History

McIlhenny Company’s TABASCO® brand Original Red Sauce has a history that you don't see too often these days . . . we've been making it the same way for over 140 years. In fact, we still make all our pepper sauces in the same place: beautiful Avery Island, Louisiana.

Avery Island is inhabited by exotic plant and animal species from throughout the world.

McIlhenny Company's roots were started when, according to family tradition, founder Edmund McIlhenny obtained some hot pepper seeds from a traveler who had recently arrived in Louisiana from Central America. McIlhenny planted them on Avery Island, and then experimented with pepper sauces until he hit upon the one he liked.

Hot peppers are carefully picked by hand as soon as they ripen to bright red.

Tradition holds that McIlhenny first used discarded cologne bottles topped with sprinkler fitments, important since his pepper sauce was concentrated and was best used when sprinkled, not poured. The ever-inventive McIlhenny washed the used bottles thoroughly, and made up labels himself. Sales grew, and by the late 1870's he even sold his sauce in England.

In 1870, Edmund McIlhenny received a patent for his unique formula for processing peppers into a fiery red sauce and that same process is still in use today. TABASCO® brand Original Red Sauce is the only pepper sauce that is aged for up to three years in white oak barrels, hence its unique concentration and flavor. Avery Island remains the headquarters for the worldwide company which is still owned and operated by direct descendants of Edmund McIlhenny.

Edmund McIlhenny's spirit of inventiveness combined with our respect for tradition have made TABASCO® brand Pepper Sauces beloved by food-lovers the world over.