TABASCO® Sauce and Avery Island – Episode #87
Ripe Tabasco peppers.
Ripe Tabasco peppers. Photo courtesy of Hunter PR and the McIlhenny Company.

TABASCO® Sauce and Avery Island

You probably have a bottle of TABASCO® Sauce on your counter or in your pantry right now, but do you know the story behind the brand? Did you know the McIlhenny Company is 151 years old, or that every bottle of TABASCO® is made on a small island in Louisiana?

Today, we go way beyond Bourbon Street to bring you the story of TABASCO® Sauce. To do that, we traveled out to Avery Island, located in the heart of Acadiana, about 130 miles west of New Orleans.

Join me as I talk with TABASCO® historian and archivist, Mr. Shane Bernard. Shane shares the story of the beginnings of this 151 year old company, as well as the story of Avery Island.

Next up, I spoke with Mr. John Simmons. John is a descendent of Edmund McIlhenny, the creator of TABASCO® Sauce, and one of four family members who works in the business today. John shares his perspective on the family business, and tells us about the more recent history of the TABASCO® brand.

By the end of this episode, you’ll be planning your own visit to Avery Island to explore the jungle gardens and tour the TABASCO® factory for yourself!

Plan Your Visit to Avery Island

Avery Island is about a 1.5-2 hour drive from New Orleans along Highway 90. You can do it as a long day trip if you start early. If you want to make it an overnight trip, consider spending a night in Lafayette, about another 20 minutes up the road.

Insider tip: Be sure to allow plenty of time to explore Jungle Gardens as well as to take the factory tour.

Live Oaks in Jungle Gardens, Avery Island. Photo courtesy of Hunter PR and McIlhenny Company.

For the information about visiting Avery Island, check out the TABASCO®website.

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Thank You

Thanks to Shane Bernard and John Simmons for taking the time to share the story of Avery Island and TABASCO® Sauce. Be sure to check out Shane’s books about TABASCO®, Bayou Teche, and more over at

A special thanks to Jennifer Mestayer of Hunter PR for setting this interview up on short notice.

Thanks also to Joe Sweeny for connecting me to Christy Brown, Chairman of the Board of Directors of McIlhenny Company.

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