8. During distillation process, heat and pressure is applied, separating the enzymes in alcohol content products (Tequila) and vinasse; being the latter a waste product. Process is carried out in copper or stainless steel stills, and even in continuous distillation towers. Common stills consist of three parts: the pot or boiler, where must is deposited for heating; the column or capital, which collects and conducts the steams, and the coil, where the steams are cooled becoming liquid.
Boiling points of the different compounds and the diverse volumes and pressures of the still assist in the gases separation, and these are condensed into higher alcoholic content products. Two distillation processes are needed to produce Tequila: the first is called crushing and the second rectification.
Alcoholic content increases with rectification and undesirable products are eliminated, getting a high purity product. Tequila gotten from crushing or first distillation is called “Tequila ordinario” (standard Tequila). Tequila earned from second distillation or rectification is considered as “Tequila blanco” (white Tequila). In addition to vinasses, there are other sub products that can be gotten from distillation beginning and ending, known as “cabezas”(heads) and “colas” (tails), respectively. The last parts of the distillate to come through the still, usually recycled into a subsequent distillation.
Generally, Tequila gotten from distillation can be used:
- To be diluted and bottled as White Tequila/Silver;
- For Tequila sale in bulk (applicable on the “Tequila” category, only);
- After settling Tequila for a few weeks in the tanks before bottling, it can be bottled as a Young Tequila or Golden;
- Matured and bottled as Aged Tequila;
- Matured and bottled as Extra Aged Tequila; and
- Matured and bottled as Ultra Aged Tequila.
The Tequila bottler must demonstrate, at all times, that the product has not been altered since it was delivered in bulk until final bottling thereof.
Tequila should be bottled in medical type new containers, safe and made with materials resistant to the different stages of the process, so they do not react with the product or alter its physical, chemical and sensory features.
Each container capacity cannot exceed 1,320 gallons (5 liters) and in no case can use containers with brands that are not owned by the producer or packer approved under terms of this NOM draft.
Branding and labeling
Each Tequila bottle shall show a legible label, containing the following information in Spanish language. Information must be truthful and not mislead consumers about the nature and characteristics of Tequila. It shall include:
a) The word “Tequila”;
b) Category and Class;
c) The flavor or aroma added, in its case;
d) Net content in liters or millimeters, as per NOM-03O-SCFI-1993
e) Alcoholic content expressed in alcohol percent in 20ºC volume, that should be abbreviated “% Alc. Vol.”;
f) Name or trade name of the Authorized Producer or the factory in where Tequila is produced and, if this would be the case, the approved bottler name;
g) Address of the Authorized Producer or the factory in where Tequila is produced and, if this would be the case, the approved bottler address;
h) The registered brand name, followed by the symbols ® o “MR”;
i) The legend HECHO EN MÉXICO (MADE IN MÉXICO), PRODUCTO DE MÉXICO (PRODUCT OF MÉXICO), ELABORADO EN MÉXICO (MANUFACTURED IN MÉXICO), or analog wording;
j) An official code, in accordance with NOM-106-SCFI-2000;
k) Lot: lot identification must be engraved or marked on each bottle, with a code indication. Lot identification annotated by the Authorized Producer or the approved bottler must not be altered neither hidden in any way;
l) Precautionary legends as set forth by health law; and
m) Any other information as required by other legal provisions applicable to alcoholic beverages.
Specific requirements about elaboration, bottling and trading processes are foreseen in the Tequila Mexican Official Standards in effect NOM-006-SCFI-2012, BEBIDAS ALCOHOLICAS- TEQUILA-ESPECIFICACIONES