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What Tabasco Sauce Can Teach Us About Generational Wealth

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It’s hard to imagine a time when Tabasco sauce wasn’t a staple in the American diet. Every day, thousands around the country turn to the fiery red sauce to add some Louisiana kick to their regular meals.

Behind the origin of Tabasco sauce is a story that is also quintessentially American: the making of a family fortune.

As the legend tells it, Edmund McIlhenny began experimenting with a recipe for hot sauce in the late 1800s using a trifecta of simple but essential ingredients: vinegar, pepper mash and salt.  By the late 1860s, Edmund Mcllhenny began bottling and selling E. McIlhenny Tabasco Pepper Sauce to Union soldiers in the South who wanted to spice up their army rations.

He would later partner with a major distributor and break into larger markets such as New York City, Philadelphia and Boston. Today, the McIlhenny Company sells more than $200 million dollars worth of Tabasco Sauce in 180 countries.

But Edmund McIlhenny didn’t just start a multi-million dollar company, he built a foundation for generational wealth. Six generations of McIlhennys have run the company and 120 family members own stock in it.

In fact, the McIlhenny family still lives in Avery Island, Louisiana, where the company mines the salt and grows the peppers used in its Tabasco sauce.

The difference between wealthy families such as the McIlhennys and poor and middle class families is that wealthy families understand how financial success is achieved.

While poor and middle-class families prepare their children to get a good job and fulfill someone’s else’s vision, wealthy families teach their children to invest in themselves and start their own businesses. 

The wealthy know it’s important to leave an inheritance for their children not only in wealth but also in knowledge. You too can learn the secrets to create generational wealth like the McIlhenny family.


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