Drink Life Beverages

Our Additive-Free Tequila Program: The Details

For the past several years we’ve been conducting blind tasting events for bartenders, aficionados, and casual

Although additives are permitted, they are rarely talked about in the industry and never appear on the

After years of study, we have become familiar with tequila profiles that rely on additives, and those

When we tell a taster a particular tequila’s profile is due to additives –whether they initially

Could we come up with a foolproof plan to detect any/all additive use, and catch any

As we learn more, the process will likely change, becoming stricter

We are not doing this because we think additives are bad, or we want to call out

Likewise, if someone enjoys tequilas that contain additives, we are not saying these people are wrong

As tequila lovers, we believe that additives should be disclosed because they are creating confusion in the

So, here’s a quick reminder on how additives are used in the tequila industry:

Additives (and “abocantes”) are generally used to change the aroma, flavor, color, mouthfeel, and intensity of sweetness

Their stated purpose is to maintain consistency between batches

Use of additives can be subtle, or dramatic, and it’s all perfectly legal

First, it’s important to understand that every distillery or brand is different, so our inspection process

The inspection for an entire distillery is different than that of a single brand within a distillery

For a distillery that produces one or several brands, the process involves the following:

– Access to production log books and transfer records that show purchases of supplies in and out of

We must witness the collection of these samples, and be able to take them back to our

– A side-by-side comparison of the official “witness” (test sample bottles saved in each distillery used for each

In addition, if we discover that the production processes for a particular product do not match what

For a brand that does not have the distillery’s permission to review production records, the process

(This gives us an idea of the aromas/flavors naturally produced during their process

If the end result is dramatically different, this would be a clue to dig deeper

– Collection of samples of blanco tequila direct from the still, and aged tequilas direct from the barrel (

– A side-by-side comparison of the “witness” (test sample) bottle with a retail version of that same batch

This training has been specialized, private, and under strict confidentiality

Although chemical analyses can be helpful in some instances (and used by us on an as-needed basis),

During these evaluation sessions, we look for consistency of product through the latter stages of production: distillation,

Should dramatic changes appear suddenly, the distillery will have an opportunity to explain the causes and further

These are then matched with the test samples (“witness” bottles of the same batch) and compared sensorially

As this is the first year of the program, we expect to be adding to this document,

In the meantime, we hope we are providing valuable work for tequila lovers, and the industry at

– Which tequilas have been already confirmed as additive-free?

– Are you taking into account changes to the final product due to oxygenation and filtration, and not

– How do I get my brand on this list? Is there a cost for the inspections?

– Are surprise inspections performed without notice to the distilleries?

– Additives are legally permitted in the tequila NORM, so why are you doing this?

– The distillery that makes my brand won’t allow any inspections

If your distiller still will not allow us to inspect your batch as it is being produced

– Are “mixto” (non-100% agave) products qualified for confirmation?

* We are talking about 100% agave tequilas, not flavored tequilas, or tequilas that contain more than 1% by volume,

1 states that the products defined in 5 sections, including 4

1, allows for “edulcorantes, colorantes, aromatizantes y/o saborizantes permitidos por la Secretaría de Salud” (sweeteners, coloring,