The Land of Cuervo
The La Cofradia distillery produces around 4,000 gallons of tequila a day using a traditional process, says Castaneda.“We produce more than 43 brands of tequila for ourselves and other brands. We export 70 percent of what we produce to countries including the United States, Canada, Italy, England, China and Japan.”
Guests can go horseback riding in the agave fields, watch the harvest and see the distillery process. A visit here, says Castaneda, is more than a hotel stay.“You see and feel the tequila.” The Mundo Cuervo experience, which is the tourism division of the tequila maker, begins with the Jose Cuervo Express train. “It’s like the Orient Express, but with tequila, says Andrea Cid sales manager for Mundo Cuervo. “It goes from Guadalajara to Tequila. The train holds 375 people and includes guides who explain what guests are seeing during the ride and what will happen when they get to Tequila.”
The Cuervo distillery, located in the town of Tequila, is the oldest one in Mexico. “It’s still family owned and 100 percent Mexican,”Cid says. Cuervo is the biggest tequila producer in the world, with a 30 percent market share. It exports nearly four million cases a year to the US market alone, and more than 60 percent of its revenue comes from the US and Canada.
The trip includes a stop at the La Rojeña distillery, which welcomes up to 1,000 visitors day.“We also offer professional tequila tastings, where we explain the unique characteristics of the drink,”Cid explains.“We also take visitors to the agave fields to see it harvested.”The distillery has eight tasting rooms that can accommodate up to 15 visitors each.
Guests also have the chance to take a special guided tour of La Rojeña’s Family Reserve cellar, where they can bottle their own tequila. The bottle includes an authenticity seal, serial number and date of bottling. After the tour, visitors can have a drink in the distillery’s Margarita Bar or shop in the Jose Cuervo store and buy their tequila, branded souvenirs and local Mexican handicrafts.
Mundo Cuervo also operates the Hotel Solar de Las Animas, the only luxury hotel in the town of Tequila. The hotel features a convention center, Hacienda El Centario, that can accommodate up to 3,000 people for meetings and events in different indoor and outdoor venues.
Like other tequila producers, representatives from La Cofradia goes around the world to do tastings and educate drinkers, says Castaneda.“Tequila is the classic drink from Mexico that comes from the beautiful agave plant. It’s a strong drink with its own personality that has been around for more than 400 years,”she says.
There is no best tequila, says Castaneda. “The best one is the one you prefer.You just need to enjoy it.”