California Man Sues Hot Sauce Brand After Discovering It Isn't Made in Texas

The brand, Texas Pete, has recently landed in hot water.

Whether you're team Tapatio or team Cholula, or maybe you prefer Valentina over Frank's, almost everyone has a strong opinion on their hot sauce of choice. This, of course, can lead to heated debates and, in rare cases, legal action. Such is the case in California, where one resident purchased a hot sauce they were led to believe was manufactured in Texas.

When Los Angeles resident Philip White bought a bottle of Texas Pete at a Ralph’s supermarket in September 2021, he believed it was made in the Lone Star State. But White was sorely disappointed to learn that Texas Pete was actually manufactured in North Carolina, the LA Times reports.

In short, Texas Pete is just about as Texan as putting beans in your chili. And if you didn't already know, Texans don't put beans in their chili.

The complaint was filed by The Clarkson Law Firm on behalf of White on September 12 in Los Angeles federal court. The plaintiffs are asking the court to force T.W. Garner Food Co. to pay for damages and change its name in addition to its branding.

T.W. Garner Food Co. "has cheated its way to a market-leading position in the $3 billion hot-sauce industry at the expense of law-abiding competitors and consumers nationwide who desire authentic Texas hot sauce and reasonably, but incorrectly, believe that is what they are getting when they purchase Texas Pete," the complaint reads. Very spicy indeed.

According to Texas Pete's website, way back in 1929 a marketing advisor for the company had initially suggested the name “Mexican Joe” to salute the country's spicy cuisine. But, founder Sam Garner wasn't happy with that, “Nope!” Garner allegedly said at the time. “It's got to have an American name!”

You can, of course, be both Mexican and American, but I digress.

Garner founded the brand alongside his three sons, Thad, Ralph and Harold, the website notes. Legend has it that Garner glanced at his son Harold, whose nickname was “Pete” and thus, the name was born.

Attorneys for White allege that the product label is still misleading despite the company being transparent about its origin.

"There is nothing 'Texas' about Texas Pete,” wrote the plaintiff's attorneys. "On its website, Defendant readily admits having no connection to Texas, while it is decidedly not forthcoming about this on the products or elsewhere at the point of purchase."

Texas Pete's press representative did not immediately respond to request for comment.

The company has until November 10 to respond to the suit.

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Jeremy Porr is a News Writer at Thrillist. Follow Jeremy on Instagram.