Hot sauce is a big industry in the United States. It used to be that ketchup is the number one condiment in America. However, in 1992, salsa was able to steal its top spot and became the ultimate American condiment of choice. Its success can be attributed to the Austin Chronicle’s Hot Sauce Festival, which became a very effective launching pad of many hot sauce products.
The Austin Chronicle conducted the first Hot Sauce Festival in Austin, Texas in 1990. It only began as a friendly competition between Austin and San Antonio. Unexpectedly, the festival became a total success. Since its making two decades ago, it became one of the respected and largest hot sauce festivals in the whole world. Such event can draw as many as 15,000 crowds and 350 participating entries.
Many people come to participate into this competition. This is because early winners of the show go onto commercial success. The hot sauce contest in the festival has three levels of competition. These include the individual, restaurant and commercial bottler categories. The individual and the restaurants compete in the red, green and special variety. Commercial bottlers, on the other hand, compete in the red, green, special variety and the pepper sauce.
Popular features of the Hot Sauce Festival include the giant tasting tent full of tasty sauces for free and the hot sauce cooking demonstrations conducted by renowned chefs. Admission is free but anyone who comes is encouraged to bring 3 non-perishable food items to be donated to the Capital Area Food Bank. The festival is commonly held in the Waterloo Park.