Tequila is a drink associated with Mexico, particularly with the state Jalisco, located in the west of the country. Tequila is a drink produced from distillation the fermented juice a plant called blue agave. Tequilas can be of two different types, one which is made from 100% blue agave and in some cases sugar is added from sources such as cane or corn syrup. There are around 50 companies that produce Tequila in Jalisco; still each one has its own different recipe. They differ in production process, proportion of agave used, and microorganisms used in fermentation, distillation equipment and maturation and ageing time. The alcohol percentage in Tequila also differs from 35-50% (70-100 proof). (Anon., 2008)
Tequila is a drink which was associated with Mexican ranchers, cowboys and bandits. It is believed that the word ‘tequila’ originated from the ticuilas tribe which inhabited near a volcano bearing the same name located near the city of Tequila. There are many more theories of the possible origin of the drink. Tequila’s history is deeply rooted in Mexico’s heritage. Long before the natives were making a fermented beverage called “pulque” which was made from Maguey plant (variety of agave). It was considered a sacred dink. The transformation from pulque to Tequila happened in 1500s, when Spanish conquistadors ran out of their brandy; hence they started to distil this drink made from agave. This drink was America’s first distilled spirit known as mescal wine (also called agave wine). This spirit was evolved into Tequila. The name Tequila was given to the drink as the best quality blue agave plants are produced in the region of Tequila. It is said that in 1600s first production of Tequila took place. The production was done behind closed doors to avoid being forced to pay taxes to the Spanish crown. Though this information is debated it is believed that a wealthy landowner from the region Tequila, Don Pedro Sanchez de Tagle was the first person to plant agave for the sole purpose of producing agave wine. He also compiled different traditional techniques to plan an industry with a better production process. In 1758 the king of Spain granted Jose Antonio Cuervo the permission to be the first licensed Tequila manufacturer. Cuervo remains the largest producer and exporter of Tequila even today. Slowly many other individuals started to learn this Tequila making technique and started their own distillery. In 1858, Don Cenobio Sauza gained skills in agave farming and learned about production and later started his own Sauza Tequila. This company later becomes the first Tequila to be exported to America in 1873. Tequila never got the respect it deserved till 1821 when Mexico attained independence, Spanish products became increasingly difficult to obtain, and this opened the doors for tequila to flourish. During Mexican revolution it became the symbol of national pride and everyone casted away foreign goods and started consuming Mexican goods, Tequila was consumed by patriotic desires. Tequila was banned in USA after the revolution. This had a positive impact on the industry as the demand was on the rise therefore it was smuggled across the border. Once again the demand spiked up in the USA during the Second World War when spirits from Europe became scarce. Increased production brought the need for governmental oversight. This led to the creation of two entities which have since transformed in Mexico’s present-day regulatory organisations. In mid 1990s, Mexico was staking its claims. Through years of effort, international treaties and agreements, Mexico gained the acceptance and recognition as the only country that can legally produce “Tequila”. To be called tequila it must contain at least 51% agave tequila Lana Weber, variety Azul. (Anon., 2008)
“It takes 7 kg of pinas to produce 1 litre of tequila”. Cultivating agave is a labour intensive job and takes manual effort. Blue agave...
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