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Don’t mess with Texas (Pete)

Ohhh, the injustice, the HORROR of it all.

Texas Pete hot sauce facing lawsuit because it’s made in North Carolina, not Texas
According to the complaint, Philip White was at a Ralph’s in Los Angeles when he bought a $3 bottle of Texas Pete back in September 2021.

“White relied upon the language and images displayed on the front label of the Product, and at the time of purchase understood the Product to be a Texas product,” the complaint said.

The label includes “the famed white ‘lone’ star from the Texan flag together with a ‘lassoing’ cowboy,” images White’s complaint says are distinctly Texan.

To his shock, he later discovered that Texas Pete is not actually a product of Texas.

“There is surprisingly nothing Texas about them,” the complaint said.

“Surprisingly,” is it? Slight problem with that, asshole.

Big honking deal
Carolina Pete?

And there it is, right there on the fucking label on the bottle, from my own personal fridge to the dining room table: TW Garner Food Co, Winston-Salem, NC, a little burg just up the road about an hour north of CLT. Go fuck yourself silly, you greedy putz.

Texas Pete is what’s considered a standard Louisiana-style hot sauce. Lousiana-style hot sauces are defined by their ingredients, namely vinegar, chiles and salt, which are pureed and fermented. Tabasco and Frank’s Red Hot are both Lousiana-style hot sauces.

There’s no such thing as a Texas-style hot sauce, the complaint says. What makes a Texas hot sauce is ingredients from the Lone Star State with a uniquely Texan flavor profile. While the complaint doesn’t outline where Texas Pete gets its ingredients, it says that the ingredients come from “sources outside of Texas.”

Slight problem with that, too: having been a diehard Texas Pete man my whole life, I’ve had occasion to peruse that label a blue million times, and never yet have I seen any claim laid, by anybody, for The Pete (as some of us call it ’round these parts) being a “Texas-style” hot sauce, or to use ingredients exclusively sourced from the Republic of Texas, or to have anything to do with Texas at all, other than the brand name. NEVER. Even the Texas Pete website makes no such claim. In fact:

The hot sauce brand’s website highlights a Dec. 5, 2013 article from the Triad Business Journal, pulling out the sentence “With a name like Texas Pete, one would think the famed hot sauce is manufactured somewhere in the Lone Star state …”

But Texas Pete addresses this question upfront and does not shy away from its Carolina roots.

“‘So how is it that a tasty red pepper sauce made in North Carolina happens to be named ‘Texas Pete’ anyway?’” the site says on its history page.

The brand’s answer cites “legend.” According to Texas Pete, Sam Garner and his sons, Thad, Ralph and Harold, were trying to come up with a name for their hot sauce when they turned to their marketing advisor. The advisor recommended “‘Mexican Joe’ to connote the piquant flavor reminiscent of the favorite food of our neighbors to the south.

“‘Nope!’ said the patriarch of the Garner family. ‘It’s got to have an American name!’ Sam suggested they move across the border to Texas, which also had a reputation for spicy cuisine. Then he glanced at son Harold whose, nickname was ‘Pete’ and the Texas Pete cowboy was born.”

Makes perfect sense to me. But then, ’round these parts, us Texas Pete devotees are content to just splash that wonderful elixir on everything imaginable and then chow down. Personally, I find the origin story of the Texas Pete name kinda charming, actually. None of which matters in the least; Garner being so upfront and honest about what it is and where it comes from, there is just no good legal case to be made against them here, whatever they may choose to call their fine product. Naturally, the money-grubbing LA ass-licker already anticipated the potential of simple historical fact to demolish his feeble extortion attempt, leading to a try at sidetracking Texas Pete’s ironclad case for plain old common sense.

T.W. Garner Food Co.’s history of Texas Pete explicitly says that idea was meant to evoke Texas’s reputation.

“In revealing the thought process behind its brand name, [T.W. Garner Food Co.] admits that Texas’s reputation was one they were trying to mimic and capitalize on when creating their brand,” the complaint said.

Which, I remind one and all, is neither illegal, dishonest, nor in any way objectionable to any reasonable person. Which, clearly, this suit-happy deer-tick is NOT.

The complaint accuses Texas Pete of concocting a “false marketing and labeling scheme specifically because it knows the state of Texas enjoys a certain mysticism and appeal in the consumer marketplace and is known for its quality cuisine, spicy food and hot sauce in particular.”

White himself says, had he known Texas Pete wasn’t made in Texas, he wouldn’t have bought the hot sauce or would have at least paid less for it.

Which confirms that you’re a damned fool, that’s all.

“By representing that its Texas Pete brand hot sauce products are Texas products, when they are not,

Which they have in no wise done, chowderhead, neither explicitly nor implicitly. Next comes the reveal of the real motivation for this naked cash-grab, which I’ll put in bold so’s nobody misses it.

[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.

What bloodsucking nuisance wouldn’t want to glom a chunk of gelt from the company sitting atop a $3b industry?

The complaint argues that the Texas branding ultimately hurts smaller companies in Texas that are trying to capitalize on the authenticity of their Texas hot sauce.

Uh huh, right. What a swell, selfless guy, troubling himself in defense of The Little Guy.

White’s complaint, filed on behalf of all people in the U.S. who have purchased Texas Pete, asks the court to force Texas Pete to change its name and branding and to pay up.

Leave me out of your bullshit, pal. But since you’re being so handy with the suggestions for others, here’s a special one from me to you: go take a flying fuck at a plate glass window, asshole-eyes.

SO. In sum: Garner Foods, which has done whatever objectionable, either ethically or as a matter of black-letter law, will nonetheless be forced to waste time, money, and effort defending itself from charges of wrongdoing so patently spurious their lack of any merit can actually be seen from orbit. The lust for personal financial gain not as a reward for honest work, creative inspiration, or providing discernible value but from manipulative lawsuits is a direct consequence of what has correctly been called overlawyering. In modern America, this development has become pervasive, to the detriment of damned near everybody and everything. If there ever has been a better argument for comprehensive tort reform, I have yet to see it.


4 thoughts on “Don’t mess with Texas (Pete)

  1. I’ll just go ahead and say it one more time:

    Some people just need to die.

    Texas Pete is great stuff and everyone but morons can read right on the label where it is made. If that suit doesn’t get tossed we’ll know the judge is corrupt.

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