What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of tequila? For many Texans, it’s the refreshing first sip of a cold ranch water, or the guaranteed smile a well-made margarita leaves you with. Perhaps “tequila” conjures the earthier tones of a nice Añejo in your mind, aged in oak barrels, sipped neat in your favorite leather chair.
No matter where your mind first goes when you think of this beautiful drink gifted to us by the agave plant, your thoughts should ultimately spend a little time pouring over the history, the process, the quality and the care that goes into the art of producing tequila. Pair some of that knowledge with a product sampling, and we here at Printed Threads think you’ll come to the same conclusion we did: El Tequileño reigns supreme.
Don Jorge Salles Cuervo established El Tequileño in Tequila, Jalisco in 1959. His son Juan Antonio joined the business in 1970, and grandson Jorge Antonio “Tony” Salles came aboard in 2005. To say this third-generation distillery takes its craft seriously is putting it lightly.
“For 65 years, the Salles family have only made El Tequileño at our distillery, one of only 10 brands that can say they’ve never made any other tequila in their distillery,” says Kevin Kennedy, Vice President and National Sales Manager of Paradise Spirits Ltd., who acquired El Tequileño in 2017 to “share Mexico’s best kept secret with the world.” This uniqueness is evident on every bottle via the Norma Oficial Mexicana number, which denotes that the bottle is authentic tequila produced in Mexico. El Tequileño – and only El Tequileño – carries NOM 1108.
The award-winning distillery sources the highest quality agave from the highlands of Jalisco, while pioneering the use of steam pressure autoclaves and using mineral rich volcanic spring water from the Volcán de Tequila. They also utilize their grove of 150-year-old mango trees in the fermentation process, distill exclusively in copper pot stills, and are 100% additive free.
While tradition is a cornerstone of El Tequileño’s brand, they continue to push forward and innovate without sacrificing quality. “In addition to traditional use of used whiskey barrels, we have expanded our barrel program to include the use of French and American wine barrels, which bring a wide range of flavors and aromas,” Kennedy says.
El Tequileño places a large focus on sustainability as well.
According to their web site:
“We are continually adapting to optimize our process and positively impact local conservation efforts. Currently, 98% of our production residuals are converted into organic compost. This compost is then used as fertilizer for our next generation of agaves. We are also leading efforts towards the preservation of local water sources.”
Culture is also of the utmost importance, and El Tequileño strives to provide their invigorating spirit through a number of efforts. Whether it’s teaming up with Fort Worth-based record label Matte Black Sound Company to produce the Best Kept Secret Sessions – “a series of recording sessions showcasing artists that you might not have heard of, but will fall in love with soon enough” – or featuring recipes from top chefs that incorporate El Tequileno into magnificent dishes, their brand’s inspiration and character is as smooth as the finish of their expressions.
We are proud to showcase our client El Tequileño on this National Tequila Day, and hope you will check out their quality line of products. “We only put our name on something that is made with equal quality and professionalism,” Kennedy says, “and that is what our partnership with Printed Threads provides for us.”
Oh, and if you’re wondering what your next tequila drink should be, I asked Kevin for an insider’s perspective: “My favorite suggestion for a unique twist on an iconic cocktail is to use our Reposado Gran Reserva in place of whiskey in an Old Fashioned…game changer!”