Griffin Hammond - a YouTube personality - loved Sriracha so much, he raised over $20,000 on Kickstarter (exceeding his $5,000 goal by 400%) to make a documentary about it. The documentary went on to win “Best Short Film” awards at multiple film festivals and includes a super-cheesy ‘Sriracha Anthem’.
3. Transparent, with a pinch of cheeky
Shortly after shifting to a bigger factory in Irwindale, California, Huy Fong was sued over concerns that fumes from grinding fresh chili peppers caused odors and eye-watering airborne irritants. That led to significant press coverage and some serious concern about the fate of Sriracha. To cope with the panic and the litigation, in February 2014 Huy Fong made an effort to kick off a culture of transparency, starting with offering public open houses at its 650,000-square-foot Sriracha plant. This meant even more (postitive) publicity for the brand, increasing sales.
“We started them initially because we wished to have the visitors judge for themselves whether we were a public nuisance or not,” says Donna Lam, executive operations officer for Huy Fong. “We read a post online that it was harder to get into our Rosemead plant than into the Pentagon.” The open houses caused a huge shift in the apparent public perception of secrecy behind the product.
Visitors get a walk through the factory, a taste of special Sriracha treats, temporary tattoos, a free T-shirt and an appearance by David Tran. It’s become a bit of a tourist attraction!
In 2014 revenue was close to $60 million on more than 20 million bottles sold. The company has 90 full-time employees and adds 70 to 100 seasonal workers after Labor Day, when California chilies are ready to harvest. Tran is proud that his sauce is made in America from locally grown ingredients.
No other country would accept him when he was fleeing Vietnam, he says, and he sees Huy Fong and its success as his way to pay back that debt to the U.S.
Sriracha - the best hot sauce in the world