People Are Just Learning Where The 'HP' In HP Sauce Comes From

Bacon sandwich with HP Sauce
Wikimedia Commons | Kolforn

We're surrounded by familiar brands, with iconography we know well, while being totally unfamiliar with their origin stories.

You may have eaten at A&W before, but do you know what A&W stands for? How about HP Sauce? Sometimes, the meaning is crystal clear, but in other cases, it can become muddy.

This is all just a roundabout way of saying that the internet has finally figured out what the 'HP' in HP Sauce stands for — and it's blowing people's minds.

First, a primer.

A bottle of HP Sauce
Wikimedia Commons | ChrisDC62

Your familiarity with HP Sauce will likely depend on which side of the Atlantic you're on. The brown sauce is a mainstay in its native United Kingdom. It isn't as well known in North America, but it can still be found in virtually every grocery store.

It's salty, sweet and savory.

Bacon sandwich with HP Sauce
Wikimedia Commons | Kolforn

The sauce owes its distinctive tanginess to the presence of tomatoes and tamarind extract in its ingredient list. It's kind of like sriracha, in that you can put it on virtually anything — from sandwiches to scrambled eggs to soups and stews.

The sauce was first introduced in 1895.

HP Sauce sign
Wikimedia Commons | Elliott Brown

HP Sauce was first found on store shelves 127 years ago and grew in popularity over the decades, leading up to a takeover by food giant Heinz in 2005.

How do you name a sauce?

Assorted condiments on a table
Wikimedia Commons | James Petts

HP Sauce belongs to a larger category of sauces, known in the U.K. as 'brown sauce.' But right from the start, HP has stood out with its name. What's it stand for? If you look closely at the label, you should be able to figure it out.

Redditors have cracked the code.

A bottle of HP Sauce
reddit | Own_Ad_4301

It wasn't a big mystery, but judging from the comments on the r/CasualUK subreddit, it's clear that a lot of people had no idea that 'HP' stands for 'Houses of Parliament.' I mean, it has a big picture of the Palace of Westminster, which contains the Houses of Parliament, right on the label.

The label has always been pretty literal.

Houses of Parliament, London
Wikimedia Commons | Adrian Pingstone

It's almost akin to making something called 'USA Sauce' and putting a big map of the United States on the label. HP Sauce has never attempted to hide the meaning of its abbreviation — it's right at the top of the Wikipedia page.

Here's an HP Sauce Easter egg.

Bottle of HP Sauce showing scaffolding around Big Ben
reddit | DarkBahamut94

Big Ben is visible on the HP Sauce label, as it sits in the same location as the Houses of Parliament. Because Big Ben is undergoing extensive renovations in real life, the HP Sauce label now depicts the clocktower clad in scaffolding.

HP Sauce is a little less British than it once was.

HP Sauce factory in the U.K.
Wikimedia Commons | Carl Baker

While the sauce is a U.K. icon, Heinz actually stopped producing it in the United Kingdom back in 2006. The factory in Aston in Birmingham was shuttered and a new facility in the Netherlands was opened, leading to an outcry.

Did you know what HP stood for?

Houses of Parliament, London
Wikimedia Commons | The wub

There are three types of people in the world: those who know what HP Sauce is and know what HP stands for, those who know what HP Sauce is but don't know what HP stands for, and those who have never heard of HP Sauce in their lives.

Which group do you fit into? Let us know what you think of this story in the comments!