I just got back from Mexico, and I’m very pleased to announce that we have started operations with our new distilling partner, Destiladora Juanacatlán. With our never ending quest to be the best tequila company for all stakeholders involved, this move brings a lot of advantages for our employees, customers, and the larger community. Below I have highlighted what to expect, but in future posts I hope to highlight some of the wonderful people that make all of this possible.
Juanacatlán is a cooperative created in 2007 by the Agave Growers of Mexico. With over 70 farmer members; Juanacatlán empowers the farmers that grow and harvest our Blue Weber Agave to share in the success of the final tequila. It is commonplace in the tequila industry to have small farmers harvest their agaves only to sell at a steep discount to a large distillery that can use their size to force farmers to sell at very low prices. Being vertically integrated, our farmers are also owners of the business, and we have predictable fair pricing throughout our supply chain.
This equitable culture flows to all facets of our business, with higher wages for employees, safe and healthy work conditions, adequate breaks throughout the day, and accommodating family friendly work schedule. This type of work culture, while not commonplace in the industry, fits our company motto “Para la buena vida”. Spending the day at the distillery, I am energized by all the hardworking people coming together to create great tequila (and we enjoy it from time to time as well). While our operation is modest down here, we have a lot of room to grow, and excited to do so with such a great team.
With great pride we are happy to announce that we are making better tequila at Juanacatlán, without increasing our prices. This is being done by using more mature agaves, traditional cooking techniques (Switching from Autoclaves to brick ovens to cook our agaves), and more stringent quality standards. Our newest tequila has the same vegetal aromas and refreshing piquancy of all the Tanteo Tequilas we have made before, but has a wonderful agave sweetness that complements perfectly with the Jalapeño. We should be hitting store shelves in November with our newest batch and are very excited for everyone to try it!
Juanacatlán is committed to being a good member of the community. Hiring locally, with a commitment to the environment, and an effort to make life better for the community around. We sponsor local races, use one of the only water treatment facilities in the industry for our tequila byproducts, and donate to charitable causes. As we grow we expect to do more of this, and be a positive influence to our neighboring towns of Juanacatlán, El Salto, and San Antonio Juanacaxtle. My dream is to one day be in a position to help the nearby polluted Rio Santiago which used to be a source of pride to the community.
While we have already started production at Juanacatlán, it will take us some time to get settled, and build our infrastructure to facilitate long term growth. Our first blend of 20,000 L required days of labor intensive manual filtration, was quite messy, and very inefficient (we wasted a bunch of tequila and no one likes that). We have a lot of plans to show it off after our installation is complete, and hope we can welcome many of you down there in the coming years for a margarita at the source. Below is a picture of me, our Mexican Operations Manager Ernesto and Export Manager Bruno enjoying one with the samples of our first production at Juanacatlan.
Para la Buena Vida,