MLB, by any chance, did you see a show recently on The History Channel called "American Eats"? The first eppy was about condiments, and portrayed Tabasco, French's Mustard, Hienz Ketchup, and Pace Picante.
Tabasco reuses whiskey barrels to ferment their pepper mash in. They use power tools to grind out the charred insides of the barrel, fill the barrels with mash, put the lid on, then cover the lid with salt. The salt allows the gases and some liquids to percolate up out of the barrels, and when fermentation is done, the salt hardens into a seal. 3 years later, they uncap the barrels, scrape off the oxidized layer of mash, then take the remaining mash and put it in a mixer with vinegar. That mix is churned non-stop for 28 days, I believe, until it's smooth and won't separate.
Interesting side note: Avery Island, where McIlheny (sp?) makes Tabasco, is actually a salt dome that has risen up through the bedrock until it's exposed. They mine the salt from that salt dome to use in their manufactoring process.
Peace, Love, and Vegetable Rights!
Eat Meat and Save the Plants!