Quality agave grows for 6 to 14 years before reaching maturity. Just like any crop, droughts, moisture levels, and climatic conditions all play a role in agave’s growth and maturity.
There are a lot of technicalities on the levels of raw sugar content (“brix”) and the manner in which the agave is trimmed. Let’s make it simple. Our tequila uses premium 100% blue agave: it is harvested in a manner that eliminates the oily / waxy taste of some lower quality tequilas. Our process also facilitates a cleaner fermentation and distillation process and a better (at least in our opinion) final flavor.
The agave is slowly steam-roasted in centuries old, traditional, thick, stone walled, brick ovens for a few days. This traditional art of “slow cooking” prevents the cooked agave from caramelizing, while simultaneously softening the fibers and transforming the carbohydrates into fermentable sugars. These special ovens also help retain the sweet, natural, mellow flavors of the carefully grown and harvested agave.
A shredding machine called a mill (“molino”) extracts the sugar from the cooked agave. The mill squeezes the agave, which releases the concentrated sweet sugar juice. Simultaneously, the fibrous juice is washed with deionized / reverse osmosis treated water.
Our tequila uses a medium - slow fermentation system, which takes about 48 to 60 hours (for comparison, many mass produced tequilas are only fermented for 10 to 12 hours). Typically, a slower fermentation process produces a more full-bodied flavor. During the fermentation process, natural occurring yeast is added to the agave juice (“wort”), which creates a new substance called a “beer” (yes, we’re still talking about tequila). The beer has an alcohol content between 5% and 9% alcohol per volume.
This slow distillation process has two parts. The first distillation separates and concentrates alcohol from the fermented wort, resulting in a liquid that is approximately 25% alcohol per volume. This first distillation creates what is known as “ordinary tequila.” But we aren't looking for just ordinary. That brings us to the second distillation, which enriches the alcohol content to approximately 55% alcohol per volume (by the time it’s bottled The Pink Pig is 40% alcohol per volume).
Aging & Filtering
As in many things in life, tequila gets more refined (and arguably better) with age. Our tequila is a cristalino añejo. Añejo literally means “vintage,” and añejos are aged for one to three years. Typically, añejos are darker than blancos or reposados, but as we mentioned, our cristalino añejo is, as the name indicates, crystal clear.
Once aged and processed to perfection, our tequila is ready to be bottled! Our bottles are recyclable--if you don’t want to use them for some pretty flowers, please rinse and recycle them!