The Law of Industrial Property makes the Mexican State the holder of the Appellation of Origins. This is to say that the Appellation of Origin belongs to the Mexican State and, therefore, to all of us. It is time to defend ourselves, time to raise our voices so that things will be as they should be, an appellation of origin that guarantees consumers that the liquors they buy with this name are crafted as they have traditionally been, e.g. made only from blue agave – an appellation of origin that stops protected counterfeit liquors, deceivingly labeled and often adulterated even more when shipped abroad – all of which has discredited the good name of Tequila, a name cultivated by artisans for over 200 years and which has been, since 1964, associated solely with a high-quality liquor, made 100% from the blue agave sugars.
Today we have an excellent chance to begin such a defense. One can find in the public record (consulta pública) (until August 14th) the official Mexican regulations project PROY-NOM-006- SCFI-2012, which as specified in the “General Declaration for the Protection of the Tequila Appellation of Origin” is the regulation that defines the characteristics and material allowed in the production of the production protected by the Appellation of Origin.
The proposed changes we have for NOM-006, which will defend the original and traditional Tequila, are:
1) That “Tequila” be defined as a liquor produced from the distillation of musts extracted from Agave tequilana Weber var. azul, to which no other sugars are added, and that “Tequila” no longer allow for musts that are enriched up to 49% with other sugars.
Can you imagine the prestigious name “Cognac” being used for a liquor that use 49% “other sugars” and only 51% sugars from grapes? Of course not! The Cognac Appellation of Origin does not allow this and Cognac is only made 100% from grape sugars.
2) That the obligatory commercial denomination for the liquor distilled solely from blue agave be “Tequila 100% Blue Agave” and not “Tequila 100% Agave” as it is now.
Can you imagine a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wine labeled only as “100% grape”? No way!
3) That the Appellation of Origin cease to protect those supposed “tequilas” that are distilled from 49% “other sugars,” that the bulk exportation of these “tequilas” be prohibited, and that their labeling regulations include an obligatory declaration of the percentage of “other sugars” used in production, as well as the source of these “other sugars.”
Can you imagine the prestigious name “Champagne” being used for a drink that could be exported in bulk and bottled in the United States or in China, outside the regions protected by the Appellation of Origin? Of course not! Because its Appellation of Origin prohibits it.
It is time to defend the Appellation of Origin. Tequila is a drink that belongs to all Mexicans. We cannot allow this name to continue being used to cheat and con the consumer, thereby discrediting our country.
1 Professor and Researcher at the Yucatan Center for Scientific Study (CICY)