In order to understand with precision the origin of the Tequila, it is necessary to acknowledge its prehispanic roots. During the prehispanic era, the Tequila tribe from Amatitlan, learned its essential process. The process utilized by them consisted of boiling and fermenting the agave plant in order to obtain a ritualistic beverage only consumed by religious authorities.
The beverage and its origin were unknown to the European continent until the arrival of conquistador Hernan Cortez. When Cortez arrived to what he believed to be the Indies, he discovered an enchanted world of resources and wide commercial practices. In his first letter to King Carlos V, Cortez denotes special interest to the existence of the mezcal:
"..They sell honey emanated from corn that are as sweet as the sugar obtained from a plant they call maguey, from these plants they make wine and sugar which they also sell."
(Idem: 79).Luna Zamora P. 29)
With the influence of the religious world through the mission of spreading the word of God in the New Continent, the missionaries also discovered the presence of Indigenous products such as the maguey and the corn. Fray Francisco Ximenez, a Spanish monk, indicated the importance of the product diversity obtained from the maguey plant during the 16th century. In his observations he stated that the Mexcalmelt was one of the most utilized varieties of mezcal. However, the Tepemexcall was utilized more emphatically for religious practices. In the year 1651, Jeronimo Hernandez, a Spanish doctor indicates that the Tequila beverage was strictly utilized for medicinal purposes. Among the uses were rheumatic cures achieved by rubbing tequila on the affected body parts. (Encyclopedia de Mexico p. 66)
The prehispanic realm conceived the importance of the products and rituals derived from the maguey and mezcal. However the history that founded the origins of the Tequila as a product initiate in 1758. In 1758 Jose Cuervo, a Spanish entrepreneur was given full cultivating rights on the vast territorial extensions of Villoslada, Jalisco. One year later Jose Maria Guadalupe Cuervo, was given by the king of Spain the rights on the production of Tequila. During the 1850's Jose Maria Castaneda established La Antigua, a mezcal and wine distillery. La Antigua was then acquired by Cenobio Sauza on September first, 1873. During the same year Mr. Sauza exported eight barrels to the United States. In 1888 he changed the name to La Perseverancia.
La Perseverancia would eventually face changes in the development of the Industry. The political and socio-economic changes developing in Mexico affected the tequila industry in the 18th and 19th centuries. Tequila was became a taxed product The taxes were designated to the fund war against the remaining of emperor Maximilian. (Zamora p. 63)
Another significant change was the introduction of the Mexican rail system. The coming of the train as a means of transportation, enabled the tequila Industry to reach broader destinations.
The extra regional markets were conquered due to the solid development of Commercial systems. These commercial systems enabled the tequila market to participate internationally. From a national product, the tequila would become an international oriented market. The first exports were achieved by land into the United States by the second halve of the 19th century. The tequila industry achieved high commercial goals. Along with these achievements, technological improvements and optimum agricultural planning dictated the success of the Industry. The industrialism that marked the shift from a semi-rural industry to a more mechanized one would enable a more sophisticated and efficient production capacity.
The transition of technologies and production capacities were a clear sign of the 20th century. The same shift geared a more active consumption that required further changes and adaptations that would be evident by the Second World War. During the peace time, the demand for tequila would increase miraculously. The Second World War increased the market for the product. By 1950 the number of agave fields increased to 5697. An increase of 110 percent in relation to 1940. (Zamora)
The sixties are representative of a trend in the national and international levels of consumption. 1965 marks a new period in the history of tequila. The tequila industry passed from being a traditional oriented industry to a more developed market. The decade that marked the sixties represented a considerable increase of national and international tequila consumption. The capital city of the state of Jalisco, Guadalajara became then imperative and essential in the administrative endeavors that were required for the market reform.