The Tequila Traveler: A New OWL Is Born

Removing the center of an agave plant

{{{Editor’s Note: Last time, we went along with local entrepreneur Lisa Elovich as she traversed New York State to promote her brand: One With Life Organic Tequila (OWL.) Today, we follow Lisa and her crew as they venture to the birthplace of all Tequila’s in Mexico, as she watches a new batch being harvested and distilled – AG}}}

Our gal in Mexico!

JALISCO MEXICO – Thanks for joining me on my journey last week to Jalisco, Mexico to produce One With Life Organic Tequila’s 12th batch of Blanco and 3rd batch of 5-year aged extra anejo.  This is my 13th time in Mexico in the last 5 years since I launched my company, and it never gets old!  In fact, traveling to the birthplace of tequila, a town called Amatitan, about 30 miles northwest of Guadalajara, is my favorite part of my business.  Tasting each and every batch and frolicking in the agave fields is a tough job…but someone has to do it!   ; )

It is a story I want to share with my tequila friends, so that others can also appreciate the work that goes into producing tequila as well as the beauty of the Mexican Culture.

Google Maps

The first leg of our trip, Lake Chapala, was just outside Guadalajara and is known for its beautiful views of the lake, the mountains and the exquisite sunsets.  Lake Chapala is Mexico’s largest freshwater Lake.  Because of its spectacular scenery and pleasant climate, many American retirees have established homes along the lake’s shore.

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The next day, we explored the blue agave fields of Amatitan in Jalisco, where One With Life Organic Tequila is harvested and produced.  The distilleries in Amatitan are  the main source of employment for residents of the town and surrounding communities. The climate is hot and dry which suits the agave plants well.   We woke up at the crack of dawn in order to get to see the harvesting process for our distillery at Tequila Las Americas – a 3rd generation family farm owned and operated by the Montes brothers, Eladio, Carlos and Alvaro.  Eladio is our master distiller.   

The pina, the center of an Agave plant is used to make Tequila

Jimadors is the name for agave farmers, and as the sun was rising we observed them using their coa (an ancient tool similar to a machete but with a flat surface) to pull out the center of each plant (the pina), which is the part of the agave plant used to make tequila.  

Anyone who watches the labor and effort used to do this will have tremendous respect for the Jimadors and the Tequila making process. Video by Brendan Pike and Patrick Linberg of Tweed Dreams
Agave Meditation…. Yes, It’s really a thing!  The fields vibrate at a very high frequency! 
Brendan filming a street taco breakfast place at which we ate a huge meal for just a few dollars

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Pinas getting ready to be cooked in a clay oven

Next, we visited the distillery after the pinas were delivered by truck, and watched as they were shoveled into the clay oven to cook.  The second step of the process was to shred and juice the pinas after they were cooked for 24 hours.  We tasted the cooked agave and it was deliciously sweet and savory, almost like a combination of a pineapple and sweet potato.  

A rolling shredder
Inside the clay oven
Our metro brand ambassador Stephanie Thornton helping out with the bracelets

After going through the shredder and extracting the juice, it gets put into giant vats, where it naturally ferments for a few days before getting distilled with water to bring the alcohol content to 40% (80 proof).  It gets distilled in stainless steel tanks and then tested in the lab.  After distillation, it gets bottled, corked, labeled and put into cartons to be shipped.   The bottling process is done by the Montes women, the harvesting and distilling is done by the men.    

Tasting the batch with Master Distiller Eladio Montes
Quality Control!

After a full day at the distillery, we toured the caves of Amatitan, drank agave beer (it was delicious!), and had dinner (and tequila) with the Mayor of Amatitan, Gildardo Partida.  

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The final leg of the trip was spent sightseeing in the towns of Tequila and Tlaquepaque.  The town of Tequila has great significance in the Mexican War of Independence, when a small band of 200 men came to take over the town from Spanish Royalist forces.  Today, it has numerous stores that carry thousands of tequila brands and foods typical of the region.  There are also numerous tasting rooms and restaurants.  We stayed at a wonderful hotel called Hotel Solar de las Animas.  It was right in the center of town which allowed us to walk and explore all of the sights.  

Tlaquepaque (pronounced Tlake’pake) was founded in 1530 and was a pre-Hispanic town settled on a hill where the Tonalteca Indians built homes of grass.  It was ruled by a woman named Cihualpilli Tzapitzinco (Girl Power!)  It is now known for its beautiful blown glass, pottery and handcrafts.  It is also known for its giant tequila bowls which contain tequila, grapefruit soda, and citrus fruits, served in a very large terracotta bowl with a straw. All you need is one and you are on your feet dancing to mariachi music played by the local bands. 

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This trip was one for the books in terms of how much fun we had and how much we got accomplished.  It was extra special, because I brought along a film crew who will be making a documentary about the tequila process: the connectivity between consumers in the United States who drink the tequila and the labor of love by the Mexican farmers that produce it, from harvesting the blue agave in the fields of Jalisco.  

A great team!

Stay tuned for more news on the upcoming film we are producing. Oh, and don’t forget to try our 12th batch – in a store near you in February! 

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Lisa Elovich, currently President and Founder of One With Life Organic Tequila is a former Manhattan assistant district attorney, NYS deputy attorney general, administrative law judge for Office of Children & Family Services, Commissioner of the NYS Board of Parole, life coach, professional boxing promoter and most importantly, mom of two children. She launched One With Life Organic Tequila (OWL) in July 2015.

4 Replies to “The Tequila Traveler: A New OWL Is Born”

  1. Ever consider opening a distillery in southern New Jersey / Philadelphia metro area. Area around Rowan university is a location to consider.

    Like

    1. Hi Frank, Thanks for reading… I asked Lisa about this. She replied:

      “In order to produce tequila, the distillery must be in certain regions of Mexico. Tequila is made from the blue agave plant which mainly grows in Jalisco, Mexico. It needs a hot dry climate. Also, in order to call it tequila it must be produced in Mexico just like champagne in France. ”

      Hope that helps, and thanks again for reading!
      Arthur

      Like

  2. Lisa,
    She is truly a miracle child. She not only can create but can market anything and anybody.
    Always delivers a QUALITY product.
    Lucky to have known her.
    John Sr.
    Lauderdale by the Sea , Fl

    Like

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