As a Mexican, I have grown up around alcohol all my life. I grew up listening to stories of when different family members would get drunk and do something stupid. I even heard a story about my dad getting so drunk he started dancing around a sombrero. I remember as a kid my uncles would come over and tell me to bring them a beer from the fridge, and if it was a birthday or a big celebration, out came the Tequila.

Little did I know there is actually a place, close to where my parents are from, called Tequila. Tequila is located in the state of Jalisco between the Tequila Volcano and the Rio Grande River. It is part of a large blue agave landscape. The plant has been used since the 16th century to produce tequila spirit and for the past 2,000 years it has been used to make fermented drinks. There are distilleries reflecting the growth of the international consumption of Tequila in the past few centuries.

Here we can see a blue agave plant.

Here we can see a blue agave plant or agave “pineapple.”

The Agave culture is part of the nation’s identity, and so is one of the most important cultural landscapes in Mexico. It is not only important for its natural beauty but also the cultural tradition it has kept alive for several centuries. The area isn’t just blue agave fields is also encloses urban settlement which offers proper living and working conditions. Together the landscape, haciendas, distilleries and the urban settlements reflect the way the landscape has been used and is still used to grow and process the agave plant and distil tequila. Only agave “pineapples” grown in the property are processed in the distilleries to be eligible for a Declaration of Origin.

There is a large landscape used for growing agave plants.

There is a large landscape used for growing agave plants.

In the 16th century when the area was conquered by the Spanish, they began experimenting with local beverages and distilled the agave fermented juice to make vino de mezcal. It wasn’t until the end of the 17th century that the first formal distilleries were formed and the agave plantations began. During the 18th century the liquor became better known and demand increased. Thanks to the creation of the Camino Real, transportation of the beverage became easier. And in 1795, Jose Maria Guadalupe Cuervo received the first license permitting the legal establishment of a mescal distillery.

Jose Maria Guadalupe Cuervo, better known on his bottles as "Jose Cuervo" has an extensive line of different Tequilas.

Jose Maria Guadalupe Cuervo, better known on his bottles as “Jose Cuervo” has an extensive line of different Tequilas.

Even though there have been concerned about the over use of Tequila there is still a high demand for this fermented beverage. Religious authorities have been against its overuse but have been unsuccessful in their attempts to ban the drink. The mid-19th had a growth in the growth of the Agave plant. Today there have been measure put into place to ensure there is a continued growth in production to meet the high demands of Tequila worldwide.

There are many different brands of Tequila now.

There are many different brands of Tequila.

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2 Responses to Tequila

  1. tjimenez7 says:

    Wow, it is very fascinating how you connected Tequila to your heritage. I actually never knew that there was a place called after it though. Very cool.

  2. dperez34 says:

    This is really cool I did not know that the history of tequila was so interesting, thank you for this intriguing post.

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