Patrón is synonymous with tequila, but the premium brand’s starting price tag may be difficult for many to shoot down.
A bottle of Patrón Silver can cost from $50 to $600 USD for a 12-bottle case. However, a top-shelf handmade crystal bottle of Patrón en Lalique: Serie 2 costs up to $7,500 USD. These prices put Patrón in the super premium tequila category.
The agave plant is essential in making tequila. Not all tequila is 100% agave tequila, but Patrón Tequila is.
Despite the high price, super premium tequila accounted for nearly 19% of all tequila sold in the US in 2016. For Patrón, its high price tag comes down to its traditional, handcrafted, and small batch system.
Patrón’s distillery in Jalisco, Mexico corks 80 tequila bottles per minute.
The process begins with the agave plant. Agave is known for its leathery leaves that range in size from a few centimeters to 8 feet. It is native to hot and dry regions in Mexico, where it can be harvested year-round.
“Tequila Patron is exclusively 100% agave, the Weber Blue Agave. And this is what makes it special because the main flavors for the tequila should come from the agave,” said Patrón Production Director, Antonio Rodriguez.
Farmers who harvest agave plants, called jimadores, chop agave into a round shape to reveal the heart of the plant, called a piña. One piña can produce around one case, which is about 12 bottles of tequila. Patrón receives roughly 8,000 piñas from the agave fields each day.
Patrón began production at the Jalisco distillery in 2002, and their recipe has remained the same.
“The key decision that the company had was to respect the process of Francisc Alcaraz, the master distiller, and just take the time to just replicate the same small distillery in which we started,” explained Rodriguez. “We have much more equipment, but it’s always the same material, the same size, and the same kind of process that we’ve had since day one.”
Patrón makes several varieties of ultra premium tequila, including Silver, Reposado, and Añejo.
The distillery produces 30 times as much tequila compared to its first day of operation in 2002. More than 400 employees at a given time work to cork, seal, and label each bottle by hand, and at least 60 hands touch each bottle. The bottles are then carefully wrapped in Patrón’s signature green paper and boxed for shipment.
Bacardi bought out Patrón, valuing the tequila maker at $5.1 billion. But Patrón says the deal will not change the traditional way it makes its tequila.
“They really are committed to not touching the process. It’s very, very successful, and it’s not easy to replicate. It’s the core of the success of Patron, so it’s going to remain like that,” Rodriguez said.
The Yucatan Times Newsroom with information from: