Remember the Sriracha Shortage of 2014? Were you unashamedly loading up your shopping cart at Longs with the green-capped bottles of goodness, fearing your days of topping everything from eggs to grilled chicken to noodles were about to go up in non-spicy flames? Srirachapocalypse may have been averted, but the rooster is in the news again.
Try walking down the Asian food aisle at your grocery store. Kikkoman. Heinz. Frank’s Red Hot. Every sauce maker has a bottle on the shelf. Heck, even Trader Joe’s is jumping on the Sriracha train. Why? Because consumers have spoken and thrown money at anything Sriracha. Oh, and then there’s this: Unlike most entrepreneurs out there, David Tran, creator of the official “rooster” Sriracha, never sought a trademark on the name – only the logo and packaging. Now, 35 years after his humble beginnings-turned chili magnate in L.A.’s Chinatown, every sauce maker – including America’s spicy sweetheart, Tabasco – can use the name slapped on an imitation recipe without fine, lawsuit, or royalty. Interestingly, Tran says he was discouraged from trying to trademark “Sriracha” due to challenges of approval for names of actual cities (it’s on the coast of Thailand). Did he know that Tabasco is a state in Mexico? Ah - that’s another story.