Tequila Woes

Can you name a tequila distillery?

I know you can name a single malt distillery. Even my grandmother knows what Glenlivet is. I know you can name an American whiskey distillery. Even my great aunt has had a glass of Jim Beam or Jack Daniels.

Patron has a distillery now. They didn't always, but success has resulted in an expansion. NOM number 1492: Patron Distillery. It was made at Siete Leguas Distillery, NOM number 1120, from 1991 until 2002. They outgrew their need for outsourcing, however. Now it's totally different, made at an entirely different place. Don Julio has their own distillery as well: NOM number 1449. What's a NOM number, you ask? It's the code on the side of every tequila bottle that lets you know where the tequila is made. Mexico has required that each tequila be tracked by a number that pertains to the origin of the product (whisk(e)y fans would kill for this type of requirement!). Fortaleza Tequila, for example, is made at NOM number 1493: Los Abuelos Distillery. "The grandparents." Ocho Tequila is made at NOM number 1474: Tequilera Los Alambiques. The same distillery that makes Charbay's wonderful blanco. They're in Arandas.

Does this mean anything to you, however? Which distillery made the product? Where it was made? Who made it? What town it's located in? Probably not.

I tasted George Clooney's new tequila today. It's made at Producutos Finos de Agave, NOM number 1416 - the home of Clase Azul. Like the porcelain-bottled super seller, Casamigos (the clever name Clooney designed) is full of sugar. It's like cotton candy with butterscotch. It's the Rombauer Chardonnay of tequila. I'll bet you all can't wait to try some!! Nothing like some sugar to mask the flavor of alcohol!

I've been tasting tequila all week, hoping to dig out a new product to tell you all about, but I can't find anything I'm excited about. It's all unbelievably bad. Terribly awful. Ridiculously tragic. I had a friend in the industry come back from Guadalajara this week and he told me something incredible. He said that seven new mezcal bars have opened up in the tequila region where the locals have begun to drink. He said that Mexicans are rejecting their own national product because it's been overrun with international, conglomerate slop. They're moving to mezcal instead because it's still relatively untainted and it still tastes like it once did. Tequila, on the other hand, has been poisoned with all kinds of additives, sweeteners, coloring agents, and extracts to make it palatable for the general market. It's being saturated. It's being suffocated. It's been gentrified.

I've been depressed about this for some time, but I'm no longer going to sit on my ass and do nothing. Tonight I begin my effort to bring tequila back to life. I've made a few phone calls. Had a few long discussions. I'm working out some plans.

I can't do it alone, however. I'll need some help. I'll need your support. I'll make sure you all get some. I'll make sure it's only for K&L customers. More on this later.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll