Fashionable Trendsetters Challenge for Beverage Supremacy
Celebrity-endorsed tequilas have become fashionable in Hollywood, Wall Street, and main street America as more people learn about the unique provenance and culture that surrounds the industry. Consumers can find more than 1,100 brands to lay claim to discriminating tastes, and Hispanic business interests often touch on some aspect of the vibrant tequila industryagave growth, fermentation and distillation, aging, bottling, shipping, or using the end product in consumer businesses.
A primer on tequila
Tequila Territory regulations limit genuine tequila manufacture to 27 million acres in 180 protected municipalities in five Mexican states.
1. Jalisco all 124 municipalities.
2. Nayarit eight municipalities.
3. Guanajuato seven municipalities.
4. Michoacan 30 municipalities.
5. Tamaulipas 11 municipalities.
Tequila blends indigenous cultures, Spanish, and Moor influences in a beverage that began as a type of fermented beer. This cultural blending continues in modern times because Hispanic business owners promote Mexican culture to a wider consumer audience in America, and many celebrities endorse the unique spirit of small-batch tequila production. Using the agave plant, indigenous people brewed a fermented beverage they may or may not have distilled, but the Spanish distillation process owed its roots to Moors who introduced the Arabic process to Spain and eventually the new world.
Tequila brands split into two categories: Tequila Mixto and 100 percent Blue Agave. Mixed tequilas must use at least 51 percent Blue Agave, and other spirits, additives and sugars make up the other 49 percent. Consumers should look for the terms 100 percent agave or puro de agave to find pure agave flavor. Worms have been an urban legend difficult to discredit. Mezcal sometimes includes caterpillars, but Madison Avenue added the worms to American-bottled tequilas in the 1940s as a marketing ploy to impress gullible consumers. Five types of tequila include the following distinctions.
Tequila Blanco/White/Silver. This tequila usually gets bottled immediately after distillation, although some distillers let the product rest.
Tequila Joven/Gold. This brand adds colorants and other additives within the 49 percent limit. However, distillers can use only 100 Blue Agave additives and keep the pure status.
Tequila Reposado. These tequilas age in wood between two months and 12 months.
Tequila Añejo. Vintage tequilas must age in small wood barrels that hold fewer than 600 liters for at least one year.
Extra Añejo. The newest classification took effect in 2006 for tequilas aged at least three years. The barrel requirements also apply.