Jose Antonio de Cuervo y Valdes obtained land from the King of Spain in 1758 and began producing tequila – all before Mexico became an independent republic. In 1795, his son, Jose María Guadalupe de Cuervo, began selling the very first Vino Mezcal de Tequila de Jose Cuervo after receiving the first official charter from the King of Spain to produce tequila commercially.
Jose Cuervo has been making tequila for over 250 years with the same experience, handcraftsmanship, and recipes that have been handed down generation through generation. Carefully choosing the best agaves, meticulous fermentation and distillation, and final processing result in the world’s finest tequila.
Specifically, the central Mexican town of Tequila in the state of Jalisco. According to the Declaration for the Protection of the Denomination of Origin ( the Mexican law that oversees the protection of Tequila), only alcoholic beverages made with Blue Agave or Agave Azul (Agave Tequilana Weber blue variety) grown in the states of Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, Guanajuato and Tamaulipas can be labeled tequila. No agave grown outside this region, including other countries, can be used for any product labeled as “tequila.”
Tequila received a Designation of Origin (appellation de controlee) in 1974. It’s the same as an appellation for Bordeaux, Bourbon or Cognac. The Mexican federal government has established strict requirements governing tequila production.
Real tequila is made from a plant called Blue Agave. Only the Agave Azul Tequilana Weber variety can be used for tequila. Classified by German botanist F. Weber in 1905, Blue Agave is commonly mistaken for a cactus, but it’s really a relative of the lily (amaryllis) family. Blue Agave is sometimes known as maguey, mexic, pita and teometl.
The piña (Spanish word for pineapple) is the fruit or, “heart,” of the agave from which sugars are extracted and tequila is made. The word piña is used because once harvested, the heart of the plant resembles a pineapple.
This is when the piña reaches its peak in sugars and will yield the most tequila. Each plant is only harvested once, and then more agave must be planted to continue the production process.
The two spirits are often confused, but they are very different. For example, Tequila can only be made from the Blue Agave, grown in specified regions of Jalisco, while mezcal can be made from many different varieties of agave such as Mano Larga, Espadin, etc. Tequila is always double-distilled, while mezcal is generally distilled once.
The worm is found only in certain bottles of mezcal.
Jose Cuervo produces at 38% to 40% alcohol by volume (ABV), just like most spirits. Tequila, however, has a unique flavor and is frequently consumed straight as a shot. This intense taste experience may be what leads people to mistakenly think that tequila is “stronger.”
Tequila must be “rested” in wood barrels for a minimum of two months. This is a requirement of the Mexican government. The “resting” mellows and refines the tequila, producing a combination of superb smoothness and great taste.
Translated from Spanish, “añejo” means “aged.” In tequila terms, “añejo” is the designation for tequila that has been aged in oak barrels for at least one year.
Normas specify what tequila is and how it must be made. Each bottle of real tequila must have a NOM (Normas Oficiales Mexicanas) 4-digit number on the bottle. This number indicates the distillery where the Tequila is made. Jose Cuervo’s NOM numbers are 1104 and 1122.
The largest collection of tequila bottles in the US is over 2000 bottles and was built by collector Lou Barton.