Tequila is protected by a Denomination of Origin (DO) and regulated and verified by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT). Like cognac, single malts, and many wines around the world, an agave spirit from within the protected geographic area must comply with certain regulations to be labeled and sold as “tequila.” Unlike cognac and many other Denomination of Origin designations, tequila is highly regulated and the CRT has several impressive mechanisms to ensure the raw material is sourced within the DO, transported to the stated distillery and, for 100% Agave Tequila, bottled within the DO.

One of these mechanisms is the CRT Registration Number. Not to be confused with the distiller NOM Number, this number ensures the location of the Rancho, who owns it, and when the agaves were planted and harvested. This agave “birth certificate” goes hand in hand with the Transport Passport Number, which tracks the movement of harvested agave from Point A (Rancho) to Point B (Distillery).

Why is this important?

The tequila industry is a thirsty one. Through the decades since demand in the US greatly increased demand for agaves, tequila has industrialized and become a multi billion dollar enterprise that is increasingly controlled by a few multinational spirit companies. When the supply chain is so long and the raw material takes so long to grow (most agaves take 7-12 years to mature), many short cuts can be made. One devastating practice is the illegal sourcing of agaves from outside the geographic borders of the DO. The burgeoning mezcal industry depends on their inventories of agave. Through recent price hikes and agave shortages in Jalisco, there have been reports of illegal sourcing in Oaxaca. (Oaxaca is the center of the growing mezcal industry.)

At Tequilas Restaurant, we want to celebrate tequila companies who are transparent and prove their ethical practices. Tequila brands who provide their CRT Registration Numbers will be highlighted in our T&T Initiative program, talked about by our staff, and featured in our specials. This is one thing we can do to help push for more transparency in an industry challenged by social, environmental and economic issues.

The next step is you. What are you drinking?

Know Your Spirit!

In the days ahead we will be introducing the T&T Initiative to our customers. And we would like to share the information with other establishments who are willing to go the extra yard to improve the Tequila industry.

Restaurateurs and Tequila producers may request more information via email to tequilasphilly@gmail.com.