It all starts with agave. Every drop of tequila – distilled at every tequila distillery in Mexico – begins with Blue Weber Agave (also called “Agave Azul” or “Tequilana Weber” Agave).
While there are hundreds of different identified varieties of agave, only the Blue Weber varietal can legally be used to produce tequila. Mezcal, by contrast, can be made from dozens of types of agave.
A little history on Blue Weber Agave and tequila…
Agave – also called “maguey” – is part of the lily family (and not the cactus family) and has been part of Mexican culture for thousands of years. Used for its fermentable juice, it was also used to make ornaments, baskets, soap, and textiles.
Blue Weber Agave was named for the German botanist, Franz Weber, who studied the flora of the region in the last decade of the 19th century. In 1949, the Mexican government established this species of agave to be the main agave in the production of tequila. It wasn’t until the 1970s when it was decreed that Blue Weber be the only type of agave to create tequila.
Why Blue Weber Agave? Many say this varietal of agave was selected for tequila because of its high production of sugars and its shorter life cycle compared to other types of agave.
Though agave grows throughout Mexico (and the southwestern United States as well), only Blue Weber Agave cultivated in the Mexican state of Jalisco and parts of four other surrounding states – Michoacán, Nayarit, Guanajuato, and Tamaulipas – is permitted for the different categories of tequila.
The cultivation of Blue Weber Agave
Every agave field in the denomination of origin in Mexico is logged and registered with tequila’s regulatory agency, the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (or “CRT”). The CRT must be notified when a field is cropped.
Some 50 million agave plants are harvested in Mexico each year, and that number only continues to grow as the popularity of tequila skyrockets across the world. Before a single bottle of tequila is produced, agave farmers and tequila distilleries have the difficult task of keeping up with the demand, forecasting how much agave to plant, and scheduling when to harvest. Though agave can be harvested year-round, it can only be planted from April to June before the region’s rainy season.
Agave farmers employ expert agronomists who monitor the fields and determine when the agave is ready for harvest. On average, it takes about six to seven years for Blue Weber agave to reach adulthood.
In some agave plants, a tall stem called a “quiote” grows from the center of the plant, which is a sign that the agave is mature and ready for harvest. If the quiote is allowed to grow, it will rob the agave of its sugars, and it will eventually kill the plant.
Agave is cut by skilled craftsmen known as “jimadores” who use a razor-sharp instrument called a “coa” to carefully remove the plant from the ground and strip away the agave’s rigid pointed leaves to reveal the heart of the plant, the “piña.”
It’s an exact science determining how much of the leaves to remove – agave farmers are typically paid by the weight of the piñas they deliver to the distillery, so their preference naturally is to keep as much of the leaves as possible on the agave. But too many of those green leaves can lead to bitter flavors in the final product.
Once an agave field is harvested, best practice dictates that the ground and soil be allowed to rest and regenerate for a period of up to a year. During this time, other crops such as corn or green peas are grown before agave is planted again.
Blue Weber Agave and Inspiro Tequila
To produce Inspiro Tequila, we only harvest our agave at the very peak of maturity, with a high level of sugar content. We also specify an exact trim when removing the agave’s leaves to ensure the signature, sweeter taste profile of our tequila.
It is our goal at Inspiro Tequila to maintain the quality of our flavor and taste in every bottle. We use 100% Blue Weber Agave with no additives to create a clean, smooth tequila for mindful consumers who appreciate high-quality spirits that do not contain any carbs, sugar, or gluten.
Drink Inspired – Sip Inspiro Tequila.