Written by Jason O'Bryan for Robb Report
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE
Selected excerpts from the article
Even if a label reads “100 percent agave,” the liquid inside might be only 99 percent agave, because producers can still add up to 1 percent by volume of lab-designed sugars, oak essence, glycerin, or caramel coloring without being required to disclose that they’ve done so. In other words, tequila brands can (and do) say that their vanilla sweetness is a result of extra-special barrels or extra-delicious agaves when, in fact, the flavor comes courtesy of industrial sweeteners they’ve dumped into the tanks.
Nick Lutz and Adam Craun, cofounders of the brand-new company El Negocio, sought Tequila Matchmaker’s certification before bringing their product to market—and even before they began production. “When we started interviewing different distilleries, we were only really interested in ones that held true to traditional methods,” says Lutz. “Traditional methods do not include dumping sugar, wood flavor, and all that stuff into the product.” Craun is a winemaker—a cofounder of Memento Mori, makers of a 100-point Napa Cab—so his interest in discerning a sense of place in the liquid, influenced by the weather, the soil, and the agave, means that going additive-free was integral to the project.
Agaves take a long time to grow. You’ll almost never hear anyone talk about where the corn or wheat for their whiskey comes from, because those grains are harvested every fall and don’t express much of a sense of place. Blue Weber agaves, on the other hand, take an average of seven years to reach maturity. Agaves have terroir, like wine grapes, and when fully ripe have an inherent complexity.