Fast-forward 20 years to 2003. Huy Fong's Sriracha has had modest but steady success -- it's now being sold in Walmart, and P.F. Chang's is putting it in many of its dishes, but it was still very much in the background.
Then came the foodie revolution.
It's sometimes hard to remember that foodie culture as we know it -- the fetishization of chefs and certain ingredients or dishes -- wasn’t really a thing until the mid-aughts, helped along by new kinds of food television (Iron Chef, Top Chef, No Reservations), the rise of social media, foodie media (Chowhound, Eater, yours truly, various food subreddits, etc.), and the simultaneous ascent and shift in hipster culture away from its original rebirth as a sort of ironic white-trash movement (PBR, pre-investor Kelso from That '70s Show) and toward a culture of artisanal, obscure, and occasionally challenging food products. And one of these products was hot sauce.
According to a Quartz chart compiled by Euromonitor, between 2000 and 2013, the US hot sauce market grew 150% more than "that of BBQ sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard -- combined." IBISWorld says the market now has billion-dollar revenues. And it doesn't show signs of stopping. "I don't see it slowing down," says Bonnie Riggs, a restaurant industry analyst for NPD. She pointed to several factors: "Multicultural changes in America, millennials constantly seeking out different tastes and flavors, even the boomers, as they get older they lose taste buds, so they want more pungent flavors."