Magazine

May 8, 2018

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques

A growing thirst for tequila from New York to Tokyo has made the sale of the drink into a multibillion-dollar industry, but its production remains rooted in centuries-old methods of farming using hand tools and packs of mules.

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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A farmer, also known as a jimador, carries a blue agave heart during a harvest in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 13, 2018. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Farmers, also known as jimadores, load blue agave hearts onto a truck after a harvest on a plantation in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 13, 2018. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Jose Luis Flores, an arriero or muleteer drives his mule loaded with blue agave hearts, during a harvest on a plantation in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 13, 2018. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Farmer, Efrain Sanchez, 60, looks at a baby blue agave which will be replanted in another plantation to give it more room to grow, in Tepatitlan, Jalisco, Mexico, April 10, 2018. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Workers load blue agave hearts into an oven for distillation to make tequila at a factory in Amatitan, Jalisco, Mexico, September 7, 2017. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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A tourist car in the shape of a tequila barrel is seen on a street in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 11, 2018. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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A child plays inside an old car on a street in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 11, 2018. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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A worker separates agave fibres at the El Chorrito tequila factory in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 10, 2018. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Baby blue agaves are seen in Amatitan, Jalisco, Mexico, April 10, 2018. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Farmers, also known as jimadores, eat their lunch under a tree as they take a break, during a blue agave harvest on a plantation in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 13, 2018. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Blue agave hearts are seen beside a truck after a harvest on a plantation in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 11, 2018. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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A blue agave plantation is seen in Tepatitlan, Jalisco, Mexico, September 7, 2017. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Shops of local tequila and distillate of agave are seen in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 10, 2018. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Marta Lucia Reinoso, 35, a member of the Don Blanco family tequila business, chats with an employee as she explains the traditional process of grinding cooked agave hearts, in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 12, 2018. A donkey or a mule pulls a stone mill to grind the agave for its juice, before fermentation and after distillation. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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An employee works at an oven used to cook agave as J. Cruz Reinoso, founder of the Don Blanco distillery, looks on, in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 12, 2018. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Barrels of tequila are stored in a factory in Amatitan, Jalisco, Mexico, September 7, 2017. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Estela de Reinoso, 71, and J. Cruz Reinoso, founders of the Don Blanco distillery, a family tequila business, pose for a photograph at their tequila factory in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 12, 2018. They've been building up the family business for 30 years. Their daughter and son work with them. "My wife and I had a dream and it came true," said J. Cruz. "Tequila is a good business but it has a lot of demand. I hope the agave lasts for a long time." CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Estela de Reinoso, 71, a founder of the Don Blanco family tequila business, works at the factory in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 12, 2018. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Mario Perez, 39, a farmer, also known as a jimador, kisses one of his six daughters as he arrives home after a harvest of blue agave in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 13, 2018. "I am so proud to be a jimador, we are the first in the chain of the tequila industry, without us there is no tequila," Perez said. "In the old days to be a jimador was a respected job, now you are a simple worker. But it is a work of great tradition." CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Jose Luis Flores, an arriero or muleteer rests at his house after a harvest in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 13, 2018. "I helped my dad for 20 years and I love it," Flores said. "No one can replace us, not even a machine. My mules can get past any cliff or difficult path." He hopes to pass down his trade to his four children. "I think I'm going to buy more mules. This is a family business now," he said. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Bottles of tequila and other liquors are seen inside a local bar in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 10, 2018. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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People walk around the town in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 10, 2018. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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A resident watches as the bartender pours tequila for a traditional drink called a "Batanga" at La Capilla bar in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 11, 2018. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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A worker labels bottles of tequila in a factory in Amatitan, Jalisco, Mexico, September 7, 2017. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Blue agave plantation fields are seen in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, September 7, 2017. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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A mule transports blue agave hearts during a harvest on a plantation in Tepatitlan, Jalisco, Mexico, September 6, 2017. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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A farmer, also known as a jimador clears the area surrounding blue agave before it is harvested in Tepatitlan, Jalisco, Mexico, April 10, 2018. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Jose Luis Flores, an arriero or muleteer drives his mule loaded with blue agave hearts, during a harvest on a plantation in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 13, 2018. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Spikes are seen on the leaves of a blue agave plant in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, September 7, 2017. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Arrieros or muleteers load hearts of blue agave onto a mule during a harvest on a blue agave plantation in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 11, 2018. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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A farmer, also known as a jimador, harvests blue agave in a plantation in Tepatitlan, Jalisco, Mexico, September 6, 2017. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Farmers, also known as jimadores, harvest blue agave on a plantation in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 11, 2018. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Farmer, Francisco Quiroz, 57, walks on a blue agave plantation in Tepatitlan, Jalisco, Mexico, April 10, 2018. "This is my life and I am very proud of it. I know how to do it well. I hope technology does not replace us, it will be devastating," said Quiroz. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

Tequila boom rooted in traditional farming techniques
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Arrieros or muleteers drive their mules for a harvest in a blue agave plantation in Tequila, Jalisco, Mexico, April 11, 2018. CARLOS JASSO/REUTERS

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