AVERY ISLAND – The Queen of England uses it, the White House has it on their tables and you probably have it in your kitchen.
Tabasco sauce is produced, packaged and shipped just 84 miles southwest of Baton Rouge. So we took a behind the scenes look at how the iconic hot sauce is “made in Louisiana.”
“No one else does what we do. They don’t age the barrels, take the care we take to make our product,” McIlhenny Company CEO Tony Simmons said.
It starts with a famous product, add a dash of the family that runs the business and add a sprinkle of the employees. That award-winning combination helps create the world famous “Tabasco Pepper Sauce.”
“We are very fortunate that we have a large number that are multi-generational,” Simmons said. “They’ve been with us, their parents were with us, the grandparents were with us. There’s brothers and cousins, and sisters who work for us. So we have a very stable workforce, so we are very fortunate.”
Simmons proves that it’s all about family. He is the fifth generation CEO. The McIlhenny family has been making Tabasco pepper sauce on Avery Island since 1868.
First, they pick the best pepper seeds from 20 acres on Avery Island to be shipped abroad. The seeds are still handpicked and sent to farmers overseas to grow the peppers. The farmers then ship the grind back to Avery Island to be put into oak barrels.
After the mash sits in the massive warehouse for three years, then it’s approved to be mixed with vinegar. Trust me, those bins are something you don’t want to be close to.
Shortly after that, it is strained and bottled.
As the thousands of bottles are labeled, boxed and shipped to 187 countries, the family’s passion for giving the world a taste of Louisiana is shown in every bottle.