Talking about Tequila is talking about Mexico, its traditions, its culture, its people. And is that Tequila is one of the great ancient treasures that this country has; It is called “the national drink par excellence” and the perfect companion for moments of joy, celebration, and of course of sadness.
The origin of Tequila dates back to the time of the conquest (16th century), when it was called mezcal wine, to later become Tequila after the inclusion of the distillation process.
Tequila is the first Mexican Denomination of Origin (DOT) since 1974, the year in which the Declaration of Protection was published, has an Official Mexican Standard (NOM-006), and a conformity assessment body that is the Tequila Regulatory Council. (CRT), the result of the efforts of the tequila agribusiness motivated by a common objective, to make our emblematic drink the Gift of Mexico to the World!
The Mexican State is the owner of this national patrimony whose administration falls on the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) and this year the DOT turns 46 years old.
Currently, Mexico has 18 Denominations of Origin on which more than 500 thousand families depend in 22 States of the Republic.
The Tequila Standard establishes, among many other issues, the categories and classes of Tequila; as categories, we will find the Tequila category and the 100% agave category, and from each of them five classes emanate: white, young, reposado, añejo, and extra añejo. Here their differences:
The territory protected by the Denomination of Origin Tequila (DOT) comprises 181 municipalities of five states of the Mexican Republic: 125 Municipalities of Jalisco (the state as a whole), 30 municipalities of Michoacán, 11 of Tamaulipas, 8 of Nayarit, and 7 of Guanajuato, only in this territory can plantations of blue variety tequilana weber agave (raw material for the production of Tequila) be established and destined for the tequila agro-industry, and only in this territory can Tequila producing companies be established.
The blue variety tequilana weber agave is one of the more than 200 varieties of agave that Mexico has and is the only species allowed for the production of the quintessential Mexican national drink.
Tequila is one of the most regulated drinks in the world, over time it has raised its strict quality standards, to become today one of the favorite spirits of consumers.
For its elaboration, the tequila goes through a process of up to 10 years to reach a bottle; and each step is verified by the Tequila Regulatory Council and its human capital that every day are in the factory and in the field working for and for Tequila.
It all begins with the planting of the agave shoot within the territory protected by the Denomination of Origin Tequila; Later, between 5 and 7 years must pass for the agave to be harvested. The jima is the activity of removing the leaves of the agave to obtain the “pineapple”, which will be the part from which the sugars necessary for tequila will be extracted.
This activity is considered one of the great legacies of tequila production since there is no school that teaches jimar, rather it is a teaching that is passed from generation to generation.
Once the agave has been harvested, it is taken to the tequila-producing factories for the hydrolysis process, which is carried out in masonry ovens or autoclaves where steam is applied to the agave pineapples.
Later the extraction stage will come, at which time the carbohydrates or sugars contained in the agave pineapples must be separated from the fiber, this extraction is commonly carried out with a combination of ripper and a train of roller mills.
It is at this point when the formulation of one of the two categories of tequila begins: category tequila or 100% agave. The result of this operation is the fresh must, ready to start fermentation. For fermentation, the sugars present in the musts are transformed, by the action of yeasts, into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide. At this stage, other compounds will also be formed that will contribute to the final sensory characteristics of the Tequila; and finally comes the double distillation.
The obtained Tequila can have several destinations such as; the bottling as white tequila, its filling and bottling as young tequila or it can be sent to maturation to obtain reposado, añejo, or extra añejo tequila.
The process ends in the Tequila Regulatory Council with the laboratory analysis of each batch of Tequila, to finish verifying that the drink meets the standards established in the Norm, and that it is an authentic product.
Tequila in numbers
More than 350 million liters of tequila are produced annually.
Around 245 million liters are exported per year.
There are 163 companies producing Tequila.
Approximately 65 million agaves are consumed per year.
More than 70 thousand families live from this agribusiness.
2 billion US dollars enter Mexico as a result of its exports.
It contributes to the Mexican State more than 6 billion pesos from the IEPS tax alone.
It is the most important Country Brand in Mexico.
We are Mexican and tequila is our pride.
More information at the Tequila Regulatory Council www.crt.org.mx