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Tabasco Sauce

Tabasco Sauce

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Tabasco Sauce.
Tabasco Sauce.
Tabasco Sauce is a brand of hot sauce made from tabasco peppers, vinegar, and salt. It is produced by McIlhenny Company of Avery Island, Louisiana.

It was first produced commercially by Edmund McIlhenny in 1868. It's ironic that he didn't see this as a great accomplishment. Five generations latter it is still a family owned and run business. 
Tabasco Peppers.
Tabasco Peppers.
Originally the McIlhenny family grew all their peppers on the families land on Avery Island, Louisiana. Today the land is used to produce seeds. The food crops are produced from these seeds at foreign locations that typically have more predictable growing seasons.

Edmund McIlhenny initially used discarded cologne bottles obtained from a New Orleans glass manufacture. The iconic bottle people know today still reflects the cologne bottle shape. The diamond shaped label used today has changed very little from the original label. The biggest change is that the original cork stopper went away in favor of a plastic screw cap.  
A Paradise That Pays.
A Paradise That Pays.
Avery island and Tabasco sauce production. Runtime 4 minutes 37 seconds. 
The Origin Of Tabasco Sauce.
The Origin Of Tabasco Sauce.
Upon the death of Edmund his oldest living son, John Avery McIlhenny, stepped in to run the company. This however didn't last long. At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War John enlisted in the Army and fought along side Theodore Roosevelt and his "Rough Riders".

With his brother's departure Edward Avery McIlhenny took the lead in running the company. John returned to the family business at the close of the war. The brothers were quick to realize the potential of the company and worked hard to modernize and expand.

The Washington (D.C.) Times. Sunday, December 13, 1903. Page 4. 
The TABASCO® Trademark
The TABASCO® Trademark
In 1870 Edmund obtained a patent for his sauce. The protection granted the family ran out is 1887. Competitors were quick to pounce including an ex-McIlhenny Company employee, B.F. Trappey, who was making sauce with seeds he took from his employers.

in 1905, Congress passed the act providing for federal registration of trademarks. The McIlhennys were quick to jump on this and they were granted a trademark on the term Tabasco. Competitors cried foul and accused the McIlhennys of using John's friendship with Roosevelt to curry special treatment. In 1909 the government withdrew the trademark.

Many costly court battles later, on July 29, 1918, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined the McIlhenny Company had the exclusive right to sell pepper sauce with the mark “Tabasco.”

There is no rest though. The pepper sauce wars continue. In 1966 the McIlhenny Company was granted protection for the shape of their bottle and in 1991 after some interim owners they bought what was left of Trappey's company.

The New Iberia (Louisiana) enterprise and independent observer, September 13, 1913, page 6. 
The Charlie Ration Cookbook.
The Charlie Ration Cookbook.
Edmund's grandson, Walter Stauffer McIlhenny was the President of the McIlhenny Company, from 1949 to 1985. Having lived through C Rations in WWII he created a humorous booklet called; "The Charlie Ration Cookbook". It was sized to wrap around a bottle of Tabasco sauce and shipped in a waterproof tube. They sent over 200,000 of them to service men in Vietnam.

Beginning in the 1990's the United States military started including little glass bottles containing 1/8th ounce of the sauce in it's combat rations. In addition to the U.S.; Australian, British and Canadian armies have also issued small bottles of Tabasco sauce in their rations although in recent years have switched from glass bottles to restaurant style condiment packages.  
Tabasco Bloody Mary.
Tabasco Bloody Mary.
Edward McIlhenny 'Ned' Simmons took the lead from 1985 to 1998. Besides introducing Tabasco Bloody Mary mix he used new technology to improve production, packaging speeds as well as pepper production. This marked his tenure as one of solid, steady growth. 
Tony Soprano's Tabasco Shirt.
Tony Soprano's Tabasco Shirt.
Paul Carr Polk McIlhenny, Edmund's great grandson began working for the McIlhenny Company 1967. He served as president from 1998 to 2012. He expanded the business by championing the idea of selling Tabasco-branded items, such as T-shirts, watches, aprons, golf balls, salt shakers, and neckties. This puts Tabasco all over pop-culture. All you have to do is spot it. 
Tabasco Grand Opening.
Tabasco Grand Opening.
For Anthony "Tony" Simmons the great great grand son of Edmund McIlhenny, his first great accomplishment as CEO of the McIlhenny Company was making it there. It's rare for a family owned business to last three generations. Only three percent make it to the fourth generation. Tony is the fifth generation to lead the company.

One of his first moves was to open the business up like never before. Fans of Tabasco Sauce can now visit their museum, tour the manufacturing facilities and more. 
Tabasco Royal Warrant.
Tabasco Royal Warrant.
Tabasco sauce is everywhere! In 2009 they were one of a select few American companies given the right to display the seal of Royal Warrant signifying that they supply their product to the royal family of England. Tabasco sauce is served on Air Force One in special bottles sporting the Presidential Seal. It was used in space aboard Sky Lab and now aboard the International Space Station. 

Linked to Edmund McIlhenny (10407), Edward Avery McIlhenny (10409), John Avery McIlhenny (10408), Paul Carr Polk McIlhenny (10411), Walter Stauffer McIlhenny (10406), Harold Gray Osborn, III (10446), Anthony Avery Simmons (10444), Edward McIlhenny Simmons (10410)