Our family’s venture into creating organic tequila began as a family project, a way to make use of the land our great grandparents worked hard to buy and maintain. Over the years, it has became a mission-driven effort to make an impact. Much like the story of The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho, we have created liquid gold after a journey from Mexico to the United states and back to our family ranch in Jalisco.
Our founder, president and CEO, Dr. Adolfo Murillo, was born in the small town of Agua Negra, Jalisco, where his grandfathers raised their families, one as an entrepreneur and the other as a farmer. When Adolfo was born, he witnessed the care and attention his grandfather Abelino gave to his land, his crops and herds to provide for his family and the community around him. He always said, “Take care of the earth, and she will take care of you."
When Adolfo and his family moved to the United States when he was a young boy, he continued to visit the family in Mexico during the summers throughout his childhood. He went to school in the States and went on to receive his Doctor of Optometry degree. When his father was close to passing away, Adolfo and his wife convinced him not to sell the ranch, but to keep it in the family. Adolfo’s father agreed not to sell it if Adolfo could find a way to make the land productive. Adolfo researched different crops and ultimately decided to grow agave, which had never been done before in this particular area of Los Altos de Jalisco.
Everyone thought we were crazy. They told us agave wasn’t grown in our area, so it would be impossible. Our soil was dark brown, whereas tequila-producing agave is normally grown in soil that is deep red. In 1992, Adolfo conducted extensive soil tests and realized that with our organic methods, it could be done. He combined the modern science he learned in the U.S. with the traditional agricultural methods he learned from his grandfather to produce an organic protocol that would change our small town of Agua Negra forever.
We planted our first crop of blue Tequilana Weber agaves in 1993 with the help of our local foreman, Luis Guzman. He has been instrumental in our journey to create Tequila Alquimia, and we couldn’t have done it without him. Together, with his help on the ground, we were not only able to grow agave in our area of Jalisco after all, but we successfully grew some of the healthiest agaves many tequila experts have ever seen. Our agaves exceeded the average weight and sugar content of normal crops, and agave buyers from all around Mexico traveled to see what we had created. When we realized our organic protocol was truly innovative and could help other grows produce high quality crops in an environmentally-friendly way, we began to share our process with others.
We have trained hundreds of farmers across Mexico with our organic methods to promote sustainable agriculture. This is part of our mission to positively impact the environment, as well as the health of the farm workers and consumers. From avocado growers to strawberry farmers, our methods have helped hundreds produce higher quality fruits and vegetables to provide for their families and communities.
In our small town of Agua Negra, we have taught the local landowners to utilize their soil to produce healthy agaves, which has helped increase the value of the land in our area. We have created jobs in a small town that once had minimal employment opportunities, which now allows families to stay together while working in our fields and those of the new tequila growers. People who once doubted us are now a part of our movement toward healthier agricultural practices.
After years of growing our agave and selling it to different tequila companies, we experienced a massive freeze when most agave growers lost their crops. Our area had not seen snow in over 100 years, and most farmers weren’t prepared for the sudden climate shock. Fortunately, our agave plants were healthy enough to withstand the freeze and continued to grow past winter. The industry subsequently faced a huge agave shortage, and we attracted more agave buyers than ever before. We realized then that our agaves were not only incredibly healthy, but truly exceptional.
We decided to create our own tequila brand to honor our family legacy and demonstrate that a high quality product could be produced with environmentally-friendly, sustainable methods. Without the use of toxic pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, or any other artificial substances, our plants were healthier and able to withstand even the harshest weather conditions. Starting with such high quality agave allowed us to create an organic protocol for the production of our tequila that is pure and true to the tradition of creating authentic tequila.
Our agaves are harvested on our ranch by our jimadores, who take great pride in the art of la jima, the harvest. They use razor-sharp coas, the tools that allow the jimadores to cut off the leaves of each plant with exact precision. Once the agave’s sharp leaves are removed, the remaining mass of the plant, called a piña, for its resemblance to a pineapple, is loaded into trucks to transport hundreds of piñas to the distillery.
Once at the factory, we bake our agaves in traditional stone ovens slowly for 2-3 days. This gives us complete caramelization of the sugars, without the bitterness which can result from cooking the agave too quickly. The cooked agaves are then shredded and mashed to separate the juice from the fiber. The juice is then fermented for 7 days with organic yeast before it is sent to our stainless steel pot stills. We distill our tequila twice, to retain as much of the natural agave flavor as possible in the final tequila profile.
After distillation, we bottle the first of our expressions, Alquimia Blanco. This is the purest expression of tequila because it is not aged at all before bottling. All of our tequilas begin in this state, which has no added flavors, sugars or coloring and is made of 100% agave. Every tequila is then aged for a specific amount of time after this stage, which is the only difference between each expression.
We designed the bottles as a family, and our daughters created our brand identity and bottle design for our product. The designs are converted into hand-made glass bottles at a family-owned glass factory in Tonalá, Jalisco, where 100% recycled glass is used to create our works of art.
For each of our other expressions of tequila, we use American white oak barrels to age the tequila for different amounts of time to create each expression. Our Reposado is aged for 6 months in the barrels, while our Añejo is aged for just under 3 years. Our Extra Añejo Reserva de Don Adolfo is aged for 6 years, and final next expression is aged for 14 years. Each expression is distinct in its flavor profile because of the amount of time it spends aging in the oak barrels. We add no flavors or coloring to the different expressions to create their unique flavors. We do this to maintain a high quality product that reflects the care of our organic methods and all natural process of producing each of our exceptional tequilas.
All of our tequilas are 100% USDA-certified organic, which is important to recognize because not all organic tequilas are created the same way. Our inspection is awarded the highest ratings in the certification because we not only utilize organic methods and ingredients, but we also compost our green matter as much as possible after each harvest. We leave the agave leaves on the soil to act as a natural mulch, then we till them into the soil to reintroduce the organic material to the soil and enhance its natural biological activity. The particular terroir in our area, low annual rainfall, and limited top soil above large sediments of sandstone make it imperative for us to nourish the soil as much as possible to enhance the health of our crops with each harvest.
Over the course of our journey to create Tequila Alquimia, we have been awarded many special recognitions for our efforts, both for our high quality product and our organic methods. Dr. Adolfo Murillo has been recognized as the “Pioneer in Organic Tequila” by leading tequila experts, as he was the original developer of the organic method movement, while educating growers about our protocols.
Our tequila has been recognized as the best tequila in the world by outlets such as GQ and Business Insider. We have been awarded over 60 gold medals, more than any other tequila brand in the two largest and most prestigious international spirits competitions. We are honored to receive such significant recognitions, as they inspire us to continue advocating for healthier best practices in agriculture to impact the environment and our communities.
We will continue to stay true to our mission to produce an eco-friendly product of the highest quality that positively impacts the environment, as well as our communities of farm workers and consumers. Through our efforts, we have purchased a school bus to take children in our small town to school, we have created generational opportunities locally, and we support local nonprofit causes with our products and contributions as well. We hope that you enjoy our tequila and continue to support our efforts for environmental change. Together, we can make an impact.
Thank you y salud!