A California Man Sued Texas Pete Hot Sauce Because It's Really Made In North Carolina

Oh my!

Texas Pete Hot Sauce
Photo: mphillips007/Getty

A California man had a rude awakening when he realized that his bottle of Texas Pete hot sauce was * gasp * not made in Texas, but rather comes from North Carolina. He was so bothered by this realization that he decided to sue.

Los Angeles resident Philip White doled out $3 for a bottle of one of our favorite hot sauces in 2021, believing it was made in the Lone Star State, USA Today reported. White reportedly saw the word "Texas" in the product name and the package label with its cowboy and what court documents describe as "a stereotypically white Texas 'lone star' reminiscent of the Texas state flag" and thought he was buying a Texas-made product. When he realized his mistake, he filed a class action suit claiming that Texas Pete's parent company T.W. Garner Food Co. "capitalize[s] on consumers' desire to partake in the culture and authentic cuisine of one of the most prideful states in America."

Texas Pete hot sauce was invented by a North Carolina man named Sam Garner way back in 1929. The Garner family had a little sauce empire going around Winston-Salem, including the barbecue sauce they used at the family restaurant, according to The Texas Pete website. They sold the sauce by traveling the back roads of North Carolina, building a solid fan base that has lasted for decades.

As for the name of the hot sauce, well, they knew they wanted an "American name", per the website, cowboys were very popular in pop culture at the time, and one of the Garner sons was nicknamed "Pete". Combine those and the Texas Pete cowboy was born. Little did they know that nearly a hundred years later that name would land in them in a lawsuit.

As reported by North Carolina news station WGHP-TV, in the suit White claims that he would never have bought the hot sauce if he had known it wasn't from Texas. "By representing that its Texas Pete brand hot sauce products are Texas products, when they are not [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 says. Now he wants Texas Pete to "change its name and brand and to pay up."

T.W. Garner Food Co. is expected to respond to the complaint by November 10.

We should note that on the back of the bottle it does state that the company is based in North Carolina.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles