TABASCO® brand products are made by McIlhenny Company, founded by Edmund McIlhenny in 1868 on Avery Island, Louisiana. It was here that he developed the recipe for TABASCO® Original Red Pepper Sauce that's been passed down from generation to generation. To this day, the company is still family-owned and -operated on that very same island.
McIlhenny grew his first commercial pepper crop in 1868. The next year, he sent out 658 bottles of sauce at one dollar apiece wholesale to grocers around the Gulf Coast, particularly in New Orleans. He labeled it “Tabasco,” a word of Mexican Indian origin believed to mean “place where the soil is humid” or “place of the coral or oyster shell.” McIlhenny secured a patent in 1870, and TABASCO® Sauce began its journey to set the culinary world on fire. Sales grew, and by the late 1870s, he sold his sauce throughout the U.S. and even in Europe.
McIlhenny packaged the sauce in small cologne-type bottles with sprinkler fitments, which he then corked and sealed in green wax. The sprinkler fitment was important because his pepper sauce was concentrated and best used when sprinkled, not poured. Though we no longer seal our bottles with wax, the sauce inside is every bit as pungent as the one McIlhenny first bottled back in 1868.