Drink Life Beverages

What’s In Your Tequila? An Editorial.

After all, 100% agave tequila traditionally comprises of three things: cooked agave, water, and yeast (before aging)

This vodka-like tequila then has to be watered down (to 40% abv), leaving it without the signature characteristics

(We’ve talked about additives in detail before, and how they are permitted under the law if

The increased reliance on additives has us concerned on a few fronts

So, it seems a damn shame to use these agaves to make a neutral spirit

They will harvest them at three or four years, which disrupts the agave growth cycle for traditional

This is because immature agaves don’t yet contain enough sugar for traditional production equipment to extract

A jimador for Tequila Fortaleza harvests mature agave plants in a field in El Arenal, Jalisco

And because diffuser producers use a sped-up process with immature agaves they often need additives to create

Users of our app often describe these artificial aromas as “fake fruit”, “fake pine”, vanilla, cake batter,

Additives for aged products usually consist of extra vanilla, caramel, and in more extreme incidents, cake batter

Sometimes they also add sweeteners, like cane sugar, agave syrup, or aspartame-like high intensity compounds

Consumers who are not tequila aficionados often like these products because they do not taste “strong” and

After all, they usually don’t know that the tequila they are drinking does not resemble a

Take, for instance, the recent popularity of “cristalinos” in Mexico, which is now taking foot in the

Few drinkers of these products realize that in order to strip away all of the color from

Tequila consumers should not expect each batch to be identical

Extra añejo samples at Tequila Tequileño, which is confirmed additive-free

Color differences produced by different barrels are normal, but due to the expectation of consistency in tequila,

Additives were initially allowed so that producers could meet an unrealistic expectation of “consistency”, an expectation that

That’s why we believe that additive use should at least be disclosed on the label for

Simply put, that old 1% limit leaves plenty of room to do more than slight consistency adjustments

Admittedly, there is a place in the market for both industrialized and traditional tequilas, but we think

We believe that a movement toward more detailed labeling and transparency is needed in the tequila industry —

Tequila producers could do the same by changing the NORMA, or official rules of the industry

) We are not saying that brands that use additives are doing anything wrong

We just think that the industry just needs to do a better job of labeling

We have even heard from brands that wanted to be more transparent, but were prevented from doing

(Presumably because other brands without the label would be called into question

So, we know there are industry players that see the value of being honest with their consumers

This is why we decided to launch our Additive-Free Confirmation Program

You can read all about the process, and the products that have already passed

Additive use is an important consideration among members of the Tequila Matchmaker community

This is our process, we don’t claim that it’s perfect, but it is a great

We realize that our opinions on these matters aren’t as safe as the data and facts

We also realize that we will take some (or a lot) of heat for this program, but

Want to join our movement? Share this story and encourage your friends to support transparency in tequila

During the cooking process, the sugars then bond with the fibers

Extraction via tahona, roller mill, or screw mill cannot extract 100% of those fermentable sugars because some remain

Diffusers, on the other hand, remove the fibers before cooking and can therefore gain nearly 100% efficiency during

**There are exceptions when not everything is filtered out, but this is rare