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Sriracha chill sauce finds new home in Irwindale

City News Service | 7/29/2013, 1:08 p.m.

A famous Southland hot sauce will have new digs in Irwindale this summer, when a new $40 million, 650,000-square foot factory for Sriracha chill sauce should be ready to bottle the fiery extract, it was reported.

Sriracha, a Thai-style fresh chili hot sauce, is sold in distinctive plastic bottles with a rooster trademark. It has become a staple on L.A.-area food trucks, at pho shops and fancy restaurants, and at taco stands.

It is also sold in grocery stores across California and in Mexico — not bad for a refugee who started bottling it by hand in baby food jars in Vietnam.

David Tran, the founder of Huy Fong Foods, started his three-alarm Sriracha empire a few months after immigrating from Vietnam as a refugee in 1979. He found a farm near Moorpark to grow a special variety of chilis, and grinds them quickly after their annual August harvest, the Pasadena Star-News reported.

His new factory in Irwindale produced its first batch of Sriracha sauce last year, but he had to truck the bulk product back to Rosemead for bottling, the newspaper reported. But the new bottling line is now ready in Irwindale.

“Every year we increase business by 20 percent, so in 2017 we will have no more room” in factory, Tran told the newspaper.

Tran founded his business in 1980 in Los Angeles’ Chinatown and moved to a factory in Rosemead six years later. Now he sells his sauce in every state of the nation and every continent in the world — with the newest customers in Libya, the newspaper reported.

The company has only three products, all of them red, hot and inside bottles with the distinctive rooster trademark.