Source: Our State

Texas Pete brand hot sauce was born out of the Great Depression. The Garner family traveled around North Carolina selling the sauce that one of the sons, Thad, purchased from the Dixie Pig barbecue joint, Our State reports. From a new space they purchased in 1934, the family continued making their signature hot sauce for area restaurants.

“My grandma made it on the stove in her kitchen,” says Ann Riddle. Riddle is the current president and CEO of Garner Foods. “In those days, there were people who said they should make this product hotter, and more spicy. And the family said, Well, instead of doing that, why don’t we just make another product?”

From that moment, Texas Pete as it’s currently known was created. The family decided on the name “Texas” because it channeled the spicy cuisine of the deep South and the name “Pete” because it was the nickname of Harold, one of the sons.

The original Texas Pete cowboy had a face modeled off an actor of the time who was famous in Westerns, but the current incarnation of the logo has been on the bottle since 1962. Apart from the “new” logo, the hot sauce has continued to be produced in Winston-Salem and the Garner Foods company is still owned by descendents of the original Garners. They’ve never considered leaving Winston-Salem.

“We live here,” Riddle says. “We grew up here. We wouldn’t go anywhere else.”

Read the full story on Texas Pete and their Winston-Salem ties from Our State.