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The History of Tequila.

The history of tequila began with the Aztec people making a fermented beverage from the agave plant which they called octli (later and more popularly called pulque). This occurred long before the Spanish arrived in 1521. Then, in the 16th century when the Spaniards arrived in Mexico, the Conquistadors brought the process of distillation with them and the people of Tequila were quick to put it to good use. They knew that the blue agave plant contained sugars that could be fermented. When the Spanish conquistadors ran out of their own brandy, they began to distill this agave drink to produce North America's first indigenous distilled spirit . By fermenting and distilling the sweet sap of the blue agave plant, they produced liquor with a distinctive taste. For many years tequila was only consumed locally and most were sold almost exclusively at the distilleries. By the 90's, it became quite fashionable to sip tequila and its production soared. New brands were being introduced to a growing and discriminating market. People began to demand more authentic tequilas, particularly those made following artisan tradition and Premium Tequilas made 100% with the juices of the blue agave plant.

With the dawning of the new millennium, more brands came into the market and tequila has become one of the top three best seller liquors in the world. Extensive fields of blue agave plants were planted where it was not harvested before. Traveling in the western states of Mexico, there are beautiful rolling hills covered by pale blue agave that seem to go on for miles.

The increasing world-wide popularity of tequila in the early 2000s drove a big cooperate interest in the drink. This resulted in the purchase of many tequila brands being purchased and new tequila brands being formed. There are now over 100 distilleries making over 2,000 different brand names of tequila now.
Because of the high demand of tequila Mexico and the United States signed an agreement that allowed the continued bulk import of tequila into the US. This allowed the US to bottle tequila that has a minimum of 51% agave. The tequilas that have 100% agave still must be bottled in Mexico. It also created a tequila bottlers registry that identifies approved tequila bottlers.

As the brand ‘tequila’ is controlled by the Mexican government, it must comply with the strict Mexican government regulations. To make sure that tequila is genuine it has to be produced according to the strict standards. It also must bear the official standard, NOM (Norma Oficial Mexicana) and the Tequila Regulatory Council’s monogram (CRT) on the label. All Premium Tequila must be adorned with the ‘100% Agave’ marking on the label as well. Each approved tequila distiller gets its own NOM that ensures that the product complies with the official Denomination of Origin.

About the Author: Don Tekela has been in the search of the perfect Tequila for the past 20 years. He currently resides in Mexico, the tequila capital of the world.

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