Tequila 101: What’s in a ‘NOM’

Sep 8, 2022

For tequila drinkers who are interested in where their favorite tequila is produced, there’s an easy way to find out, thanks to a four-digit number found on every bottle of tequila. 

It’s called a “Norma Oficial Mexicana,” or more commonly known as a “NOM,” which is a number assigned by the Mexican government that corresponds to the distillery in Mexico where that bottle of tequila was produced. Tequila’s official regulatory body, called the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (or “CRT”), requires that all tequila bottles/labels include this number, and the CRT maintains records of every brand of tequila produced at each distillery.

There are thousands of tequila brands registered with the CRT, yet less than 150 active distilleries in Mexico, so it’s very common for distilleries to produce multiple brands. Even some very large brands got their start by sharing distillery resources with other brands.

Knowing where your bottle of tequila is produced can offer some clues about how it’s produced. Does the distillery utilize traditional production methods, or does it rely on more modern industrial processes? Is the distillery located in the Jalisco lowlands or highlands, or in one of the other Mexican states permitted to produce tequila? Does the distillery make dozens, or even hundreds, of other brands? All of this can be learned by knowing which NOM the tequila is produced at. 

Just because multiple brands are produced at a given distillery, it does not mean that they are all exactly alike.  For example, “NOM 1614” is printed on bottles of Inspiro Tequila, which means that this tequila is produced at Tequilera Tap, a distillery in the town of Amatitán in Jalisco, Mexico. While a small number of other tequilas are also produced there, none use the same techniques – or even the same master distiller – as Inspiro Tequila, making this brand completely different and unique even though other tequila brands share the distillery. If you’re interested in learning more about where individual tequila brands are produced, there’s a very handy and comprehensive website and app called Tequila Matchmaker which pulls data from the CRT to catalogue brands and distilleries. They can even tell you about the production techniques of each distillery.

Drink Inspired – Sip Inspiro Tequila.