Is Mexico the only country where tequila can be made?

Tequila is made exclusively from the “blue variety weber tequilana agave” and must be produced under specific regulations.

Photo: SARYMSAKOV ANDREY / Shutterstock

Tequila is a distillate identified in the world as a symbol of Mexicanness. It is a drink that has a Denomination of Origin in order to protect its title, origin and prestige. To be considered authentic tequila it must meet certain standards.

Tequila is a drink whose origins date back to pre-Hispanic times in Mexico but which emerged in the 16th century as a result of the syncretism of the Mexican and the Spanish. It is made exclusively from the “blue variety weber tequilana agave”; endemic species and therefore, perfectly adapted to climatological and soil conditions.

How is tequila made

To obtain tequila, the agave is cut and the leaves are removed until only the pineapple (heart) remains, a process known as “jima”. After cooking in stone ovens, the juices (musts) are extracted, and once fermented, they are subjected to distillation.

Authentic tequila is only produced in Mexico

An authentic tequila has to be produced in Mexico as indicated by its Denomination of Origin. This covers all the municipalities of the state of Jalisco, in addition to certain regions of Nayarit, Michoacán, Guanajuato and Tamaulipas. Any other beverage distilled from blue variety weber tequilana agave brewed in other areas is not legally tequila.

The Designation of Origin Tequila has international protection. The protection it grants involves different aspects, among which the extraction, production and elaboration of tequila stand out.

Spirits similar to tequila, but outside of DOT, cannot be called tequila, even if they are produced within Mexico.

A non-Mexican person can have their own brand of tequila as long as all the legal requirements that protect tequila are met.

Categories and classes of tequila

Tequila is divided into two categories and four different classes.
Tequila categories: Tequila 100% agave and Tequila.
Classes: white or silver (silver); young or gold (gold); restful; old; extra old.

There is a wide variety of tequilas, all must meet the standards to be called tequila. The commercial value is based not only on the quality of the content, but also on the brand, presentation and type of packaging, some have creative designs, there are even pieces made by hand by artisans.

The NOM is one of the different elements that you must observe in a bottle in order to verify that it is an authentic tequila.

The NOM password (Norma Oficial Mexicana) consisting of four digits is a unique password issued for each company that produces tequila. It means that the bottle is authentic tequila produced in Mexico. The number can be on the front or the back of the bottle.

With the NOM number you can know which producer your tequila comes from. NOMs can be shared. The brands that share NOM are produced by the same distillery.

Looking up a NOM online on sites like Tequila Matchmaker or some brands will instantly reveal where the tequila was made and what other brands of tequila were also made at that distillery.

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