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pitmasterpack.jpg Photo courtesy of 4 Rivers Smokehouse
The Pitmaster Pro bundle was created exclusively for the new 4 Rivers Smokehouse ecommerce channel.

Why 4 Rivers Smokehouse launched its own ecommerce platform

4 Rivers Smokehouse has sold its rubs and sauces in Publix stores and on Goldbelly for years, but it wanted to expand its retail options to include its signature meats.

4 Rivers Smokehouse first extended into retail in the throes of the pandemic and through a partnership with Goldbelly. Demand for the Florida-based barbecue concept’s products has grown so much since then, the company recently expanded its retail presence even more with the launch of its own ecommerce site, called 4 Rivers on the Road. Until now, the 23-unit concept has been selling its signature sauces and rubs in Publix stores throughout the Southeast, as well as on Goldbelly, but its new channel is enabling the company to expand its products, including its signature meats, to customers across the country, according to CEO and Founder John Rivers..

Newly available retail products include 4 Rivers’ signature 18-hour smoked Signature Angus Brisket, St. Louis-style ribs, smoked turkey breast, pulled pork, and smoked pork and beef sausage links. The company created five bundles – The Pig, The Sampler, The Sampler XL, The Pitmaster Pro, and BBQ Fast – exclusively for its 4 Rivers on the Road channel, pairing its meats with its signature sauces and rubs. Some of the bundles also include “The Southern Cowboy” cookbook written by Rivers. And, of course, the website includes sauces and rubs sold on their own, such as its all-purpose rub, brisket rub, coffee rub, Signature BBQ sauce, Hot BBQ sauce, and Mustard BBQ sauce.

The ecommerce platform took approximately six months to get off the ground and required the establishment of partnerships with reliable warehouses to safely store and ship the products, Rivers said. Fulfillment operations are handled by SmartWarehouse, a third-party center that has over 23 warehouses nationwide and over 1 million square feet of temperature-controlled space. So far, the added channel has paid off; sales exceeded expectations in the first month, while shipments were made to markets as far away as Hawaii.

“This indicates strong demand and growth potential,” Rivers said. “We have also seen a few shipments to overseas military stations. With these results in such a short period of time, we’re confident we will continue to progress. We’re excited to venture beyond Florida.”

Rivers adds that the company's mission is to share its offerings with “as many barbecue lovers as possible,” and this ecommerce channel will support that mission by providing more access and creating more brand awareness, while also informing the company on potential future locations.

There is always potential for expansion, so we’ll always keep that door open,” he said. “If we notice a significant volume of shipments to a particular area in the future, it’s something we can definitely consider.”

Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]

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