The city of Irwindale, California, has dropped a yearlong legal battle it brought against Sriracha, the hot sauce maker whose beloved creation has caused pungent chili fumes to waft into the Irwindale air during chili-grinding season, which begins in August.
The suit threatened to push Sriracha out of a brand new 650,000-square-foot factory on the edge of town. That could have prevented Huy Fong Food, maker of Sriracha hot sauce, to meet global demand for the sauce, which has grown over the years. Sriracha hot sauce has become so popular that even Tabasco, maker of the most popular hot sauce in the U.S., is imitating it.
While the battle got a heated at times, the city didn't want to see a revenue and job booster like Huy Fong gone and Huy Fong didn't want to leave its new factory. The city's key demand was the installation of a new ventilation system that could prevent the chili fumes from entering the Irwindale air. David Tran, Sriracha founder, inventor and CEO, was able to meet that demand.
On Tuesday, he wooed Irwindale city officials with a tour of his state-of-the-art factory and its now state-of-the-art filter ventilation system. Tran is confident the new ventilation system will block the chili fumes from reaching Irwindale residents who claimed that the fumes were making their eyes burn.
While the city dropped the lawsuit, the ventilation system won’t be put to the true test until chili-grinding season starts. That's when the factory will start grinding 58,000 tons of peppers for the next four months.
“You need to have the chili grinding and then you know whether or not it's working or not,” said Tran to the Pasadena Star News. In a letter to the city council, Tran said if there was any issue, he would “solve it right away.”
City officials will visit the factory once more during chili-grinding season to make sure everything is up to par. Yet based on the reports that initiated this whole debacle, they’ll know whether fumes are in the air long before they step into Huy Fong Foods:
Why is Sriracha so good? Reactions on YouTube explore the science behind it: