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« Standing Out From the Crowd | Main | I'm Getting a Shrubbie »
Thursday
May302013

Cutting Through the Crap 

There's usually a rant every month or so on the blogosphere about the lack of clarity regarding American whiskey labels. The current obsession with American whiskey is creating a market of opportunists looking to cash in on a good story. My buddy Chuck threw this one out just the other day. My friend SKU wrote this one about a month ago. If you're looking to purchase a few barrels and start your own romantic whiskey brand, watch out!!! Bourbon drinkers especially do not like false marketing or nebulous provenance. More than any group of drinkers, they want the facts and they want the specs about what they're imbibing (I'm basing this observation on the amount of emails I get about Bourbon versus all other spirits combined).

That being said, I feel like most non-descript American whiskey that makes it onto the K&L shelf still tastes pretty good. It's all being made by a producer we know and love, right? How many producers are we talking about here, really? Jim Beam. Heaven Hill. Buffalo Trace. Brown-Foreman. Maker's Mark. Woodford Reserve. 1792 Ridgemont. Four Roses. Wild Turkey. LDI (MGP).

Out of that handful, only a few are really selling off their juice. Most of what we see comes from LDI and most of that stuff is mediocre at its worst. Let me make this clear, however: I'm not saying that Bourbon drinkers shouldn't complain about the lack of clarity regarding these products, I'm just saying that it could be a lot worse.

How could it be worse?

You could be a Tequila drinker, like me. Then you'd really be F'ed in the A.

The funny part about the Tequila world, however, is that it does mandate each bottle to state exactly where the tequila itself was made. Imagine if every distillery in the U.S. had a number that was required to be stamped onto every bottle! This would obviously play havoc with marriages of multiple distilleries like we see with the High West selections, but maybe vatted whiskies would have to display multiple origins.

Yet, despite this consumer-focused requirement by the Mexican government, there couldn't be less information out there about tequila distilleries. I can name almost every single malt distillery from memory if I do it alphabetically. I can only name four or five tequileras, however. There is almost no consumer-based information on the web (that I've found) that attempts to decipher what makes one distillery different from another and breaks down their distillates stylistically. Tequila.net is a great database of bottles, tasting notes, and NOM numbers, but that's as deep as one can go. You might find a distillery website here and there, but they're not all that helpful (and you need to understand Spanish - which I do, but that still doesn't help).

Basically, you really have to dig, which is why the Tequila market is 100% dominated by brands and brand names, rather than educated consumers who can make smart decisions about what they're purchasing. There are five new whisk(e)y blogs created every day, all regurgitating the same information over and over again. If you're a whisk(e)y drinker you've got more information available to you online than ever before – making an uneducated purchase is the result of either general apathy or laziness.

With Tequila, on the other hand, you could put in hours worth of research and still wind up with a bottle that doesn't speak to your own desires. You can see who makes what, but how does that information help you if you don't know who Agroindustria Guadalajara is? It's not like there are only ten or fifteen Tequila producers to decipher.

Do you know how many distilleries are registered as official tequileras in Mexico? I do. I made a list today and it took forever. I'll share it with you.

1068 – Agroindustria Guadalajara, S.A. de C.V. – Tepatitlan de Morelos, Jalisco

1079 – Agabe Tequilana Productores y Comercializadores, S.A. de C.V. – Zapopan, Jalisco

1102 – Tequila Sauza, S.A. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1103 – Tequila San Matiás de Jalisco, S.A. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1104 – Tequila Cuervo, S.A. de C.V.

1105 – Catador Alteño, S.A. de C.V. – Jesus Maria, Jalisco

1107 – Tequila el Viejito, S.A. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1108 – Jorge Salles Cuervo y Sucesores S.A. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1109 – Tequila Arette de Jalisco, S.A. de C.V. – Tequila, Jalisco

1110 – Tequila Orendain de Jalisco, S.A. de C.V. – Tequila, Jalisco

1111 – Pernod Ricard México, S.A. de C.V. – Cuajimalpa De Morelos, Distrito Federal

1112 – Cuajimalpa De Morelos, Distrito Federal – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1115 – Tequila La Parreñita, S.A. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1119 – Brown - Forman Tequila Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1120 – Tequila Siete Leguas, S.A. de C.V. – Atotonilco El Alto, Jalisco

1122 – Casa Cuervo, S.A. de C.V. – Iztacalco, Distrito Federal

1123 – Tequila Cascahuin, S.A. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1124 – Tequilas del Señor, S.A. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1127 – Tequilera la Gonzaleña, S.A. de C.V. – Gonzalez, Tamaulipas

1137 – La Cofradia, S.A. de C.V. – Tequila, Jalisco

1139 – Tequila Tapatio, S.A. de C.V. – Arandas, Jalisco

1140 – Tequila Centinela, S.A. de C.V. – Arandas, Jalisco

1142 – La Madrileña, S.A. de C.V. – Benito Juarez, Distrito Federal

1143 – Destiladora González González, S.A. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1146 – Tequileña, S.A. de C.V – Tequila, Jalisco

1173 – Corporativo Destileria Santa Lucia, S.A. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1298 – Tequila Sierra Brava, S.A. de C.V.

1333 – Fabrica de Aguardientes de Agave La Mexicana, S.A. de C.V. – Arandas, Jalisco

1360 – Corporación Ansan, S.A. de C.V. – Tequila, Jalisco

1368 – Tequilera Corralejo, S.A. de C.V. – Miguel Hidalgo, Distrito Federal

1384 – Agroindustrias Santa Clara, S.P.R. de R.L.

1412 – Destiladora de Los Altos, S.A. de C.V. – Arandas, Jalisco

1413 – Compañía Destiladora de Acatlán, SA de CV – Acatlan de Juarez, Jalisco

1414 – Feliciano Vivanco y Asociados, S.A. de C.V. – Arandas, Jalisco

1416 – Productos Finos de Agave, S.A. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1417 – Industrializadora Integral del Agave, S.A. de C.V. – Tlaquepaque, Jalisco

1419 – Metlalli, S.A. de C.V. – Amatitan, Jalisco

1420 – Industrializadora de Agave San Isidro, SA de CV – Tepatitlan de Morelos, Jalisco

1424 – Destiladora de Agave Azul, S.A. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1426 – Agaveros Unidos de Amatitán, S.A. de C.V. – Amatitan, Jalisco

1431 – Destiladora los Magos, S.A. de C.V. – Tlajomulco De Zuñiga, Jalisco

1433 – Tequila Quiote, S.A. de C.V. – Atotonilco El Alto, Jalisco

1434 – Procesadora de Agave Penjamo, S.A. de C.V.

1435 – Destiladora La Barranca, S.A. de C.V. – Tepatitlan De Morelos, Jalisco

1436 – Tequila Artesanal de Los Altos de Jalisco, S.A. de C.V. – Atotonilco El Alto, Jalisco

1437 – Tequilera Don Roberto, S.A. de C.V. – Tequila, Jalisco

1438 – Destiladora del Valle de Tequila, SA de CV – Tequila, Jalisco

1439 – Proveedora y Procesadora de Agave Tres Hermanos, S.A. de C.V. – Amatitan, Jalisco

1440 – Destiladora San Nicolas, S.A. de C.V. – Arandas, Jalisco

1442 – Tequilera del Salto, S.A. de C.V. – El Salto, Jalisco

1443 – Grupo Industrial Tequilero de los Altos de Jalisco, S.A. de C.V. – Arandas, Jalisco

1445 – Union de Productores de Agave, S.A. de C.V. – Tequila, Jalisco

1449 – Tequila Don Julio, S.A. de C.V. – Atotonilco El Alto, Jalisco

1450 – Marco Antonio Jauregui Huerta – El Arenal, Jalisco

1451 – Destilerias Sierra Unidas, S.A. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1455 – Fábrica de Tequila el Nacimiento, S.A. de C.V. – Arandas, Jalisco

1456 – Tequila Supremo, S.A. de C.V. – Zapopan, Jalisco

1457 – Cia. Tequilera la Quemada, S.A. de C.V. – Zapopan, Jalisco

1458 – Tequilera La Primavera, S.A. de C.V. – Tequila, Jalisco

1459 – Tequila Selecto de Amatitán, S.A. de C.V. – Amatitan, Jalisco

1460 – Compañía Tequilera de Arandas, S.A. de C.V. – Arandas, Jalisco

1463 – Cooperativa Tequilera La Magdalena, S.C. de R.L. – Magdalena, Jalisco

1464 – Destileria 501, S.A. de C.V. – El Arenal, Jalisco

1465 – Fabrica de Tequila El Eden, S.A. de C.V. – Arandas, Jalisco

1466 – Tequila Tres Mujeres, S.A. de C.V. – Amatitan, Jalisco

1467 – Impulsora Rombo, S.A. de C.V. – Queretaro, Queretaro De Arteaga

1468 – Grupo Tequilero México, S.A. de C.V. – Arandas, Jalisco

1471 – Grupo Internacional de Exportación, S.A. de C.V. – Tlajomulco De Zuñiga, Jalisco

1472 – Fabrica de Tequilas Finos, S.A. de C.V. – Tequila, Jalisco

1473 – Tequilera de la Barranca de Amatitan, S.A. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1474 – Cia. Tequilera Los Alambiques, S.A. de C.V. – Arandas, Jalisco

1475 – Fabrica de Tequila Hacienda Las Norias, S.A. de C.V

1476 – Destiladora Rubio, S.A. de C.V. – Tequila, Jalisco

1477 – Tequilas De La Doña, S.A. de C.V. – Leticia Hermosillo Ravelero

1479 – Compañia Tequilera Hacienda La Capilla, S.A. de C.V. – Miguel Hidalgo, Distrito Federal

1480 – Tequila Las Americas, S.A. de C.V. – Amatitan, Jalisco

1482 – Fabrica de Tequila Tlaquepaque, S.A. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1485 – Prestadora Integral de Servicios par la Industria de Occidente, S.A. De C.V. – Tlaquepaque, Jalisco

1486 – Cia. Tequilera Los Generales, S.A. de C.V. – Zapopan, Jalisco

1487 – Bacardi y Compañia, S.A. de C.V. – Tultitlan, Mexico

1488 – Cavas Vamer, S.A. de C.V. – Tepatitlan De Morelos, Jalisco

1489 – Destileria Leyros, S.A. de C.V. – Tequila, Jalisco

1490 – Destiladora Arandas, S.A. de C.V. – El Salto, Jalisco

1492 – Patron Spirits Mexico, S.A. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1493 – Tequila Los Abuelos, S.A. de C.V. – Tequila, Jalisco

1494 – Tequilera La Noria, S.A. de C.V. – Tala, Jalisco

1498 – Tequilera La Perla, S.A. de C.V. – El Arenal, Jalisco

1499 – Casa Tequilera de Arandas, S.A. de C.V. – Arandas, Jalisco

1500 – Tequilera Las Juntas, S.A. de C.V. – Amatitan, Jalisco

1501 – Tequilera El Triangulo, S.A. de C.V. – Zapopan, Jalisco

1502 – Autentica Tequilera, S.A. de C.V. – Tequila, Jalisco

1503 – Empresa Ejidal Tequilera de Amatitán, SPR de RL de C.V. – Amatitan, Jalisco

1504 – Agave Azul San Jose, S.A. de C.V. – Tlajomulco De Zuñiga, Jalisco

1505 – Productores de Tequila de Arandas, S. de R.L. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1507 – Casa Reyes Barajas, S.A. de C.V. – Tequila, Jalisco

1508 – Fabrica de Tequila Don Nacho, S.A. de C.V. – Arandas, Jalisco

1509 – Tequila Embajador, S.A. de C.V. – Atotonilco El Alto, Jalisco

1510 – Destiladora Casa Blanca Vazquez, S.A. de C.V – Atotonilco el Alto, Jalisco

1511 – Compañia Tequilera Hacienda Sahuayo, S.A. de C.V. – Sahuayo, Michoacan de Ocampo

1512 – Grupo Familiar Don Crispin, S.A. de C.V. – Cabo Corrientes, Jalisco

1513 – Tierra de Agaves, S. de R.L. de C.V. – Tequila, Jalisco

1514 – Productores de Agave y Derivados de Degollado, SPR de R.L. – Degollado, Jalisco

1515 – Destiladora Santa Virginia, S.A. de C.V. – Tepatitlan De Morelos, Jalisco

1517 – Tequila Galindo, S.A. de C.V. – Arandas, Jalisco

1518 – Tequila Casa de Los González, S.A. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1519 – Agroindustrias Casa Ramirez, S.A. de C.V. – Purisima Del Rincon, Guanajuato

1522 – Hacienda de Oro, S.A.de C.V. – Amatitan, Jalisco

1523 – Agrotequilera de Jalisco, S.A. de C.V. – El Arenal, Jalisco

1524 – Elaboración de Bebidas Destiladas de Agave, S.A. de C.V. – El Arenal, Jalisco

1525 – Destiladora Los Sauces, S.A de C.V. – Rancho Los Sauces, Tepatitlán, Jalisco

1526 – Productos Regionales de Atotonilco, S.A. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1527 – Tecnoagave, S.A. de C.V. – Marcos Castellanos, Michoacan de Ocampo

1528 – Destiladora Suprema de Los Altos, S.A. de C.V. – Jesus Maria, Jalisco

1529 – Agaveros y Tequileros Unidos de Los Altos, S.A. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1530 – Tequilera Simbolo, S.A. de C.V. – Atotonilco El Alto, Jalisco

1531 – Rivesca, S.A. de C.V – Arandas, Jalisco

1532 – Tequilera Gonzalez, S.A. – Zacoalco de Torres, Jalisco

1533 – Vinos y Licores Azteca, S.A. de C.V. – Zapopan, Jalisco

1534 – Compañia Destiladora de Xamay, S.A. de C.V. – Jamay, Jalisco

1535 – Destileria Morales, S.A. de C.V. – Arandas, Jalisco

1536 – Tequilas Garcia, S.A. de C.V. – Arandas, Jalisco

1537 – Tequilera La Lupita, S.A. de C.V. – El Arenal, Jalisco

1538 – Destiladora de Agave Hacienda los Huajes, S.C. de R.L. – Zapotlan Del Rey, Jalisco

1539 – Herlindo Luna Garcia – Tequila, Jalisco

1540 – Tequila Doña Engracia, S.A. de C.V. – Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco

1541 – Tequila de Piedra, S.A. de C.V. – Zapopan, Jalisco

1543 – Lucio Rivera de Aro – Amatitan, Jalisco

1544 – Antonio Mejia Leyva – Bahia De Banderas, Nayarit

1545 – Grupo Empresarial Tequilero, S.A. de C.V. – San Jose de Gracia, Jalisco

1547 – Integradora San Agustin, S.A. de C.V. – Tototlan, Jalisco

1548 – Grupo Tequilero de Los Altos, S.A. de C.V. – Arandas, Jalisco

1549 – Destiladora Refugio, S.A. de C.V. – El Arenal, Jalisco

1550 – Comercializadora de Agave y Derivados la Mula, S.A. de C.V. – La Piedad, Michoacan de Ocampo

1551 – Destiladora Juanacatlan, S.P.R. de R.L. de C.V. – Juanacatlan, Jalisco

1552 – Destileria las Canadas, S. de R.L. de C.V. – Tonala, Jalisco

1554 – Cavas de Don Max, S.A. de C.V. – Miguel Hidalgo, D.F.

1555 – Destiladora de Los Altos la Joya, S.A. de C.V. – Arandas, Jalisco

1556 – Tequila 3 Reales de Jalisco, S.A. de C.V. – Zapopan, Jalisco

1558 – Premium de Jalisco, S.A. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1559 – Tequilera Milagro, S.A. de C.V. – Alvaro Obregon, Distrito Federal

1560 – Tequilas Gonzalez Lara, S.A. de C.V. – El Arenal, Jalisco

1561 – Destiladora El Paisano, S.A. de C.V. – Degollado, Jalisco

1563 – Asociacion Procesadora de Agave de Churintzio, S. de P.R. de R.L. – Tequila, Jalisco

1564 – Compañia Tequilera La Mision, S.A.de C.V. – San Juanito de Escobedo, Jalisco

1566 – Productos Selectos de Agave, S.P.R. de R.L. de C.V. – Amatitan, Jalisco

1567 – Tequila Rubio, S.A. de C.V. – Hidalgo, Jalisco

1568 – Tequilera Fonseca, S.A. de C.V. – Zapopan, Jalisco

1569 – Agaveros de Michoacan, S.P.R. del R.L. – Michoacan de Ocampo

1570 – Altos Cienega Unidos, S.P.R. de R.L. – Atotonilco el Alto, Jalisco

1571 – Tequila Zapotlan Del Rey, S.A. de C.V. – Zapotlan Del Rey, Jalisco

1572 – Destiladora de Agave el Mentidero, S.C. de R.L. – Autlan de Navarro, Jalisco

1574 – Destiladora de Tequila Marava S.P.R. de R.L. – Maravatio, Michoacan de Ocampo

1575 – Tequilera Casa Real Gusto, S.A. de C.V. – Amacueca, Jalisco

1577 – Agave Conquista, S. de R.L. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1578 – Grupo Tequilero Weber, S.A.P.I. de C.V. – Guadalajara, Jalisco

1580 – Destiladora El Paraiso, S.A. de C.V. – Zapopan, Jalisco

On top of all this, Tequila is subject to some of the most exploitative practices around – tons of caramel coloring, chapitalization (adding sugar to unnaturally raise alochol levels), misleading branding, and gimmicky marketing. In case you haven't heard, Corazon Tequila is planning to release Pappy Van Winkle and George T. Stagg barrel-aged Tequilas next month. These guys know what they're doing and it doesn't involve telling you about the quality of their actual product.

So how do you cut through all this crap? I think someone needs to go down there and help sort it all out. Someone needs to go down there with a camera, a computer, and an unhealthy obsession with spirits blogging to help provide more information for those consumers looking for resources.

Do you guys know anyone who does that type of thing?

-David Driscoll