23 to watch in 2023: Justin Gill, founder/CEO of Bachan’s
Name: Justin Gill
Title or position: Founder and CEO, Bachan’s
On the job since: Began working on his business in 2013 and launched commercially in 2019.
Hometown: Born and raised in Sebastopol
Why Gill is someone to watch:
A lot of people dream of turning a beloved family recipe into a product adored by millions of consumers, but Justin Gill had the tenacity to make it happen. It took him six years and dozens of adaptations to bring a recipe for a Japanese style barbecue sauce, created by his Sebastopol-born grandmother, Judy Yokoyama, to store shelves without cutting corners. Since launching in 2019 in stores like Pacific Market and Oliver’s, Bachan’s (named that because it’s the Japanese word for granny) has developed a devoted and growing following of consumers who use the lightly sweet, umami-rich sauce on everything from eggs to oysters. With a substantial infusion of $13 million dollars in investment capital this past year helping Gill scale up his company in a strategic way, Bachan’s is poised to become a household name across the entire country.
What others are saying about Gill:
“What Justin’s already built is incredible, but what we’ll see in 2023 is going to take him to whole a new level. This is a brand that is completely a national phenomenon. Bachan’s has the potential to be as ubiquitous as Sriracha. In the grocery business, they plan almost a year in advance. (Bachan’s) has thousands and thousands of new stores that are coming online in 2023. It makes my heart swell with warmth because Justin and his family are the nicest people. They’re humble, and they’re going to give back to this community. The county will be the beneficiary of his success,” said Jon Sebastiani, Founder and managing partner for Sonoma Brands Capital and investor in Bachan’s
What Gill says about 2023:
“We’re excited to bring some new products to market pretty soon. We’re bringing in people who’ve been where we’re trying to go, and so we’re going to continue to build our business, build our brand, and serve our customers. Today, we are Bachan’s the Japanese barbecue sauce brand. Going into next year, we are working towards being Bachan’s, the Japanese American condiment brand. And then looking way out towards the future, I believe Bachan’s can be the Japanese American food brand with all kinds of products.”
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