Tequila is a popular Mexican alcoholic drink made from the agave plant. It is amazingly popular, and the companies on this list are making a fortune selling it. There are many ways to consume tequila – it is often taken straight as shots. It can also be mixed and turned into zippy margaritas. These 13 brands have done the most to export this Mexican heritage to the world:
The story of this brand begins in 1758 when Don Jose Antonio de Cuervo was granted royal permission to cultivate and harvest the blue agave plant in the Jalisco region of Mexico. Today Jose Cuervo is owned and operated by the Beckmann family, who are relatives of Don Jose Antonio de Cuervo himself. The brand began its U.S. ascent in the 1940s after prohibition when tequila smuggling from Mexico became popular in the American Southwest. This reposada gives it a good taste for those that prefer to sip, rather than mixing.
Currently the best-selling tequila in Mexico, El Jimador is made from hand-harvested blue agave. It is a premium tequila known to use authentic Blue Weber agave that has been hand-harvested, organically fermented, and double-distilled. The tequila is then rested in barrels for two months, ensuring a smooth finish. It is good to go for both sipping and mixing, indicating its flexible palatability.
Pioneered by celebrity Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson, Teremana has taken the market by storm in spite of its relatively late entry into the market. Teremana Tequila offers two expressions, blanco (unaged) and reposado (aged). These iterations are produced using 100 percent Blue Weber agave which is roasted in traditional brick ovens and distilled in handmade copper stills. Teremana translates to “spirit of the earth”, a homage to the Rock’s Polynesian roots.
Espolòn is known for its affordability and good taste, being part of the Campari America family perfect for mixing cocktails, though it can also be taken straight. It has a beautiful label, with vibrant artwork that pays homage to the 19th-century Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada. The name Espolon means spur and is a reference to a rooster’s spur, with the rooster being a symbol of national pride in Mexico
Cabo Wabo was founded by American rock star Sammy Hagar in 1996. Cabo Wabo prides itself on its cutting process, which involves cutting the heart of the agave plant, known as the pina into just four thick quarters. This helps their finished tequila keep some noticeably earthy tones. Cabo Wabo was for a time the only 100 percent blue agave tequila available in the United States, being the first to enter the market. Hagar sold 80 percent of the brand to Skyy Spirits for $80 million in 2007.
Anejo tequila is most commonly aged for one year, but Avión goes the extra mile, keeping their tequila in the barrel for two years. The extra-long aging process is what gives the tequila its recognizable amber color. Many tequila drinkers prefer aged expressions for sipping, but Avion is superbly balanced and can also be enjoyed in a margarita.
Don Cenobio founded a distillery called La Perseverancia in 1873 in Tequila, Mexico. Over a century later, in 2005, his descendant Guillermo founded Tequila Fortaleza. The Tequila Fortaleza Distillery is a tourist attraction, and any fan of artisanal tequila must add it to their travel plans. Every glass bottle sold by the company is hand-blown and finished with a hand-painted lid.
Hornitos was founded by Don Franciso Jabier Sauza on Mexico’s Independence DaySeptember 16 1950. Hornitos tequila is a standard mid-shelf bottle. A great buy for any casual occasion where you aren’t looking to spend much, but don’t want to sacrifice taste, with a strong agave flavor accompanied by hints of citrus. Hornitos Reposado is aged in 10,000-gallon oak barrels called pipones.
Another newer distillery, Milagro was created by two friends (Daniel Schneeweiss and Moises Guindi) in 1997. They were assisted by Pedro Juarez, a master Distiller in Mexico. Their bottles also stand out from the rest 87and are easily recognizable. Milagro Tequila is distilled using two different methods, firstly in a traditional pot still and then in a stainless-steel column still. It is then aged in American and French oak barrels.
Dano’s was created as a result of an American tequila lover combining with one of the oldest family-owned distilleries in Mexico (Hacienda de Reyes) to produce this award-winning tequila. The blanco is the sweetest of the bunch, making it ideal for sipping and mixing into cocktails. Dano’s signature, though, is a pineapple and jalapeno infused tequila with an incredibly smooth texture
Don Julio González was known to painstakingly plant his agave plants further apart than usual to allow them to grow to their fullest potential before being harvested. It is now the number one tequila brand in Mexico. The famous 1942 variety aged for more than two and a half years in oak barrels, which give it a smooth taste.
A brainchild of George Clooney, Rande Gerber, and Mike Meldman, Casamigos is distilled by Diageo Mexico Operaciones S.A. de C.V. It was a secret among the three friends and their families until they decided to release their “house tequila” to the public. It was awarded the Spirits Brand of the Year 2020, by Market Watch Magazine
Originally made by Casa 7 Laguas, an old Mexican distillery, Patron was purchased by St Marten spirits in the late 1980s. In 2018, Patrón was sold to Bacardi for $5.1 billion With only over a quarter-century in the tequila scene under its belt, Patrón set itself apart with brilliant marketing and unique bottle designs. The brand is known for its amazing quality and attention to detail, with both its bottles and the casks being handmade.
In a move to take ownership of the term “tequila,” the Mexican government declared the term as its intellectual property in 1974. This made it necessary for tequila to be made and aged in certain areas of Mexico, and it also made it illegal for other countries to produce or sell their own “tequila.”. So we don’t expect any changes in the origins of the best tequila brands on the planet, but don’t rule out a new player from Mexico coming in and shaking the market up.k