Last week, Huy Fong Foods Inc. released a public invitation inviting fans to tour their
Willy Wonka Sriracha Factory. Located in Irwindale, Calif., the 650,00 square-foot factory has finally opened it's doors to the masses.
Over the last few years, it's no secret that Sriracha gained a die-hard cult following (we even made a video admitting our own sordid love affair with the hot sauce) and the beloved hot sauce is now a household name. So, without further ado, we present to you the Sriracha Factory: where dreams are birthed into 17-oz bottles.
Rooster Sauce Command Center
Founded by David Tran, Huy Fong Foods got its name from the freighter that Tran left Vietnam on many years ago. Sriracha's signature rooster logo was also Tran's Zodiac sign, which he used to brand his product. While we got a little nervous as we approached the ominous building, it was good to see where our love for the rooster sauce really comes from. We could only blindly adore for so long.
Chili Pepper Slip n' Slide
The chilies are harvested when in season and loaded into this machine for thorough washing. Sadly, we missed harvest season by a few months, but we imagine it's like some sort of glorious slip n' slide for chilies only (boo).
It's a Grind(er)!
The peppers then go through a rigorous grinding process and water is added to the chili peppers. There definitely was a mild smell in this part of the tour, but honestly, it was delicious. Dunno why Irwindale would complain, the only tears I had were those of joy.
Vinegar and salt are also added to the ground chilies and mixed together thoroughly.
Like the vats from Breaking Bad, but a different kind of addicting.
The chilies are stored in these large blue containers until ready for production. Just before they're dispensed into the vats, garlic and sugar are added to the mix.
How many of these blue containers are on site? Think the ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Empty Bottles Go In ... Happiness Comes Out
To make the Sriracha bottles, a plastic tube is heated until it expands. It's like watching baby bottles of Sriracha in utero.
They then go through a carefully inspected conveyor belt. Whatever doesn't make the cut is probably sent to the island of misfit hot sauces.
The empty bottles go into a room where the red sauce is squirted lovingly inside and then topped with their signature green caps.
The bottles then exit the room through the conveyor and are ready to be boxed.
So ends the tour of the Huy Fong factory. Wait, did they make other sauces there? I forgot to check. At capacity, 12,000 bottles of Sriracha are produced in an hour. Which means up to 288,000 bottles a day can be produced if needed. Like I said, this is where dreams are made.