Tequila Tour Day 2 (Cont): Arandas — Tapatio / El Tesoro de Don Felipe

Tapatio / El Tesoro Offices & Store

From Cazadores, it was back to Tapatio / El Tesoro de Don Felipe for a tour of the facilities. El Tesoro is the export label for what is known as Tapatio in Mexico. Sort of — there are other differences mainly due to the legal requirements of exporting into the American market versus the tastes of the Mexican market. El Tesoro is available in Mexico, but with the old school labels.

Washing of Bottles at El Tesoro / Tapatio

El Tesoro de Don Felipe’s products are all delicious, crafted with great care. Unlike just about every other Tequila distiller, El Tesoro products are distilled down to the target ABV. For others, the cask ABV is typically higher than the bottle ABV and de-mineralized water is added upon de-casking, right before bottling.

We visited the bottling line at El Tesoro while the team was bottling the very delicious El Tesoro Anejo. It was mesmerizing to watch. Here is a group of people from teenagers to one of the patriach’s family all working together as a team — as an extended family — to ensure that the right amount of an excellent product was placed in every bottle.

First, the empty bottles are placed onto the bottle washer. They don’t use plain water or some nasty chemicals to sterilize the bottls. Oh, no! They use El Tesoro Blanco to wash the bottles. It is used for a handful of days and, once dirty, it is filtered and used later in the process to moisten the label glue during labeling!

Bottling El Tesoro Anejo

The actual bottle filling station is quite the contraption. It is basically a spinning table with a drain in the middle. Bottles are placed under filling nozzles and may go around once, twice or more — hard to tell, but more than once, certainly — while being filled.

The person manning the bottling station pulls the full bottles, shakes out any excess into the drain in the middle of the machine to return to bottling, and inserts a full bottle. All in one fluid motion. While the table is spinning.

I would break bottles or, more likely, lose several fingers in a matter of seconds in front of that thing! Yet, no tequila went wasted and there might have been one bottle broken the entire time we were there.

El Tesoro Anejo Bottle Inspection

The bottles are placed onto a conveyer belt that carries them through capping — done by hand — and then along in front of a light panel on the wall. Each bottle is inverted in front of the panel to see if there is any debris in the bottle.

From there, the bottles are placed into a wooden crate and taken back to boxing and storage. Again, each is inspected for debris.

That is right. Every bottle of El Tesoro is hand bottled, hand labeled and hand inspected a couple of times. These people seriously care about their product. Seriously.

Puts that price tag in a bit more perspective; 10 years in the field, a week to a month to bottle and distill/l, anywhere from a couple of months to several years in casks, hand bottled and shipped out over the course of a month or so. Wow! At least a decade, if not 15 years, from field to your liquor cabinet.

This barrel still holds tequila!!!!

Speaking of aging, we visited the aging room that contains many barrels of tequila being aged in a naturally temperature controlled environment. The barrels are almost exclusively made of american white oak and may be new or may be purchased from whiskey or bourbon distillers.

It is amazing that some of the barrels hold liquid at all! Rarely, they don’t: they will split enough to leak out a bit of liquid. Tasty stuff, but bad for overall production.

The Crew at Tequila Tapatio & El Tesoro (With Lily and Carlos)

A huge note of Thank You to Tapatio / El Tesoro de Don Felipe. Your hospitality was awesome and very much appreciated. You made us feel like a part of the family, letting us taste some truly unique products that I’m sure will be huge successes if and when they hit the market.

Folks in the United States should keep an eye out for a some new products from this fine company! El Tesoro / Tapatio is rapidly approaching its 70th anniversary, after all! Seems like a great time to release a new product (though, maybe, like Apple, they’ll do it next year :), one year after the actual anniversary.)

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