Alpha Upsilon brother Lawrence Wu uses Kickstarter to produce hot sauce

Lawrence Wu, Alpha Upsilon Chapter (Drexel), holds a bottle of his WUJU hot sauce on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Wu, 24, used Kickstarter to launch a successful crowdfunding campaign to produce the hot sauce. Aaron Windhorst | Philadelphia Daily

American hot-sauce sales now top $600 million annually, with the potential to crack $1 billion in the next four years, according to figures cited by Reuters earlier this year. Take it as a sign that our tastes and eating habits, as a nation, are de-wussifying at a fiery clip. (Happy, Ed Rendell?)

And they’re going global, too. Don’t tell Donald Trump, who apparently eats his steaks well-done, but this chili-laden uptick might have something to do with America’s burgeoning immigrant populations. In a 2014 analysis, consumer-research firm Euromonitor International drew parallels between increasing numbers of Asians and Latinos and the growing popularity of spicier fare, sauces included. All told, it’s a prime, if crowded, time to break into the market.

That’s what Lawrence Wu, Alpha Upsilon Chapter (Drexel), is trying to do. This past summer, the Drexel grad ditched a job in pharmaceuticals to bear down full-time on Wuju, a different kind of hot sauce he hopes will catch on in Philly and beyond.

In the family

Wu, 24, has a story that will sound familiar to many first-generation American kids. He grew up in Bernardsville, in North Jersey, the son of Taiwanese immigrants who run a small chain of restaurants called Asian Delite. They worked (and still work) very hard but took an unmistakable stance when it came to looping their kid into the family business. “My parents were pretty particular about me not being so involved,” said Wu, who was encouraged to focus on his studies and extracurriculars (he’s a classically trained cellist) instead.

Read Full Article