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Chronological History of Tequila

  • 1530 After Bloody battles with the Spaniards commanded by Cristóbal de Oñate and Osaña, brave Teochinchenses surrendered and laying down their weapons (consisting of bows and arrows tip with obsidian, spears and shields) transferring their control of the hill "Chiquihuitillo" where the town of "Tequila" now sits. April 15, 1530 marks the day that the colonial township of Santiago of Tequila was established by Cristóbal de Oñate. Juan de Escarcena was appointed to take charge and govern the new villa.
  • 1531 After coexisting for time with the indigenous population, the Spaniards constructed a rudimentary mud still know as an alquitarra used to distill the drink called pulque. Pulque was distilled to produce Mezcal. These small still were placed in the ravines where there was an abundance of water aiding in the distillation process.
  • 1542 and years later important facts come to play in the commercialization on the new distilled drink mezcal. A mineral discovery prompts the construction of the Port of San Blas, first commercial fair of the Americas: The Fair of Candlemas of San Juan of The Lakes. The commercial carriers became distributors of this drink. After the colonies of Nochistlán Tonalá, Tlacotán by Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán and Cristóbal de Oñate become insolvent, the City of Guadalajara is founded on February 14, 1542.
  • 1600 The first tavern serving Mezcal is opened by Don Pedro Sanchez de Tagle of Altamira the Order of Calavatra; they were known as taverns because it is where the mezcal was sold and consumed. Mezcal was served in a vessel know as a Cuernito later called Caballitos. These were made from the tips of bull's horn.
  • 1621 There are reports sent to Guadalajara of the first commercial drink described by Domingo Lázaro de Arrequi, "it is like the Hearts of roasted Mezcal which are crushed by a stone wheel to extract the mosto for fermentation in the Alquitarra, creating a liquid as clear as water but as strong as Aguardiente."
  • 1630 It is through the arrieros (vendors that traveled from pueblo to pueblo on their donkeys selling goods) who spread the word about a drink known at that time as Vino Mezcal, to all the Mexican population North and Central American along the established commercial routes in the corridors of Tequila – Mexico – Central America and Guadalajara – San Blas – North and Southern Baja California as well as the mining camps in Central Mexico.
  • 1636 Don Juan Canseco y Quiñones president of Council of Nueva Galicia, decided that the increasing popularity among the indigenous people of the distilled vinos (like Vingarrota and Tepache) was becoming a health risk. While distilling Vino Mezcal was prohibited among the indigenous people it was still consumed in excess; he authorized the control of "Vino Mezcal" in order to establish the quality and by doing so was able to impose a tax on the popular drink.
  • 1688 - 1766 There are many prohibitions, censorships and restrictions imposed on those who manufacture Vino Mezcal. They either trade with it or it is consumed in excess.
  • 1740 Malaquisa and José Antonio de Cuervo register to produce Vino Mezcal at there tavern established in La Cofradía de las Ánimas and sold 20,000 liters of Vino Mezcal to Guadalajara. This tavern was known as "La Chorrera."
  • 1758 José Antonio de Cuervo purchases the Spanish land grant known as "Cofradía de las Ánimas," a land rich in agave plants.
  • 4th decade of the XVIII Century The Council in Guadalajara regulates the production and trade of Vino Mezcal. This subsisted until being abolished by the Independent Government.
  • XVIII Century In the middle of this century, the market for trading in the east grows rapidly. The Port of San Blas is opened, and the Tequila drink is supplied to the new Spanish colonies in Northwest Mexico . Tequila is known and accepted in Mexico City, and is recognized as superior to Vino Mezcal distilled in closer zones which are of inferior quality.
  • 1795 José Guadalupe Cuervo, Son of José Antonio de Cuervo, receives from King Carlos IV of Spain the first official concession to market Vino Mezcal. María Magdalena Ignacia Cuervo, daughter of José Guadalupe, inherits the tavern and factory for mezcal. She marries Vicente Albino Rojas, who operates the factory, and later he inherits it after the death of his wife. According to traditions of the era, he gives his wife's name to the distillation factory "La Rojeña."
  • Late XVIII Century and Early XIX Century is a period when Vino Mezcal is restricted with prohibitions and censorships.
  • Early XIX Century Early in this century there were 24 ranch and country properties, 12 in Tequila, Jalisco and 12 in Amatitán. José María Castañada founds the "La Antgua Cruz" distillery in Tequila.
  • The Independence of Mexico Begins The production of Vino Mezcal is increased.
  • 1815 The production is reduced. Acapulco becomes the main port, and San Blas becomes the secondary port.
  • 1821 The producers of Tequila encourage the authorization of Free Commerce.
  • 1835 On October 3rd a decree determines that the federative entities have more independence from the capital. During the time after the decree, the production of tequila is inconsistent and not as closely regulated. When the Republic is reinstated, the handmade production of tequila is transformed into a real industry, without reducing the quality of tequila.
  • 1860 Jesús Flores, owner of the taverns "La Floreña" and "La del Puente" (also known later as "La Constancia"), acquires "La Rojeña". He becomes the first to produce tequila in glass vessels. (Learn more about Flores and Damajuanas bottles at bottom of page)
  • 1870 "La Herradura" is founded in Amatitán.
  • 1872 The TequilaVilla houses the 12th property instituted by the state government. Two years later, Tequila receives the title of City.
  • 1873 Cenobio Sauza, former administrator of the distillery that belongs to José Gómez Cuervo in San Matia, acquires "La Antigua Cruz" distillery. Previously he had leased "La Gallardeña", he later purchases this distillery as well.
  • 1888 The name of the tavern "La Antigua Cruz" is changed to "La Perseverancia", a name it still bears today.
  • Late XIX Century and Early XX Century Tequila is considered decadent, by the elitist population of Mexico preferring the French liquors. They say "Tequila is considered a drink for the poor people."
  • 1900 Ana González Rubio (the second wife of Jesús Flores) inherits "La Constancia" and marries José Cuervo Labastida. He names this distillery "La Rojeña" a name it still has today.
  • 1911 Porfirio Díaz (Presidente of Mexico) is overthrown. The consummation of the Mexican Revolution causes Mexicans to become patriotic, and they turn their eyes to Tequila. The government encourages the production of the drink. The film industry influences the spread of Tequila, and it becomes the most popular beverage in Mexico.
  • 1930 An epidemic of Spanish Influenza attacks Northern Mexico , and Tequila becomes the best medicine to fight it. (It's said that from then on, this drink was drunk with lemon and salt because that's how the doctors prescribed it). With the difficulty of handling and transporting tequila from Tequila, Jalisco to the city of Monterey . It was determined to produce a cylindrical bottle of half a liter. This was the first step to establish the bottling of tequila on a commercial level.
  • 1934 After the death of Ana González Rubio, her niece Guadalupe Gallardo inherits everything. Later on she gives everything to Virginia Gallardo, who marries Juan Beckmann, German consol in Guadalajara. Today her grandson, Juan Beckmann Vidal, presides over the José Cuervo Company.
  • 1940 Because of WWII, tequila increases it's exportation to the United States, where the population consumes it more readily than whiskey. With the armistice, it requires great effort to maintain the export or to attempt an increase, begin looking to export to Europe and South America.
  • 1943 "La Perseverancia" is now in the hands of Francisco Javier Sauza, son of Eladio Sauza and grandson of Cenobio Sauza, its founder.
  • 1950 The tequila industry improves its production techniques. The fields for cultivation of Blue Agave Agave Tequilana Weber increase. Different tequilas are produced for all kinds of people.
  • 1959 On October 21, 1959 the Cámara Regional de la Industria Tequila is officially founded.
  • 1974 A resolution is published in the news paper Diario Oficial de la Federación of the once Secretary of Commerce, the protection of Denominación de Origen del Tequila.
  • 1975-1994 Changes are made to the NOM (Norma) and DOT (Denominación de Origin Tequila).
  • 1987 Don Julio Gonzalez Estrada and sons under take the development of higher priced tequila, opening the way to what is now the premium tequilas.
  • 1994 On May 17, 1994 the Consejo Regulador del Tequila initiates its plan. At the end of this year Mexico suffers a monetary devaluation which has repercussions in other countries and is known as "The Tequila Effect".
  • 1996 8th of November la Parternidad Mexicana de Tequila is formed in Brussels consisting of a European Union Body of 15 countries. Paving the way for the possible exportation of tequila to 350 million people.
  • 1997 La Norma enters to govern Tequila. NOM-006-SCFI-1994 The accord between the European Union and United States of Mexico serves to protect the Denominaciones in the sector of espirituosas beverages.
  • 1999 The Production Record of Tequila is established and 190,601,006 Liters are produced (CRT) of which 97,355,863 are exported to 80 countries world wide, 80% of total export is sent to the United States of America.
  • 2000 – 2003 The New Millennium ushers in higher demands for tequila world wide, coinciding with the agave shortage. Which sends the price of agave soaring from 40¢ a kilo to $16-$18 USD per kilo. The years 2001 and 2002 are named "Oro Azul".
  • 2004 - 2005 The Tequila Industry, the Government of Mexico and Distributors from other countries come together in an effort to establish new guide lines for the bottling of tequila to keep the quality from being compromised. Other changes brought forward are the production of flavored tequilas (mandarin, lime, lemon, orange, etc.) or flavorings from seeds such as almonds, vanilla.
  • The Future; Tequila is established in the market place with 4.5% in the USA and 1.5 World Wide which equates to a large economic potential in the Distilled Spirit Industry.

    After entering into the European Market tequila is now known as one of the finest spirits available to the consumer.

    The CRT has 739 registered brands for the National Market in Mexico and 264 registered to the Foreign Market all being produced in the 103 registered distilleries throughout the tequila producing zones of Mexico.



Damajuanas are a hand blown, rounded-shape 5 liter bottles, wrapped in agave fiber. They were considered a modern bottle at the time when Jesus Flores began to utilize them to transport tequila prior to 1880. (Read more about Jesus Flores in the History above dated 1860)


The bottle pictured is a Damajuana from the Private Collection of Philip Soto Mares, Containing Cuervo Tradicional Tequila.

Read more about the history of the Agave plant.