KC Masterpiece Barbeque Sauce was created in 1977 by Richard E. "Rich" Davis M.D., a child psychiatrist, practicing in Kansas City, Missouri. Davis earned his Medical Degree from The University of Kansas. Davis was born in 1926, in Joplin, Missouri and died on 6 October 2015 in Leawood, Kansas, at 89 years of age.
Initially, Davis named his sauce "KC Soul Style Barbecue Sauce", and the original formula consisted of only five ingredients. He later renamed it "KC Masterpiece". He presented his sauce to several Kansas City area food brokers, with the intention of marketing it to the public, through retail supermarket distribution. During this same time, he also presented Muschup (a combination of ketchup and mustard) and Dilled Muschup (a combination of ketchup, mustard, and dill relish). Most of the area brokerages were reluctant to give the upstart sauces a chance.
Eventually, Davis met with Jim Flynn, of Flynn Brokerage. Flynn sampled the sauces, and immediately saw the barbeque sauce’s potential to introduce an innovative product, to an underserved sector of the retail market. Flynn began a “grassroots” marketing strategy, targeting local supermarkets with food sample demonstrations. The barbeque sauce sold more than 3,000 cases (36,000 bottles) the first weekend, and the stores actually ran out of inventory. The two Muschup varieties were also demonstrated but did not fare as well. In the following months and years, KC Masterpiece sales grew exponentially.