Why I Loved the Tabasco Factory Tour on Avery Island

If you love hot sauce, a Tabasco Factory tour on Avery Island is a must!

It’s no secret that I LOVE spicy food. I’ve even participated in a hot sauce challenge at a hot sauce factory that required waivers to try a dab of “The Source” on a toothpick that’s 7.1 million Scoville units in Kansas City, KS.

So of course I wanted to visit the “Home of Tabasco” while I was in Louisiana.

You could easily spend the entire day there between the tour, the shops, dining, and the beautiful grounds.

historic Sign for Avery Island Louisiana

Who started the Tabasco Company?

The Tabasco Company was founded by Edmund McIhenny in 1868.

McIlhenny Family Tree

What’s incredible is that the McIhenny Company which owns Tabasco is still family-owned by the McIhenny family and operated at the original location on Avery Island.

Tabasco Factory Tour Avery Island Fan Experience

Take the Self-Guided Tour of the Tabasco Factory

During the self-guided tour, you’ll learn about the history of Tabasco sauce and the process of making Tabasco sauce.

You can take as long or as little as you want in each building since you aren’t required to have an official tour guide.

The Tabasco tour helps you learn how pepper sauce is created from seed to sauce.

Tabasco Factory self guided tour

What Does the Avery Island Fan Experience Include?

The Avery Island Fan Experience includes:

  • A self-guided tour of the TABASCO® Museum
  • Pepper Greenhouse
  • Barrel Warehouse
  • Avery Island Conservation
  • Salt Mine diorama
  • TABASCO Country Store®
  • TABASCO® Restaurant 1868!
  • The 170-acre natural beauty of Jungle Gardens

You get a mini bottle of Tabasco sauce as an added bonus with your tour.

There is a virtual tour online if you want to know what to expect before you go.

Avery Island Experience at Tabasco Factory

Tabasco Factory Tour Tickets

Reservations are recommended for The Avery Island Fan Experience.

It’s a short walk between the numbered buildings on the factory grounds for the self-guided tour.

exhibit at Tabasco Museum

Start at the Tabasco Museum

I would recommend going to The Tabasco Museum as your first stop because it provides a great overview of the history of the company.

exhibits at Tabasco Museum

You can watch a short film to learn more about the Tabasco Company brand.

Be on the lookout for exhibits that share how the Civil War resulted in the founder’s relocation to Avery Island which was used as a sugar plantation, and more.

exhibit at Tabasco Museum

Many of the exhibits show the range of products that the beloved sauce has been branded on over the years.

exhibit at Tabasco museum

Fun fact: The Original Tabasco was packaged in cologne bottles.

Tabasco Greenhouse

View the Pepper Greenhouse

The next stop on the tour is Pepper Greenhouse where you’ll learn more about Tabasco peppers. You’ll see red peppers and other varieties.

peppers in Tabasco Greenhouse

Tabasco sauce is made using only three ingredients, distilled vinegar, red pepper, and salt.

peppers in Tabasco Greenhouse

The original recipe from 1868 has stayed the same for the most part. The original pepper seeds of Capsicum frutescens peppers are traced back to South America.

Barrel Warehouse on the Tabasco Factory Tour

Barrel Warehouse

I found this part of the tour really interesting because I didn’t know that Tabasco was stored in bourbon barrels. I loved the connection to Bourbon Country in Kentucky.

I’ve even visited a Cooperage to watch the barrel-making process.

Barrel Warehouse on the Tabasco Factory Tour

The pepper mash is stored for up to three years in white oak barrels.

Barrel Warehouse on the Tabasco Factory Tour

The island’s salt is placed on top of the barrels.

Tabasco mash

If you go inside the building with the mash vats, I recommend pushing the button that turns on a fan where you can smell the pepper mash.

sign about the first rock salt mine at Tabasco Factory

Salt Mine Experience

You’ll learn more about the salt that was mined onsite during the tour.

Salt Mine Experience Tabasco Factory

Avery Island was home to the first salt mine in the country.

The salt mine is now permanently closed but there is a walk-through salt mine exhibit where you can have a greater understanding of its part in the legendary sauce.

Tabasco map

View Different Parts of the Tabasco Factory

I thought it was really interesting to see where specific bottles of Tabasco were being shipped from North America to locations all over the world.

Tabasco Factory

As the factory hums along in production look for the signs above the bottling lines telling you where it’s being shipped in the world.

Nedra McDaniel with Giant Tabasco Bottles on the Tabasco Factory Tour

Strike a Pose With the Giant Tabasco Bottles

The giant Tabasco bottles are perfect for a photo op during your tour.

Giant Tabasco Bottles on the Tabasco Factory Tour

Guests can stand by their preferred Tabasco sauce of choice.

Tabasco Tasting Bar at Tabasco Factory Tour and Museum

Sample Flavors at Tabasco Tasting Bar

As an added bonus you can sample flavors of Tabasco for free at the Tabasco Tasting Bar.

One of the best things is tasting and trying different sauces after learning about the Tabasco sauce process.

Tabasco ice cream

Try Tabasco Ice Cream in the Tabasco Country Store

It sounds odd but Tabasco ice cream is sooo good!!!

During my visit, I ordered a cup of half jalapeno soft serve ice cream and half sweet and sour Tabasco-flavored ice cream.

If you have a soft serve machine at home I was told that you can recreate the ice cream at home with 1 gallon of Borden vanilla ice cream and 5 oz of your Tabasco sauce of choice.

Tabasco ice cream at Tabasco Tasting Bar at Tabasco Factory Tour and Museum

You can try a sample size of Tabasco ice cream at the Tabasco Tasting Bar. If you decide that you want a larger portion you can purchase a cup from the gift shop cashier.

Tabasco Country Store

Find a Unique Souvenir in the Tabasco Country Store

This gift shop is filled with one-of-a-kind Tabasco-themed souvenirs and gifts. The Tabasco store has just about anything you could think of and more.

 Tabasco retail store

I purchased several mini travel bottles of Tabasco as gifts and also bought the barrel-aged Tabasco sauce because it was a little more unique.

If you’re feeling extra adventurous check out the Tabasco recipes for a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar to try at home.

TABASCO Restaurant 1868

Enjoy a Meal at TABASCO® Restaurant 1868

The restaurant located next door to the retail shop is casual and features authentic Cajun dishes.

menu items at TABASCO Restaurant 1868

You can’t go wrong with gumbo, red beans and rice, boudin egg rolls, and crawfish pie.

You order and pay for your food ahead of time with the cashier.

gumbo and beans at TABASCO® Restaurant 1868

As an added bonus there is an assortment of Tabasco sauce on your table available to enhance your meal.

If you’re interested in taking your culinary adventure to the next level there are cooking classes at 1868.

Jungle Gardens at Avery Island

Explore the Beauty of the Island on the Jungle Garden Tour

Jungle Gardens is a mysteriously beautiful place with a 14-stop tour through 170 acres that includes one of the oldest timber bamboo groves in America.

Guests can hike, bike, or drive the 3-mile trail.

Bayou Petite Anse on Avery Island

Bayou Petite Anse Means “Little Cove” in Louisiana

Each stop along the way provides more history of the area. You can download an audio tour on your phone with the Travels Story app to enhance your visit even more.

Jungle Gardens at Avery Island

Jungle Gardens is filled with exotic plants, beautiful flowers, and wildlife providing plenty of photo ops along the way.

alligator on Avery Island

Be on the lookout for alligators near the water’s edge.

Buddha Statue at Jungle Gardens

The Buddha statue on the Jungle Gardens tour was a surprise gift to E. A. McIlhenny from two friends in New York City.

Buddha statue at Jungle Gardens

You can get a closer glance at the Buddha statue that’s believed to be over 900 years old by peeking through the window.

The Cleveland Oak at Jungle Gardens

Admire The Cleveland Oak

The Cleveland Oak has the largest girth of any oak on Avery Island at almost 25 feet around.

The Cleveland Oak at Jungle Gardens

The live oaks in Jungle Gardens are another work of art. The ancient oaks lean and twist and turn.

Avery Island's "Bird City" at Jungle Gardens

Visit Avery Island’s “Bird City” at Jungle Gardens

Avery Island known as “Bird City,” is a private bird sanctuary in Jungle Gardens on Avery Island.

snowy egrets on Avery Island

There is abundant wildlife to observe on Avery Island including snowy egrets who visit each spring.

Bird Island at Jungle Gardens at Avery Island

There are several platforms where visitors can observe the birds from a safe distance.

people watching snowy egrets at Avery Island's "Bird City" at Jungle Gardens

If you’re a birder, don’t forget to pack binoculars to get a better view of the egrets.

General store Jungle Tours at Avery Island

Jungle Gardens Gift Shop

I love to purchase art when I visit a destination. I found an assortment of prints to choose from in the gift shop.

Tabasco art by Steve Seneca

I now have “Hot Peppers with Old Barn” by artist Steve Seneca displayed in my kitchen.

Tabasco Museum at Tabasco Factory

How Much Time Should You Allow for Your Visit to Avery Island?

I would budget at least 2 hours for a visit.

The Tabasco tour lasts around 45 minutes and the Jungle Gardens experience lasts around 1.25 minutes.

If you plan on eating and shopping you may want to allow more time for your visit.

aerial view of Avery Island

When is the Tabasco Factory Closed?

The Tabasco Factory is closed on major holidays including:

  • New Year’s Eve
  • New Year’s Day
  • Easter Sunday
  • 4th of July
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Eve & Christmas Day
mini bottle of Tabasco sauce

Where is the Tabasco Factory Located?

The Tabasco Factory is located in Iberia Parish at 32 Wisteria Road, Avery Island, LA, only 10 miles from New Iberia, LA.

The Tabasco Factory is a Great Road Trip Stop

Distance to The Tabasco Factory:

lots of gators Greenwood Gator Farm

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