Otro Tequila

News directly from Jalisco's famed tequila regions

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Tequila, er, agave, the new superfood?

People in Jalisco like to promote tequila as a bit of a cure-all. And yes, a shot of tequila is always difficult to turn down. (What is it Homer Simpson once said? To alcohol, the cause and solution of all of life's problems?)

But on a more serious note, researchers at the University of Guadalajara are finding the most useful compounds in the agave plant. (Tequila is made from the roasted agave hearts.) Agave is full of inulin, and miel de agave (agave syrup) supposedly contains a sugar profile that's okay for diabetics. Now agave apparently could help deliver drugs into the intestine. Agave compounds can apparently survive stomach acids that destroy most drugs.

Look for more agave products to appear on health food store shelves in the meantime. As for miel de agave, it doesn't do anything for me, but that's a personal preference. I'll certainly keep drinking tequila, though - Cazadores reposado straight up is a favorite.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Gov. gives money to agave growers

Agave reception

The Mexican government unveiled a plan to give agave growers 200 million pesos. The price of agave has bottomed out at around one peso per kilo for several years after reaching as high as 16 pesos per kilo in the late 1990s.

Agriculture secretary - and former Jalisco governor - Alberto Cardenas Jimenez announced the relief, but commented that the previous high price drove many growers to plant agave and attracted many speculators into the industry. Agave arriving from outside of the designated growing area - Jalisco and certain municipalities of Nayarit, Michoacan, Guanajuato and Tamaulipas - is also aggravating the situation.

Somewhat ironically, the Jalisco government's rural development secretariat forcasts the supply of agave will plunge by the end of the decade after the glut works itself out, which would, of course, put the same boom-bust cycle in motion again.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Tequila Ley .925 sets world record

ley 925 tequila

A bottle of tequila similar to this one, but crafted from pure platinum just set an official world record for being the most expensive bottle of liquor ever sold. It fetched $225,000 last July. A 50-year-old bottle of Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whisky held the previous record. Ley .925, the tequila distiller - it seems the actual tequila is an afterthought here - will auction off a similar bottle studded with diamonds next year for $1 million.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Canned cocktails hit the market

Several distillers recently rolled out ready-to-go mixed drinks - made with real spirits and not malt - that are now available in cans. According to The Bar Blog, the drinks are selling well in test markets.

These beverages, while new in the U.S., are old news in other countries. I used to work in a promotions business that pushed these products in the late 90s, when seemingly every brewer and distiller was releasing coolers - and Mike's Hard Lemonade was the category leader. The appeal - mainly for women - was the sweet taste and seven-percent alcohol content. (And the virtue industry bristles at the appeal of lower-alcohol alcopops - a pejorative term for a legally available product that young people happen to enjoy.) Malt has a funny taste and why these new products took so long to hit the market is a mystery.

On an interesting side note: Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc Moctezuma, the maker of Sol beer, introduced Sol Citric, a malt cooler, earlier this summer, which is sold in Mexico's ubiquitous Oxxo convenience stores. The new product mainly competes with tequila coolers - especially Herradura's New Mix.

For something completely different, I tried canned pulque a few months back. It still tasted rather unappealing - just like fresh pulque - but at least I avoided the seedy pulqueria atmosphere.

Money for agave farmers, but the glut continues

The federal agriculture secretariat (Sagarpa) recently mandated 59 million peso for farmers stuck hoarding low-value agave, which not all that long ago was dubbed "blue gold." The agave glut, which came about after a price spike in the late 1990s, has hit farmers in Western Mexico hard - especially in Jalisco. The high prices induced many to enter the industry and farmers in states like San Luis Potosi and Zacatecas - which are not part of the authorized agave-growing or tequila-producing regions - planted agave, as it grows in the some of the most steep and inhospitable terrain imaginable.

Even with the help from Segarpa, the glut should persist until 2009, according to the Jalisco Rural Development Secretariat. At that time, another shortage could come again - restarting the boom-bust cycle.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Tequila song author passes away

Thanks for this update goes to blogger Joe Gringo. Danny Flores, author of the hit (I don't know what other adjective to use) song Tequila, passed away recently.

The song, played by the Champs, only had only one lyric, "Tequila," but, damn, it sure got played a lot - although, I'm not sure it was ever all that popular here in Mexico. (Maybe Sammy Hagar's Mas tequila and Paulina Rubio's Dame otro tequila were given more airplay ... but they both lacked Flores' originality - he made the song in 1958, when tequila wasn't held in very high esteem. Hagar, of course, is pitching Cabo Wabo these days. Rubio ... she's a fresa trying to convince people she's a rebel.)

Friday, September 22, 2006

Interesting tequila figures

maguey - it's similar to agave, but not the same.

According to figures released by the Camara Nacional de la Industria Tequilera, tequila comprises 45 percent of all hard liquor sales in Mexico and production grew by 19 percent over the past year. Tequila consumption outside of Mexico also continued to grow; sales jumped by 22 percent last year.

Although a beverage commonly associated with campesinos, outlaws and macho revolutionaries, women and men now drink tequila in equal numbers.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Jack Daniels takes over Herradura

Following the trend of large foreign-owner liquor companies moving into Mexico's tequila industry, Brown-Forman, the maker of Jack Daniel's Tennessee whisky, swallowed up Casa Herradura, the country's second- or third-largest tequila distiller. (Sauza and Herradura are roughly equal in size.) Herradura, based in Amatitan, Jalisco, makes and sells tequila under the Herradura and El Jimador brands along with New Mix tequila coolers. The Tequila Express, a booze-cruise on rails, runs most Saturdays from Guadalajara to the Herradura factory in Amatitan, which neighbors the municipality of Tequila.

Brown-Forman paid US $876 million for Herradura, which means horseshoe in Spanish and was founded 136 years ago. Rum distiller Baccardi previously scooped up Arandas-based Cazadores and industry leader Jose Cuervo is part owned by Diageo.