Irwindale’s Sriracha maker continues to pump its famous hot sauce with new tours and equipment after a temporary shut down.
By Tiffany Ujiiye, Assistant Editor
Huy Fong Foods, makers of the famous rooster printed Sriracha sauce, opened its doors to the public on Aug. 22 in Irwindale, Calif., after a temporary shut down in 2013 due to complaints about the chili odors coming from the plant.
The company’s shiny, new 650,000-square-foot factory offers free tours to give visitors a chance to view the plant’s production process. With its new equipment, Huy Fong Foods has now fully transitioned in response to a partial shutdown ordered by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert H. O’Brien due to complaints, claiming that the odors from the plant were a public nuisance and therefore needed attention.
During the temporary shutdown, Huy Fong Foods and its founder, David Tran, looked to move production to Texas this past May. Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Attorney General Greg Abbott sent representatives in hopes of wooing the Sriracha maker to the Dallas area.
Over the past several years, major businesses such as Toyota and CKE Restaurants — the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and other chains — have left California in search of lower tax rates and softer regulations. According to the Orange County Register, in 2011 alone, more than 254 California companies moved some or all of their offices out of state, 26% more than in previous years. Their departures, critical to the California economy, made leaving the Golden State for Huy Fong Foods tempting.
Afraid of losing another business, California Gov. Jerry Brown’s economic development team resampled and evaluated Irwindale’s air, finding no significant odorous problems. The results ended in peace, with Huy Fong Foods remaining in California, and the city lawsuit was dropped. The new factory still underwent major upgrades for its filtration systems, mitigating any future air-quality problems.
Now, guests can check out the entire sauce-making process from start to finish — from pepper grinding to bottling. In conjunction with the opening of this year’s pepper grinding season, the company recently celebrated the event by giving the first 200 guests of its company tour a gift bag filled with Sriracha-themed goodies ranging from T-shirts to underwear.
In addition to its free tours, Huy Fong Foods has added two new buses, each holding 14 guests, that take tour groups to the Rooster Room, where guests can buy all things Sriracha-related.
Tours are available between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Monday-Friday, and require a scheduled appointment. Visitors can call customer service at (626) 286-8328 for arrangements.
Originally published on September 5, 2014