Tabasco is a household name. I do not know of any other hot sauce that is as well known as Tabasco. It is available anywhere in the US and many parts around the world. Now you would think in my pursuit of local products, Tabasco would be one of the last products I’d seek out. While Tabasco is one of the most mass-produced hot sauces on the market, it has very local roots. These roots are also deep and date back to 1868.
The reason Avery Island is a good place for making hot sauce is its salt domes. Salt is a main ingredient. Another main ingredient is tabasco peppers.
Being literally on an island, the McIlhenny Company has learned to be self-sufficient. Prior to demand exploding, all the peppers were grown on the island. The peppers are still all seeded on the island, but the seed stock is sent to other areas to be grown. All the actual hot sauce is still made on Avery Island. Additionally, they have even created a company town where some of the employees still live.
The cool thing is you are allowed to take a self-guided tour of the plant. There are areas where they show the peppers being grown. You also get to see the barrels where the pepper mash is sitting, as well as the bottling operation.
The following are a bunch of pictures I took while doing the self-guided tour of the Tabasco plant. My pictures will take you first to the greenhouse. Next will be the barrel shop and warehouse. After that is blending and then the museum, rock salt mine, and bottling. Finally, I’ll be back in the store checking out the products for sale. It was really cool getting to see all of it!
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