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Mayahuel, Goddess of Agave
Just as there are legends about the origin of the Sun, Earth, Man, and Corn. Tequila also has one of its own, since it is a spirituous beverage extracted from the Agave, a mystic and divine cactea plant.
The origin of the Agave goes back to the time of Aztecs and their deities and gods. After being the women who discovered the Agave plant in her terrenal life, Mayahuel became a young and beautiful Aztec goddess, who ran away to marry Quetzalcoatl, god of redemption, and both of them turned into two branches of a leafy tree so they would not be found by their terrible grandmother, "Tzintzimitl" who ordered their execution after finding them.
Quetzalcoatl stayed alive, but Mayahuel died eaten up by the stars and after burying her remanents in the ground, the first plant of Agave was born, which was striken down by a lightning bolt from a great storm sent by the gods on their rage for what Mayahuel had done. Afterwards, once the storm had finished and the fire was out, the long and thorny leafs of the Agave had been consumed, leaving only the Heart of the Plant pouring out the Blood of Mayahuel, a sweet nectar which tastes like honey and smells seductively. Ever since, the nectar became a ritual beverage and a ceremonial offer to the Gods and Deities.
A brief history of Tequila :
Tequila - Pre-Hispanic town, located 56kms (34 miles) northeast of Guadalajara. Nowadays it has a population of 30,000. The hill of Tequila or hill of "Tetilla" has a height of 3,000 meters (9842.51 feet) above sea level, and it's an extinct volcano.
XVI Century - "Motolinía" describes the cooking of Mescal (heart of Maguey) "mexcalli". Mescal wine is one of the first products that Europeans learned to obtain from a natural product in America.
1600 - Pedro de Tagle, Marquis of Altamira, and Caballero de la Orden of Calatrava, live in Tequila Jalisco, establishing the first tavern for mescal wine in all Nueva Galicia (unconfirmed version).
1621 - In the description of Nueva Galicia of Domingo Lázaro of Arregui, he mentions that the hearts of agave were squeezed to get the must, obtaining a wine clearer than water but strong as liquor.
1640 - The audience of Guadalajara regulates the production and trade of the mescal wine. This subsisted until being abolished by the Independent government.
1688 - 1766 - There are many prohibitions, censorships and restrictions imposed on those who manufacture mescal wine. They either trade with it or it is consumed in excess.
XVIII Century - In the middle of this century, the market for trading in the east grows rapidly. The San Blas port is opened, and the Tequila drink is supplied to the new Spanish colonies in northwest Mexico.
1758 - José Antonio of Cuervo buys the big country property "Cofradía de las Animas", a land rich in agave plants.
1795 - José Guadalupe Cuervo, son of José Antonio, receives from King Carlos IV of Spain the first official concession to market mescal wine. María Magdalena Ignacia Cuervo, daughter of José Guadalupe, inherits the tavern and factory for mescal. She marries Vicente Albino Rojas, who administers the factory, and later he inherits it after the death of his wife. According to the traditions of those times, he gives his wife's name to the distillation factory "La Rojeña".
Late 1700's - Period when mescal wine is restricted with prohibitions and censorships.
Early 1800's - Early in this Century there were 24 ranch and country properties, 12 in Tequila, Jalisco, and 12 in Amatitán. José María Castañeda founds the "La Antigua Cruz" distillery in Tequila.
1811 - The independence of Mexico begins: The production of mescal wine is increased.
1815 - The production is reduced. Acapulco becomes the main port, and San Blas becomes the secondary port.
1821 - The producers of tequila encourage the authorization of free commerce.
1835 - On October 3rd a decree determines that the federative entities have more independence from the capital. During all the time after the decree, the production of tequila is inconsistent and not very regulated. When the Republic is reinstalled, the handmade production is transformed into a real industry, without reducing the quality of the product.
1860 - Jesús Flores, owner of the taverns "La Floreña" and "La del Puente" (also known later as "La Constancia", acquires "La Rojeña". He becomes the first one to bottle tequila in glass vessels.
1870 - "La Herradura" is founded in Amatitán.
1872 - The Tequila villa houses the 12th property instituted by the state government. Two years later, Tequila will receive the title of City.
1873 - Cenobio Sauza, former administrator of the distillery that belongs to José Gómez Cuervo in San Martín, acquires the "La Antigua Cruz" distillery. Previously he leased "La Gallardeña", and then he ended up buying it.
1888 - The name of the tavern "La Antigua Cruz" changes to "La Perseverancia", the name that it still has today. Late XIX Century and Early XX Century: Tequila is considered decadent, since the elitist population prefers all the French liquors. Tequila is a drink for poor people, they say.
1900 - Ana González Rubio (the second wife of Jesús Flores) inherits "La Constancia" and marries José Cuervo Labastida. He names this distillery "La Rogeña", the name that it still has today.
1911 - Porfirio Díaz (President of Mexico) is overthrown. The consummation of the Mexican Revolution causes Mexicans to become more patriotic, and they turn their eyes to tequila. The government encourages the production of this drink. The film industry influences the spread of tequila, and it becomes the most popular drink in Mexico.
1930 - An epidemic of Spanish influenza attacks northern Mexico, and tequila becomes the best medicine to fight it. (It's said that from then on, this drink was drunk with lemon and salt because that's how the doctors prescribed it). Trying to avoid the hard handling and transportation of tequila from Tequila, Jalisco, in the city of Monterrey they start to produce cylindrical bottles of half a liter (17 ounces), establishing the bottling of tequila there.
1934 - After the death of Ana González Rubio, her niece Guadalupe Gallardo inherits everything. Later on she gives everything to Virginia Gallardo, who marries Juan Beckmann, German consul in Guadalajara. Today her grandson, Juan Beckmann Vidal, presides over the Jose Cuervo Company.
1940 - Because of WWII, tequila increases its exportation to the United States, whose population drinks it instead of whisky. With the armistice, it requires a great effort to maintain the export and even to increase it, looking for consumption in Europe and South America.
1943 - "La Perseverancia" is now in the hands of Francisco Javier Sauza, son of Eladio Sauza and grandson of Cenobio Sauza, its founder.
1950 - The tequila industry improves its production techniques. The fields for cultivation of blue Agave Tequilana Weber increase. Different tequilas are produced for all kinds of people.
1959 - On October 21, 1959 the Camara Regional de la Industria Tequila is officially founded.
1974 - A resolution is published in the new paper Diario Oficial de la Federacion of the once Secretary of Commerce, the protection of (Deniminacion de Origen Tequila).
1975-1994 - Changes are made to the NOM (Norma) and DOT (Denominacion de Origen Tequila)
1987 - Don Julio Gonzales Estrada and sons under take the development of higher priced tequila, opening the way to what is now the premium tequilas.
1994 - On may 17, 1994 the Consejo Regulador del Tequila initiates its plan. At the end of this year Mexico suffers a monetary devaluation which has repercussions in other countries as is know as "The Tequila Effect".
1996 8th of November - la Parternidad Mexicana de Tequila is formed in Brussels consisting of a European Union Body of 15 countries. Paving the way for the possible exportation of tequila to 350 million people.
1997 - La Norma enters to govern Tequila. NOM-006-SCFI-1994 The accord between the European Union and United States of Mexico serves to protect the Denominaciones in the sector of espirituosas beverages.
1999 - The Production Record of Tequila is established and 190,601,006 Liters are produced (CRT) of which 97,355,863 are exported to 80 countries world wide, 80% of total export is sent to the United States of America.
2000 - 2003 - The New Millennium ushers in higher demands for tequila world wide, coinciding with the agave shortage. Which sends the price of agave soaring from 40¢ a kilo to $16-18 USD per kilo. The years 2001 and 2002 are named "Oro Azul".
2004 - 2005 - The Tequila Industry, the Government of Mexico and Distributors from other countries come together in an effort to establish new guide lines for the bottling of tequila to keep the quality from being compromised. Other changes brought forward are the production of flavored tequilas (mandarin, lime, lemon, orange, etc.) or flavoring from seeds such as almonds, vanilla.
Today - The fastest growing industry in both the U.S. and Mexico.
The CRT has 739 registered brands for the National Market in Mexico and 264 registered to the Foreign Market all being produced in the 103 registered distilleries throughout the tequila producing zones of Mexico.
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