Saturday, April 2, 2011

Virtual Tour of the Herradura Tequila Factory

Upon entrance

The hacienda San  José del Refugio is the heart of Casa Herradura, a place filled with stories of priests, orphans, ghosts, witches, working people, and a long family saga which all plays a part in the tequila that is made there. The name "Herradura", meaning horseshoe, was coined after the discovery of gold in the dust in the early 1900s. The name has stuck ever since giving the Hacienda good fortune, and good luck to those drinking Herradura tequila all over the world. Ahem. 
Greeted with Herradura's new product: tequila soda mixes in a can!

Tequila is actually made in Tequila, a red volcanic soil rich city in the Mexican state of Jalisco. Tequila can only legally be produced in the state Jalisco and four other regions in Mexico. The blue agave takes about 9 years to grow until it can be harvested for Tequila purposes. It must be harvested and processed manually by a jimador (see below). 

How the jimador preps the agave for roasting

Inside of a blue agave

Blue agaves ready for roasting

One of the unique aspects of Herradura's tequila is that they continue to roast their agave in clay ovens. No other tequila factories maintain this old tradition. 

Roasty and Toasty

The smell of roasted agave is divine. Almost like fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. The taste is of an ultra sugary sweet potato, with non ingestible fibers attached for texture. 

Roasted Agave Porn

Too many good things at once. Whoa.

The roasted agave is pressed into a honey and further processed. 

Not what it looks like!

Then sent for fermentation. Mango, Lime and Pomegranate trees surround the plant to attract natural yeasts to help with the fermentation process. 

At this point, the tequila brown juice is about 5% alcohol. 

Getting frothy with it

They even let is stick our fingers in for a taste.

The brown juice is then sent to the next stage: becoming fire water. 

The old plant is next to the new one, so below is quick scan of what the good ol' days were like:

Tequila kept in slotted vats seen on floor

Old distillation coppers

Catholic relics everywhere, of course.


Herradura's tequilas
Following the tour, a tasting commenced. Gotta love the water too, named after a beautiful Greek island. I couldn't help myself :-)


Ivy said...

Thanks for the virtual tour. Had no idea how tequila is produced.
Santorini,eh? Maybe the owner is of Greek origin :)

JustinM said...

Although I do not like Tequila at all, this was very fun to see and read.

Banana Wonder said...

Ivy - Haha, I know right?! I was so happy to see Greek water in Mexico. hehe

Justin - I am not a tequila fan either so much as I am a wuss and have a hard time swallowing hard alcohol. This stuff was smooth though! Few!

Helen said...

Interesting tour. I learned so much. I always have a bottle of agave sweetener in my cupboard. Tequila, on the other hand, I go out to the form of a lime margarita mmm! :D

Rachel said...

What an interesting tour! I love seeing the pics of the old factory too. I just found your blog, I'm a Portlander too, you picked a good time to go to Mexico and get out of the rain!!

Banana Wonder said...

Helen - Haha thanks, I am with you in the lime marg category all the way. Still can't drink it straight...but the people next to me always can...

Rachel - Thanks for stopping by!

tasteofbeirut said...

Interesting! Made me realize the immense effort behind it and the traditions too. Love that honey from the agave, wow!

SouthBayGuy said...

Thank you so much for the pics. Believe it or not, I've never been to Mexico even tho I've lived here for 35 years. This may be the stick to off my arse. I've found that the Anjeo is much like a good scotch and I'm able to drink it straight. MOLAA down here has a great tequila tasting event.

Banana Wonder said...

tasteofbeirut - Thanks! I know, I have so much more appreciation for tequila now too, although I still can't drink it straight.

SouthBayGuy - You really should travel South some time! But then again there is so much good stuff there in So Cal...