TABASCO Country Store, Avery Island, Louisiana
TABASCO Country Store, Avery Island, Louisiana | Photo Credit: Flickr - Paul Arps

From imported pepper seeds to a world-famous brand, TABASCO has made its fame as an iconic hot sauce loved around the world. From its humble beginnings on Avery Island, the Louisiana company has opened its doors to visitors to explore how the sauce is made and even try some signature dishes at an onsite restaurant. Since the late 1860s, TABASCO has grown to be the most popular pepper sauce on Earth.

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Edmund McIlhenny loved gardening and cooking. He eventually wrote his own cookbook filled with favorite recipes he had accumulated over the years. In the post-Civil War years, McIlhenny got some Capsicum frutescens pepper seeds from Central America. He grew the seeds and discovered that the resulting peppers had great flavor. He ended up creating a bright red stick that matched the color of the perfect ripe peppers so he would know exactly when to pick them. From the peppers, he created his own hot sauce, which would go on to be the original TABASCO Sauce flavor.

TABASCO Pepper Sauce | Photo Credit: Wikimedia – Skb8721

In 1868, the first commercial crop of peppers were grown by McIlhenny and within a year, over 650 bottles of his tasty sauce were sold throughout the region, especially in New Orleans. These first bottles sold for $1 each, which gave McIlhenny a great start for building his hot sauce empire.

By 1870, the sauce was rapidly becoming a favorite throughout the south and by the end of the decade, the sauce was distributed across the United States and Europe.  McIlhenny began expanding his operation and was hiring employees to help grow and harvest the peppers to create the tasty sauce.

Over the years, the TABASCO Company just kept growing and growing. Today, the sauce is sent to 195 countries for a global distribution.

Fun Fact: The name TABASCO is believed to come from the Mexican Indian word “Place where soil is humid”, which surely matches the Louisiana environment.

Things to Do

Self-Guided Factory Tours

Embark on a self-guided tour into the TABASCO factory to learn all about the production of the iconic hot sauce. The tour includes several different stops including a museum, pepper greenhouse, barrel warehouse, blending room, salt mine experience, bottling line and other exhibits about how Avery Island and TABASCO grew into what it is today.

Pepper Garden at TABASCO Brand Factory Tours & Museum, Avery Island, Louisiana
Pepper Garden at TABASCO Brand Factory Tours & Museum, Avery Island, Louisiana | Photo Credit: Flickr – JoanDragonfly

Jungle Gardens

At the TABASCO attraction, visitors can also take a stroll through the beautiful Jungle Gardens. These gardens are filled with a variety of plant species that are from around the world. Take a stroll through the 170-acres of manicured landscape to enjoy the beauty of southern Louisiana.  

Country Store

There are nine different types of TABASCO hot sauces made today that can be purchased in the gift shop. Aside from sauce, visitors can find souvenirs, cookbooks, apparel and more to commemorate the trip to this unique attraction.

TABASCO Restaurant 1868

The restaurant onsite serves up some tasty Cajun inspired dishes that truly showcase the foods of southern Louisiana culture. One of the iconic dishes is their handmade boudin which is presented with a side of mouth-watering pepper jelly for dipping. If you like Bloody Mary drinks, there is a Bloody Mary Bar within the restaurant that offers a spin on the classic drink with the signature TABASCO sauce ingredient.

Plan Your Visit

The TABASCO brand is still owned and operated by the family of Edmund McIlhenny. The TABASCO Factory & Museum is located on Avery Island in Louisiana. For more information about hours and admission, click here.

Check out TABASCO brand’s official Amazon store for new flavors and merchandise here!

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