Vernon-based Tapatio remains a family-run business as it marks 50th anniversary

VERNON, Calif. (KABC) — Whether you add it to chicharrones, popcorn or a michelada, Tapatio is a household name in many Latino homes.

Decades after being founded in Maywood, the company that produces the popular hot-sauce remains a family-run business as it celebrates its 50-year anniversary.

“It was actually my mom’s initial recipe,” Luis Saavedra, vice president of Tapatio Foods, said in an interview with ABC7. “And my father would take it to work every day and his co-workers loved the hot sauce. And then after the plant closed, where he worked at, he decided to open up the business and start selling it in the local area, the East Los Angeles area.”

Saavedra said his father founded the small family business in Maywood in 1971 and started with a 5-ounce bottle.

“When my father started the company and he launched the product, it was mainly for Hispanics. It was something to give the flavor of home to their meals,” Saavedra said. “And then, little by little, the product started growing.”

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Fast-forward 50 years, the company’s headquarters are now located in Vernon, producing about 200,000 bottles of Tapatio a day and exporting globally to about 30 countries.

Tapatio has also partnered with major brand names and expanded its product line.

“But then the military started requesting product,” Saavedra said. “And our servicemen overseas loved Tapatio. So we came up with the little packets.”

Tapatio pays homage to their home state of Jalisco, Mexico. The natives are called tapatios. For the 50th anniversary, the company is launching special products that will be sold online and plan to host community events to celebrate.

“I think one of the biggest accomplishments is that we’re celebrating 50 years,” Saavedra said, “and we’re still a family-run business.”

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