Texas Pete Facing Lawsuit Because It’s Made in North Carolina, Not Texas

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo credit: BWFolsom via Getty Images)

What do you reach for when you’re looking to top your Tex-Mex dinner with the perfect hot sauce? Well, if you’re looking for the authentic taste of the Lone Star State you should probably steer clear of one brand. The makers of Texas Pete are currently facing a class action lawsuit after one consumer discovered that they make the sauce in North Carolina.

According to My Fox 8, a Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Fox affiliate, Phillip White filed a class action lawsuit against the makers of Texas Pete. White’s complaint alleges that T.W. Garner Food Co. engaged in false advertising when they named their sauce and designed its label.

The Texas Pete Lawsuit

White’s lawsuit explains that he bought a $3 bottle of Texas Pete at a Ralph’s in Los Angeles, California. Then, after reading the fine print on the bottle, White learned that the sauce is made in North Carolina. “White relied upon the language and images displayed on the front label of the product,” his complaint reads. It went on to say that he understood the sauce to be a “Texas product.”

The lawsuit does state facts, Texas Pete looks like it was made in Texas. “The famed white ‘lone’ star from the Texas flag together with a ‘lassoing’ cowboy,” seems distinctly Texan, as the suit states. “There is surprisingly nothing Texas about them,” White states in the complaint.

Texas Pete, like many of its competitors, is a Louisiana-style hot sauce. Those sauces are made from a fermented mixture of vinegar, peppers, and salt. My Fox 8 states that a “Texas-style” hot sauce doesn’t exist. However, there are hot sauces made in Texas with locally-sourced ingredients and flavor profiles fitting the region. White’s lawsuit states that Texas Pete’s manufacturers get their ingredients “outside of Texas.”

Why Call It Texas Pete?

One strike against White’s lawsuit is that Texas Pete’s manufacturers don’t try to hide the origin of the sauce. It’s all right there on the hot sauce’s website.

Sam Garner and his three sons started making the sauce in 1929. After they had a recipe, they started working on naming it. A marketing advisor suggested that they call it Mexican Joe. The site notes that he wanted to “connote the piquant flavor reminiscent of the favorite foods of our neighbors to the south.” However, Garner refused. “Nope! It’s got to have an American name,” exclaimed Garner.

So, Garner decided to move things north of the border and landed on Texas. He wanted to reflect the rugged independence associated with the state and its love for spicy food. Then, he looked to his son Harold who everyone called Pete. Then, the lightbulb came on and Texas Pete sprang into existence.