Monday, 2 May 2016



Francisco Soltero, Jaime Orendain of Tequila Arette and me at lunch in Guadalajara. Francisco was the Director General of the CNIT - The Mexican National Tequila Chamber- at this time. He is now Director of Strategic Planning and Public Affairs for Tequila Patron. He is on my left. He invited me to come to Hacienda Patron to visit him and since I am the Ambassador of Tequila of the CNIT and a personal friend I gladly accepted the invitation.

This is the "patio", the place where the harvested agave is placed ready to go into the oven.  There are 1300 employees at the distillery including the offices and bottling facility. Francisco tells me that Patron has a "people centered" approach to accomplish their small batch, artisanal, hand made, traditional tequila. At more than 2 million 9 liter cases a year production this is a challenge. 70 trucks a week carry Patron to the US.

This comparison was unique for me. The undercooked agave was watery and tasteless. The over cooked agave was concentrated in flavor like dried fruit. The middle sample was sweet and juicy. All is kept clean and orderly to avoid smells and bacteria. There are routinely tours of the distillery being conducted. There are 2 shifts a day in the plant. 60 hands touch the product along the way.

This is the "tahona" where the cooked agave is mashed. The sweet juice from this is mixed with roller mill juice extraction at a ratio of about 1 to 1. To achieve enormous volumes and still retain a "hands on" approach there are modules made up of ovens , milling, fermentation and distilling.  There are 5 modules of 6 ovens each, 2 tahona a, 39 wood fermenters and 11 stills.

This is Julio my guide showing me the wooden fermentation tanks. They use their own proprietary yeast. The copper stills are in the background. In between first and second distillation the "ordinario" is filtered. The water used in fermentation is from Patron's own well. Water is important since it makes up a large part of what goes into the fermentation tanks along with the sweet cooked agave juice and yeast.

The roller mill extracting juice from the cooked, shredded agave.

Part of the purification process of "vinasas" (that liquid left over after distillation which can be harmful to the environment). Patron has a strong desire to be careful with environmental matters.

The agave fibers left over from production are composted to break them down to be used as soil enrichment. This is part of the respect that Patron expresses. 

This respect is also evident in,

- the treatment of the employees
- the neighbors, Patron has programs in Atotonilco -the city in which it is located- which support needy children , a food bank and education for growing one's own food
- on the day I visited Francisco had been to the city of Atotonilco to plan development of tourism for the city to bring in income 
- the relations with "agaveros"- the agave farmers-by having fair agreements with them for future agave prices

Casa Patrón

This is Julio and Francisco outside of "Casa Patron". I may have been one of the first visitors to this facility. It is a distillery that used to be owned by Tequila Viejito and is now part of Patron production. This is in a residential neighborhood of Atotonilco that grew up around the plant. The respect for the neighbors is important.

                                        The "patio" of Casa Patron. Everything is clean and maintained.

An oven at Casa Patron, notice the screen door. Something I've not seen before having visited scores of tequila distilleries.

Roller mill at Casa Patron.

Wooden fermenters at Casa Patron. The 55% abv tequila from here is transported to Hacienda Patron to be blended with Patron made there. 

Here we are doing a comparative tasting at the Hacienda Patron. One sample is 100% roller mill tequila at 58 % abv and the other is 100% tahona tequila at 55%abv. For the standard line of Patron the 2 are mixed together. The 2 are definitely different. Between Julio, Francisco and I we had different favorites. We knew which was which while comparing and this undoubtedly influenced me and I suspect the others too. 

The Hacienda is completing construction on a hotel to receive guests and is expected to be done this summer, 2016. It is on the grounds of the Hacienda and should be as extraordinary as the tequilas that are produced there.

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