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The Tequila Wars

For many years before the Appellation of Origin for Tequila was established, there were serious conflicts resulting from the competitions between the many distilleries in Mexico that were producing tequila. Some of the conflicts were fierce and involved all types of violent crimes and mischief in order to achieve dominance in a very competitive industry. That period is often referred to as “The Tequila Wars”.


During that period of time, some of the larger distilleries in the southwestern portion of Mexico pressured the Mexican government to enact laws that would change and legalize the rules about who could call there distilled agave “Tequila”.

Those distilleries eventually got what they wanted. In December 9, 1974 , the General Declaration of Protection to Denomination of Origin was published in the Official Federation Gazette stating the protection to the Denomination of Origin for Tequila. This essentially established that it became illegal for a distiller outside specific areas/territories to identify their distilled agave products as Tequila. The distillers outside of those specific areas (including Los Osuna) must refer to their product as Mescal or some other name. However, that was generally accepted as Mexican Law, and was not necessarily accepted as international law as is the case with Scotch only coming from specific regions of Scotland. That Mexican law was eventually converted to an official Appellation of Origin.

What is the Appellation of Origin for Tequila?
An Appellation of Origin is a registered set of rules recorded by the World Industrial Property Organization (WIPO).
Those rules define a geographic area where a product must originate, as well as how a product is grown / produced,
processed, presented, and other specific requirements and standards that the producer of a product must meet in order to make products called by certain names.
In that original Appellation for a product to be labeled "Tequila", it had to be produced in one of the four declared territories of Mexico (Jalisco, Michoacan, Guanajuato, Nayarit), AND the producer must follow the Official Standard for Tequila, known as NOM-006-SCFI-2005.
Two years later, in 1976, President Lopez Portillo was elected president of Mexico. He sympathized with the farmers in Tamaulipas, (on the northern Gulf Coast of Mexico), so he agreed that the legal area for Tequila production should be expanded to include 11 municipalities of Tamaulipas.
The State of Jalisco (pronounced; Ha-leas-co), is where the town of Tequila is located, and most people still incorrectly consider Jalisco or even the town of Tequila to be the only source of tequila.

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