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Sriracha fans worry as shipments put on hold, but get movie in return

Heather Alexande, Houston Chronicle
Updated 3:42 pm, Thursday, December 12, 2013

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  • The Sriracha factory makes 3,000 bottles an hour 24 hours a day, 6 days a week.  That's 70,000 a week and they've just moved to a factory 2.5 times bigger. Photo: Nick Ut, Associated Press
    The Sriracha factory makes 3,000 bottles an hour 24 hours a day, 6 days a week.  That's 70,000 a week and they've just moved to a factory 2.5 times bigger.
    Photo: Nick Ut, Associated Press

 

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The heat just got turned up for hot sauce fans everywhere as Sriracha's owner was forced to put a hold on new shipments of the famous sauce. The news comes just as Sriracha the Movie is released. 

It's the second round of bad luck for the legendary sauce producer after residents in Rosemead, Calif., where it's made, decided to sue over bad smells coming from the factory.

Health department officials are enforcing stricter guidelines that require a 30-day hold on the product, which means the next shipment won't go out until mid-January.

This is raising fears that supplies may run short in Houston restaurants.

"I am concerned," said Ben Thach from Kim Son Vietnamese restaurant on Jefferson. Customers there go through close to 100 bottles of Sriracha a week. "People will be crushed, it's our most-used condiment." 

The Sriracha movie released this week comes from hot-sauce fanatic Griffin Hammond, who got funding from fans through Kickstarter and secured exclusive access to the factory. He even traveled to the actual city of Sri Racha in Thailand, where the sauce gets its name.

"Almost everyone loves my product. I feel very proud," Sriracha creator David Tran says in the movie. He often eats his product totally unnoticed in restaurants around Los Angeles.  He said he'll continue to make his product until people don't like it anymore.

Sriracha does have some doubters among the hot sauce aficianados of Houston. Bellaire hot sauce store iBurn says they don't stock it because they don't agree with some of the additives it includes. 

But its loyal following remains.

As Thach puts it, "It's the taste. Has vinegar and chilli, it gives you a zing!"