When the plants mature, they can weigh from 50-100
pounds. The agave is harvested, the heart steamed until it produces
a starchy sugar juice, which is then pumped into fermenting
tanks. The juice is then mixed with yeast which converts the
liquid into alcohol.
The town of Tequila leads the production of the
liquor due to the abundance of the Blue Agave, which cover nearly
40,000 hectares. The town of Atotonilco, or Los Altos, produces
a better quality and higher grade of the agave plant due to
the soil and elevation in the area.
TEQUILA IS NOT MEZCAL
Don't confuse tequila with mezcal,
another liquor produced from the agave plants. Tequila undergoes
additional distillation and never has a worm
in the bottle.
IS THERE A TEQUILA SHORTAGE?
Tequila producers are being squeezed by a shortage of the Blue
Agave plant. A 1997 fungus plague destroyed many of the plants.
In addition, exports shot up 600 percent between 1995 and 1999
while production rose 300 percent. You can still find tequila,
but it is becoming more and more expensive and often diluted.
If you want a quality tequila, make sure the label reads "100%