It’s one thing to talk about handcrafted tequila; it’s another thing entirely to maintain a tireless dedication to perfection ensuring consistency and quality with one goal in mind: to create the finest tequila in the world. So how does PATRÓN maintain the highest level of craftsmanship that originally defined the ultra-premium tequila category? By staying true to its mission: crafting every batch of tequila by hand from the very best ingredients, the same way it has since its founding in 1989.
From hand-harvesting the highest-quality 100 percent Weber Blue agave to the traditional, time-honored distillation process and individual labeling, numbering, and inspection of each bottle, PATRÓN Tequila is crafted with meticulous precision and care. Not everyone in the industry can claim a similar commitment to quality. In 2021, revenue growth of the tequila category in the U.S., which is the world’s largest tequila market, was up 30.1 percent and volume was up 20.8 percent. While that kind of explosive growth elevates the ultra-premium tequila category, booming demand also incentivizes corner cutting and compromises the integrity and quality of the liquid. To keep up, some producers have turned to industrial diffusers — massive extractors that speed agave processing at the expense of flavor — as well as flavor additives and coloring that aim to mask imperfections in the finished spirit.
As increasingly savvy consumers grow wise to these production shortcuts, PATRÓN continues to distinguish itself by making tequila the traditional way, in small batches with time-tested methods using only high-quality raw ingredients to develop deep, complex flavors. It’s not the fastest or cheapest way to make tequila, but it’s the way PATRÓN has done things from the beginning — one small, handcrafted batch at a time.
At Hacienda PATRÓN, more than 2,000 employees go to extraordinary lengths to make tequila in a way that respects tradition while also delivering a tequila of superior quality. That painstaking process starts with selecting and harvesting the highest quality ripe 100 percent Weber Blue agave. A team of skilled workers called jimadors — many of whom descend from generations of agave farmers — take great care to find and uproot only those Weber Blue agave with optimal sugar content. Using a sharp tool called a coa, they strip away the leaves to reveal the heart of the plant, the piña.
After being hand-chopped, PATRÓN bakes the piñas in small brick ovens to deliver a complex and consistent flavor, rather than in industrial autoclaves, which is a quicker method. Then, it mills its cooked agave using rotor mills and traditional tahona stones — massive, two-ton stone wheels that crush the agave fibers to release their sugars. The resulting mixture is fermented for three days, distilled in batches using small copper pot stills rather than larger, higher-volume distillation vessels, and, in some cases, aged in handmade barrels.
None of these processes are merely gratuitous nods to tradition. A longer cook with periods of rest between steaming results in more evenly cooked agave piñas, and the slow-moving tahona mill allows the sugary juice it presses from the cooked agave to retain more complex agave flavors than juice produced by faster industrial milling processes. Yeast also plays an important role in the production of PATRÓN Tequila, with the distillery employing its own proprietary yeast strain not used by any other tequila maker during the fermentation process. And finally, using smaller copper stills for the distillation process allows greater interaction between distillate and copper, resulting in a more complex and flavorful finished tequila.
No fewer than 60 hands touch every bottle of PATRÓN as it makes its way from the red, iron-rich agave fields of the Jalisco highlands to the drinker’s glass. Every single one of the PATRÓN familia contributes to keeping PATRÓN’s commitment to honoring tradition while producing the world’s finest tequila. Here’s the path that each bottle takes on its journey toward tequila perfection.
This article is sponsored by PATRÓN.
Published: March 14, 2022