It is no secret that tequila can only be produced in Mexico, and only in very few states, as there are regulations that prohibit its production anywhere else. Such regulation is called an appellation of origin, which has been set for other products, including Pharma ham, Feta cheese, and champagne. However, even when most of us have heard the term, not all know what exactly an appellation of origin means, and what is the main purpose behind these regulations.
To begin with, an appellation of origin is a designation that is assigned to different products in order to highlight a specific quality of the products that are the result of the geographical environment on which they have been traditionally produced. One great example is Pharma ham, which can only be produced in the region of Emilia Romagna, in Italy. This means that every step of the process, from the breeding of the pigs that are used, to the packaging of the finished product must be done in a specific region in order to receive the seal of Pharma’s pointed ducal crown. This seal is monitored, controlled, and provided by the Istituto Parma Qualitá, which is the entity in charge of protecting this kind of ham.
This means that an appellation of origin includes a set of standards that have to be met by producers if they want their product to be called by a certain name, just like it’s the case of tequila. The rules of these appellations determine every step of the production process, from where it is grown, the way the product is processed, even the packaging is monitored by different councils and entities. They ensure that the quality and authenticity of the different protected products are not being affected or ignored.
In the case of tequila, the entity that is in charge of monitoring and controlling the production in Mexico is called Tequila Regulatory Council, or CRT for its name in Spanish. This organization, which obtained its ISO – 9002 certification in 1992, aims at promoting the culture and quality of tequila, considered to be one of the most important symbols of national identity for Mexico.
As we mentioned before, the CRT and the appellation of origin placed on tequila prohibit the beverage being produced outside of Mexico. Besides, only a few states in Mexico are allowed to its production. Any product that wants to be called tequila needs to follow the Official Standard for Tequila, also known as NOM-006-SCFI-2005. Also, it must be produced in one of the five states that constitute the declared territory, which are Jalisco, Nayarit, Guanajuato, Michoacán, and Tamaulipas. In total, these states include 180 municipalities where tequila can be produced. As a result, the quality of tequila, along with its tradition and national identity, are preserved.