All Tequilas Are Not Born Equal

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Posted: 4/24/2016 12:59:46 PM

With Cinqo de Mayo, that made up US-Mexican holiday, now in the rearview mirror but Summer still ahead, it’s time to talk turkey, er, ummm, tequilas.

A common misconception is that the number you see on the bottle is a way of rating the quality of the Tequila.  BUZZ! You just lost the Daily Double, Compadré. 

The number tells you in which distillery that bottle of yummy goodness was produced. Just like bourbon, where there are approximately fifteen licensed  tequila distilleries.  New ones are popping up every day, so I don’t exactly keep an updated count in my pocket, although maybe I should.  I can imagine it now: I’m walking down a dark, lonely alleyway…WHY am I in a dark anywhere??  Anyway, I am mugged.  Did you see that coming?  All I have in my pockets are the business cards of my attorney, and the latest count of Mexican tequila distilleries.  I am beaten and left for dead.  But that’s just my neurosis speaking.

There are many different labels and beverages being produced in the same buildings.  Take Bourbon and Tequila: Knob Creek and Bookers Bourbons are produced at the Jim Beam Distillery. Espolon and Cabo Wabo Tequila are produced in the same place.  Boom! Mike slam.  Out.

So, with tequila being produced all over creation, how is it regulated? What standards are in place that can help the average consumer make heads or tails of it all? 

Well, there’s NOM. 

The NOM is the Official Mexican Standard of Tequila that is regulated by the Mexican Government.  NOM contains detailed specifications to be followed by all individuals and companies producing Tequila. In short, the NOM protects the region in which the ingredients for the tequila were grown, regulates production and continually establishes standards required to ensure quality. Those companies that comply with the regulations set forth by the Tequila NOM are then certified by the TRC (Tequila Regulatory Council), and labeled as an authentic Tequila producer. There may or may not be a big party at the end of the process.  It really isn’t a part of the process, but who doesn’t like a party?

Now, if you’re a real nerd about your party beverages, like I am, you will devote some small amount of time to read the Official Mexican Standard of Tequila, for which I have conveniently provided this highly technical web linky thingy.

How can you tell if the tequila you are drinking is authentic? Look for the NOM number on either the front or back label on the bottle. The NOM number is a unique, government regulated distillery number. Many distilleries produce more than one brand of tequila, and some brands are exported, and some are only available in Mexico. Those products containing the same NOM # are produced from the same distille

Want to try to save a little cash while you explore the Wide World of Tequila? Take a look at your favorite Tequila bottle, get the NOM number, then try sampling another brand from the same distillery, as they will most likely be similar in the way they are produced. One may be WAYYYY less expensive than the other, but taste very much alike. Or, you may simply find tequila that you prefer over your old choice.

Use the NOM database, at to search by NOM number, brand name, or distillery name.                 

Now you’re ready for Margherita Monday, Tequila Sunrise Tuesday, Cabo Wabo Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday, Freaky Friday, and if you can remember the other two, you might not have needed this article.

Check out the tequilas we have available now, right here at