Transparency in Agave: Navigating the Tequila Landscape


Over the last few years, there has been a rise with U.S. consumers demanding more transparency within the spirits they purchase and consume, particularly in agave. Thanks to the efforts and education offered by Tequila Matchmaker and Instagram influencers such as Jay Baer (tequilajaybaer), Lucas Assis (thelucasassis), Nic Soglanich (the_tequila_wanderer), Doug Price (agavesocialclub) and Rob Gerard (the_tequilacollective) to name a few, consumers are becoming more educated in the tequila space. Additive free tequila has been a growing topic in the spirits industry as of late. Traditionally, additive free tequila should only contain three essential ingredients, which are water, fully mature blue weber agave (which take anywhere from 6-10 years to reach maturity) and yeast. The rise of new tequila brands has been vast, with around 316 new tequila brands launched in the U.S, in 2023, according to Tequila Matchmaker. Due to the influx, it’s more important than ever for brands to have an authentic story and not cut corners in their production process in order to resonate with today’s savvy consumers. 

Tequila Matchmaker is a great resource where one can create an account for free to educate themselves on additive free tequilas. Their platform will note if a tequila is part of their Additive Free Alliance program along with all of their production details, including their NOM (Norma Oficial Mexicana number), or where the spirit is produced from. They even have a rating system generated by consumers, so you can see how Tequila Matchmaker members in the past have rated each tequila within their database. So, next time you are at a bar and looking at their tequila list and want to look up some information on tequila(s), you’ll have a free resource with more information. 

Books like Agave Spirits: The Past, Present, and Future of Mezcals by Gary Paul Nabhan and David Suro Piñera, The Tequila Ambassador by Tomas Estes, A Field Guide to Tequila by Clayton J. Szczech and Tequila & Mezcal: The Complete Guide by Kobe Desmet and Isabel Boons dig deep into how traditional agave spirits are made. If you’re interested in getting certifications and expanding your knowledge within the tequila space, you can also check out The Tequila International Academy, where they have three levels of online courses to give you the opportunity to become a Tequila Sommelier along with other tequila branded courses.  

Of course, this is only the beginning of the increased attention surrounding the additive free tequila movement, as many people still require education to make informed purchasing decisions if they are looking for an additive free spirit. Alongside transparency in tequila, we are also seeing that other categories, including whiskey and rum, are being more forthcoming with their production processes as well. This all leads to a more educated consumer, which is ultimately a win for all.