It All Begins On Avery Island
TABASCO® Sauce is made from three natural ingredients: mashed tabasco peppers aged in white oak barrels, a small amount of salt and high quality vinegar.
The peppers used in producing TABASCO® Sauce are heirloom tabasco peppers that have been protected for nearly a century and a half by the McIlhenny family.
The peppers are planted in early spring and harvested from August through October on Avery Island, Louisiana*. It’s one of the most colourful times of the year as the pepper fields turn from a sea of green to a landscape peppered with rich, ripened red tabasco peppers.
During the harvest season, the peppers are picked by hand to ensure that only the finest peppers are selected. The harvested peppers are primarily used for seed stock. The seeds are so valuable that they are stored in a locked vault on Avery Island.
Where Bold Flavours Mature
The day the peppers are picked, they are mashed with a small amount of salt. This mixture is called “new mash” and is sent back to where it all began on Avery Island.
The new mash is enclosed inside the barrels, a thick layer of salt is added on top of the barrel lid to make an air tight seal. This keeps out any oxygen. (New mash is up to 10x times hotter than the final sauce.)
The McIlhenny Company ages its tabasco pepper mash in white oak barrels for up to three years. We are the only pepper sauce company to age its mash for this length of time.
The aging process is what makes TABASCO® Sauce so unique for its influence on the flavour. The flavours evolve and mature as the tabasco pepper mash ages, giving TABASCO® Sauce its signature flavour.
Each batch of tabasco pepper mash is inspected by a McIlhenny family member before becoming TABASCO® Sauce.
To Create A Pepper Sauce Like No Other
Once approved, the mash is mixed with vinegar for 28 days, then strained, removing the seeds, skin and pulp.
The result is a pepper sauce that awakens and enlivens the flavours of foods, never masking them.
It is then bottled and shipped to more than 185 countries and territories around the world and labelled in 22 different languages and dialects.
A Family Tradition
Founder, McIlhenny Company
Edmund McIlhenny is the founder of McIlhenny Company. He developed the recipe for TABASCO® Original Red Pepper Sauce that is still used today.
After years of experimenting with red peppers, vinegar and salt from his wife’s ancestral home on Avery Island, Edmund grew his first commercial crop of tabasco peppers in 1868. The next year he sent out 658 bottles of sauce with hand applied labels and a green wax seal to grocers around the Gulf Coast, particularly in New Orleans. It was at that time that the legacy of a nearly 150-year-old family-owned business was born.
Anthony Avery Simmons
President and Chief Executive Officer, McIlhenny Company
Anthony Avery (Tony) Simmons is the great-great-grandson of Edmund McIlhenny. He is a member of the fifth generation of the McIlhenny family involved in the production of TABASCO® Brand products and the seventh family member to assume company leadership.
Harold G. Osborn, III
Senior Vice President, McIlhenny Company
Harold G. Osborn, III represents the fifth generation of the McIlhenny family involved in the production of TABASCO® Brand products and he lives and breathes the brand.
Mr. Osborn is responsible for international sales and the TABASCO® Brand’s ever-growing presence around the globe. He manages the making of the sauces, new product development and sustainability efforts.
- 1868Edmund McIlhenny grows his first commercial crop of tabasco peppers.
- 1869The first TABASCO® Sauce is produced and the iconic bottle design is born. McIlhenny sells 658 bottles of TABASCO® Sauce in distinctive narrow-necked glass bottles fitted with a useful sprinkler fitment and sealed with green wax.
- 1900The bottle serves as the centrepiece of a 25-second silent movie, Aunt Jane’s Experience with TABASCO® Sauce.
- 1946TABASCO® Sauce begins its marriage with the Bloody Mary. A newspaper mentions the earliest known use of TABASCO® Sauce in Bloody Mary’s.
- 1949International expansion begins as Walter Stauffer McIlhenny takes the helm and expands sales to over 100 countries.
- 1970sNASA astronauts aboard the SkyLab space station use TABASCO® Sauce to improve the bland taste of their food.
- 1990sTABASCO® Green, Garlic and Habanero Sauces are born.
- 2000TABASCO® Brand serves up the world’s largest Bloody Mary. New Orleans serves thousands of Millennium revelers on New Year's Day.
- 2001TABASCO® Chipotle Sauce is born.
- 2006TABASCO® Sweet & Spicy Sauce is born.
- 2011TABASCO® pays homage to American flavours. TABASCO® Buffalo Style Sauce is born.
- 2015Grand opening of TABASCO® Brand 1868 restaurant on Avery Island.
- 2016Grand opening of TABASCO® Brand visitor center.
- 2018150th Anniversary of TABASCO® Sauce.