I felt like I knew this some years ago when I stumbled upon an all hot sauce store in Los Angeles, selling nothing but little 4-oz glass bottles of hot sauce, but the sale and marketing of hot sauce is exceptionally trendy (or hot) right now. Of all the growing industries in the United States right now, hot sauce production is right up there with for-profit universities and generic pharmaceuticals according to IBIS World’s List of the 10 Fastest Growing Industries in America. While starting up your own university and manufacturing cut-rate pharmaceuticals can be fun, it’s not really something you would want to do from the comfort of your own garage. So hot sauce seems like a natural culinary gold mine for those with a sacred family recipe and a high tolerance for itchy eyes.
Reporter Matthew Yglesias commented on the finding saying, “Hot sauce is, obviously, the future of the American economy. That’s because capsaicin, the molecule that makes hot sauce so ‘hot,’ is basically like heroin.” The presumption is that people who eat a great deal of spicy capsaicin-rich foods (like hot sauce) eventually build up a tolerance to its more fiery properties. And as everyone knows, a small shock of spice on the tongue excites the nervous system into producing endorphins, which promote a general sense of well being, especially when washed down with a cold beer.
You don’t have to go far to see the mind-numbing variety of hot sauces available. Many supermarkets are well stocked in national (and sometimes local) brands of hot sauce in every stripe. Or if you are disinclined to leave your house, there are countless e-commerce websites that peddle in the hot stuff. And for the truly intrepid, you could just make your own and join the ranks of hot sauce entrepreneurs.
Is hot sauce an essential in your life? Do you have a favorite brand/flavor of hot sauce? The more elaborate the better, or do you favor the simplicity of something like Tabasco?