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Blakeview: Tabasco's 150th anniversary

Edmund McIlhenny sent out 658 bottles from Avery Island in 1869

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This year marks the 150th anniversary of a Louisiana product that is known around the world: Tabasco. The pepper sauce is bottled in nearly a dozen flavors, labeled in 22 languages and sold in more than 185 countries and territories around the world. It is produced in much the same way it was in 1868 by founder Edmund McIlhenny. According to the company, McIlhenny first acquired seeds of the Capsicum frutescens pepper from Mexico or Central America. He began growing his own peppers on Avery Island near New Iberia, and in 1869 sent out 658 bottles of his sauce to grocers along the Gulf Coast. The name he gave it was of Mexican origin, believed to mean "place where the soil is humid" or "place of the coral or oyster shell." McIlhenny patented the sauce in 1870 and sales began to pick up. The family-owned company proudly proclaims the sauce is still made with just three ingredients: peppers (aged for three years in white oak barrels), salt and vinegar.

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