the southeast with help from Kroger

The Midwest based company recently had their southern line placed in the Atlanta, Delta, Mid Atlantic and Nashville divisions of Kroger encompassing 504 new retail stores.  These stores will be serviced through Kroger’s brand new 600,000 square foot Florence Kentucky warehouse and boosts Fat Boy Barbecue’s presence with Kroger into over 1100 stores. 

Kirk Malzer, CEO of Fat Boy Barbecue said  “We could not be happier with our expansion within the Kroger family and look forward to having a strong retail presence for our loyal customer base in the southeast.  We are also exited to debut our Prospector’s Gold Sauce, Vinegar Mop Sauce and Memphis Rub to add a little regional flavor to our current product line.”  As they say at Fat Boy their products are all natural, most are gluten free and they still taste good. 

Fat Boy Barbecue is owned and produced by Bar B Que Specialties, Inc. They have been in business since 2002 and their products are currently sold in thousands of retail stores in 40 states.  For more information about Fat Boy Barbecue products and retail locations please visit

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Quick Growth Presents Opportuntities, Challenges to Fat Boy

Kirk and Erin Malzer
Owners Erin and Kirk Malzer … Online promotions and growing popularity of barbecue have advanced growth for the local brand. Photo by Lincoln Business Journal.

May 15, 2014 – Fat Boy Natural BBQ, which markets its own brand of barbecue sauces and rubs, grew 75 percent in the first quarter of 2014 – before barbeque season had even begun. This presented a major challenge to the Lincoln firm which has two full-time an two part-time employees. Part of that growth, but not all of it, co-owner and CEO Kirk Malzer attributed to the 50,000 product sample requests the firm received in a 60-day period following the posting of a link on Reddit in January.

“The free sample offer had been on our website for about six months with nowhere near that kind of response,” said co-owner and Chief Marketing Officer Erin Malzer.

Upon investigation, the Malzers found that over the three weeks following the Reddit posting more than 150 sites had linked to the Fat Boy website.

The firm has so far mailed about 2,000 samples, leaving 48,000 people who have not received its product. Much of the firm’s growth is coming from consumer demand for healthy products, Kirk Malzer said.

“Our products are gluten-free and natural, which is important to many people today,” he said.

The firm sells its products to nearly 3,000 stores in 29 states through its distribution channels – food brokers, wholesalers, and warehouses – based in Michigan, Iowa, Chicago and Denver. The Malzers try to keep as much money as possible in Nebraska, the exceptions being its distributors and the manufacturers of its sauces in Kansas City because the state doesn’t have those services, Kirk Malzer said.

“We’re a family-owned local business, and we want to support other privately-owned local businesses,” he said.

Fulfilling the requests for samples proved challenging not only in terms of manpower but it was also expensive. The firm was spending $2.25 to send out each sample itself, so it contracted with a local company to do the packaging and mailing, which reduced the cost to $1.00 per sample, Kirk Malzer said.

Keeping up with Federal regulations also is challenging, especially because of the ingredients that must be listed and how they must be listed on the label, Erin Malzer said.

“For example, some people are allergic to paprika, so we have to put that on the label,” she said.

The firm’s main goal for this year is to expand its United States network, adding more retail locations. It is focusing on the south and on California where warm weather allows people to barbeque all year long, but he Malzers have seen a significant sales increase in Colorado, which Erin Malzer attributed to more and more customers using the firm’s products in the kitchen.

“We’re shifting our emphasis from barbecue sauce to spices and updating our website with recipes,” Kirk Malzer said. “We found the people are using our products in the cold months.”

The Malzers plan to expand into Canada and eventually into Europe.

“Canada is one of the hardest countries to export to,” Erin Malzer said. “If we can get into Canada we can get into anywhere. Barbecue is big in France, Germany, and most of Europe That’s a great opportunity for Americans because if you’re barbecuing in Europe you can use the sauce made where it all began.”

Barbecuing started in the southern United States because people couldn’t afford good meat, so they invented barbecue to make it edible, she said.

“Barbecue is uniquely American,” Kirk Malzer said. “They cook it a low temperature for a very long time.”

Article published in the Lincoln Business Journal by David Kubicek.

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Fat Boy Grows Online with Amazon

February 24, 2014 – Started in 2002, Fat Boy never envisioned that they would be selling to national retailers twelve years later. Born out of the competitive BBQ circuit, their line of natural rubs and sauces meets a level of excellence that is hard to surpass in today’s market.

In 2014, Fat Boy is proud to add to their list of national retailers by becoming an official vendor. “While we’ve been selling for over a year on Amazon through GROW Nebraska, and we are excited to now become an official Amazon vendor,” said Erin Malzer, Chief Marketing Officer. “Being an official vendor creates higher conversion rates for Amazon online sales. They will be like any other wholesaler – buying our product outright and selling it on their own terms.”

The new items that will be carried through the Amazon grocery program include all of Fat Boy natural and gluten free BBQ rubs. Items will be available for purchase at “The Amazon distribution centers have been buying our sauces through a distributor for some time, so we are excited to add our rubs to the mix,” stated Malzer.

Fat Boy is a family-owned business based in Lincoln, NE. Their rubs and sauces can be found nationally at chains including Kroger, Dillon’s, Baker’s, Hy-Vee, Super Saver, Russ’s and more. They are currently carried by over 2,000 retailers in 26 states.

According to, was the Internet’s #1 retailer in 2012 with net sales of $61 billion and according to, Amazon is larger than the next dozen internet retailers combined.

For additional information please contact Erin Malzer at (402)480-7167 or

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Reddit Helps Grow Local Business

February 18, 2014 – It started innocently on a Tuesday afternoon. Fat Boy Natural BBQ had a free sample link on their web site for about 6 months, but never had they received entries like they started receiving on January 28, 2014. “I was working from home and received a call from my husband and our operations assistant. They wanted to know what I posted online. My response … nothing,” said Erin Malzer, co-owner and Chief Marketing Officer of Fat Boy Natural BBQ. “We got 15 sample requests 5 minutes, something was going on. I thought we’d been hacked.” said Kirk Malzer, co-owner and CEO.

Having worked in in web development for 10 years, Erin quickly reviewed the statistics from the submissions. “After logging into the site and checking the IP addresses, I determined that these were in fact valid requests. The question was, why were we getting so many submissions? Between 2:30pm and 10:30pm that day we received nearly 1,500 requests, with another 400 in days following,” said Malzer.

Kirk quickly started e-mailing some that had commented on their submissions to find out where they heard about it. It was discovered that someone had put a simple link that said “Free Sample of BBQ Rub” on

Over the next three weeks over 150 “freebie” sites had posted the link directing people to Fat Boy Natural BBQ’s sample request page, resulting in over 25,000 sample requests from across the country. Erin said “I have worked in marketing for twelve years and taught other businesses about the affects of viral marketing, but had never experienced it myself. It was certainly an eye opener to see how quickly information can spread across the Internet. The site was so overloaded we started directing people to our Facebook page to message us their address to get a free sample.” It was later discovered that the page had been hit a staggering 25,000 times on January 28 alone. “That’s bigger than the town I grew up in,” said Erin.

“We saw this as a valuable opportunity and decided to ride it as long as we could,” said Kirk. “In one day our Facebook followers went from 720 to over 1,500. We are currently over 3,200 and it just keeps growing. We also gained over 400 Twitter followers and our e-mail list grew overwhelmingly fast. What a great opportunity to reach out directly to people who would potentially buy our product.”

“Now we just have to fill them,” said Ela Grantski, Fat Boy BBQ Operations Assistant. Over the next month the team will work on filling the samples and mailing them off. “We will have another round of this because as it was unexpected, we will have to order more samples. We had several people sign up to be on a waiting list for our next offer. We’ll worry about that after we get this first round taken care of. At least this time we’ll know what to expect.”

Fat Boy Natural BBQ is a family-owned business based in Lincoln, NE. Their rubs and sauces can be found nationally at chains including Kroger, Dillon’s, Baker’s, Hy-Vee, Super Saver, Russ’s and more. They are currently carried by over 2,000 retailers in 26 states. You can learn more about their products or order online at

For additional information please contact Erin Malzer at (402)480-7167 or

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Fat Boy Moves to Lincoln

February 1, 2013 – Fat Boy is pleased to announce their relocation to a new warehouse facility in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“It is important to us as a corporation to remain true to our local Nebraska roots.  We have formed partnerships with other local businesses and use Nebraska-based service providers whenever possible.  It’s great for us and great for our local economy,” said President and CEO Kirk Malzer. Both Kirk and Erin grew up in Nebraska – Kirk in Lincoln, and Erin (Duffy) in Columbus.

Started from a competitive barbecue background, Fat Boy produces and sells a full line of all natural barbecue sauces and rubs.  In addition to being natural, most of their products are gluten free and all rubs are 5 calories or less with the majority being calorie free. Their sauces are all low water-based to help it to caramelize on the meat when cooking.

In addition to their national wholesale operations, their products are also available in the Lincoln and Omaha area Hy-Vee, Russ’s, Super Saver, Fareway, and Baker’s stores. Fat Boy also helps bring out-of-state sales into Nebraska by offering their products through their own web site,, in addition to selling through GROW Nebraska, eBay and Amazon.  Currently over 90% of the company’s sales come from out-of-state wholesale and retail accounts.

Over the next 12 months the company will be working on a slight rebranding, starting with the recent completion of their new user friendly web site,, which was launched in March.  It features enhanced shipping options and provides a better customer shopping experience.  You can also look for some new labels on the products and an increase in their social media presence over the coming months.

“We are proud to be a member of the Lincoln Chamber and business community,” said Kirk.  “We look forward to enhancing and expanding our relationships with other Lincoln businesses.”  Fat Boy also recently became the featured rub provider for the Lincoln Saltdogs baseball team. “We feel this is the first step to building more relationships in the Lincoln area. Soon you’ll be able to buy a Fat Boy pulled pork sandwich at any home game,” stated Malzer.

Based in Lincoln, NE Fat Boy BBQ sells natural barbecue rubs and sauces nationwide. To learn more about Fat Boy BBQ, visit their web site at, call them at 402.480.7167 or e-mail them at