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TEQUILA 101
                               
                                     "Debunking the Myths, one great TEQUILA at a time"
The history of Tequila is  an exciting mix of myth and lore. It begins in Western Mexico in 300 A.D., where the culture of Agave has its origins. Agave was so significant that it was personified by Mayahuel, the Goddess of fertility who fed her children with her 400 breasts.

Pulque, the sap of the agave was consumed by the native Nahuatl . It is said that lightning struck the agave plant, resulting in a juice or sap with interesting qualities. 

These indigenous inhabitants of the region used the fermented juices as a method to reach an altered state of what we call today "buzzed".

It was with the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century that the process of distillation was introduced. Tequila as a distilled drink was born.  It was a blending of two cultures that created Tequila.

The initial batches were known as Tequila wine mezcal. This occurred in the  area surrounding the small town of Tequila in what is now the state of Jalisco. This was followed by the colonial age  which lasted 300 years during which Tequila played an important economic role. 

The  independence of Mexico in 1821, provided a tremendous opportunity for the growth of  the Tequila industry that was later inhibited by Pofirios Diaz favoring of French wines and European culture.  

It was the Mexican Revolution in 1910 which brought a real Tequila boom. The search for a new national identity, the association of tequila with it's revolutionary heroes  made it a source of national pride.

Prohibition in the US also aided in the popularity of Tequila, since European shipments of Spirits to the US were banned and smuggling Tequila was relatively simple. Again in WWII, shipments from Europe were halted, benefiting the Tequila industry  in the US.

Today, millions of  litres  of TEQUILA are produced annually. TEQUILA is consumed in  over a hundred  countries worldwide.  It is now an  obsession  for thousands of aficionados worldwide  who have learned to love and appreciate this most captivating  and delightful magical spirit .

TEQUILA is an icon and a source of pride for Mexico and its citizens. 


     
        
         
 

Brands produced at Tequilana Agave

Tahona at Tequilana Agave

    PINAS READY FOR THE
      OVENS, LOS ALTOS
       
       
        HOW  IS 
       TEQUILA 
         MADE?


Cultivation and Harvest:
The Agaves are planted and grown to maturation, between 5-10 years. They are not watered, the rain water and climate are all that is needed.. The harvest or 'jima" is done manually with an instrument called a "coa". There is a romantic, sentimental aura that surrounds "jimadors", This traditional method has been handed down from generation to generation. A good "jimador can harvest up to 100 pinas a day.
 COOKING :
 Cooking converts the carbohydrates into simple sugars for fermentation. The "pinas " soften, making extraction easier. The "pinas" are  placed in masonry ovens or steel containers called autoclaves. This process takes 50-72 hours in a masonery oven or between 8-14 hours in an autoclave.
EXTRACTION: 
The cooked "pinas" are pressed to obtain their sugars and through the injection of pressurized water, a frementation juice is made, mosto fresco.  
FERMENTATION:
The process is initiated when yeast, whether added by the producer or naturally occurring, converts the  mosto fresco to mosto muerto. This is the transferring of sugars to alcohol. Each distillery differs in the hours of fermentation, although it is generally 24 to 72 hours.
DISTILLATION:
The fermented juices are distilled in copper or stainless steel pot stills or in continuous distillation towers. TEQUILA is distilled twice and yields a liquid with an alcohol level of around 20%. The second distillation takes 3-4 hours, resulting in a liquid with an alcohol level near 55%.
At this point the substances are divided and only the heart of the process is used for TEQUILA. The result is TEQUILA that will be used as a BLANCO or aged to become another type.
AGING:
Blancos, Silver or Plata is the product of the second distillation. Barrels or casks are used for aged TEQUILAS that include Reposados, Anejos, Extra-Anejos.

 

    Joel Gonzales Baiba,
            3 Amigos
     Sauza, aging Anejos

"THE APPELLATION OF ORIGIN"

Just like Cognac or Champagne, Tequila is a drink that takes its name from its region of origin, which is the town of TEQUILA, Mexico. It was in 1974 that the Mexican government established the Appellation of Origin Tequila, recognized worldwide.
The Appellation of Origin guarantees the consumer of authenticity.  It establishes the following:
 
1.Tequila must be produced in a specific territory-The entire state of Jalisco, 7 Municipalities in the state of Gunajuato, 8 in the state of Nayarit
, 11 in the state of Tamalipas and 30 in the state of Michocan.

2. A Mexican Official Standard (NOM-006-SCFI-2005) states the regulations must be strictly observed by all who produce or bottle
TEQUILA.

3. The "Consejo Regulador del Tequila" was created as an independent body to verify and certify every TEQUILA company is in compliance with the
NOM. www.crt.org

  WHAT IS TEQUILA?
TEQUILA is Mexico's distinctive spirit. We have already established that for a spirit to be called TEQUILA,  it must be from Mexico and adhere to the afore mentioned criteria.

 TEQUILA is produced from one plant, the Blue Agave Tequilana Weber.  There are over 200  varieties of Agave , but only one can produce TEQUILA. The Blue Weber Tequilana is a member of the amarilidacrea (Lily) family. It reproduces itself and bears no fruit. Each of the millions of Blue Weber Agave plants is registered with the CRT.

The heart or Pina is the only part used in the production of TEQUILA. It takes between 5-10 years for a plant to be ready for harvest. At maturity the jimador skillfully cuts away the leaves to reveal the pina which weigh approximately 30-50 kilos . It takes about 7 kilos to make one liter of 100% Agave TEQUILA.
      
      Blue Agave  fields 
           in Los Altos         

         Herradura,
  observing distillation

Herradura, dedicated producers in masonery ovens stacking Pinas   

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