EconomyFinancialA pulque distillate? This is the strategy to reposition...

A pulque distillate? This is the strategy to reposition the drink

Raúl García Ramírez wanted to produce fuel from maguey. Then he began to study the properties of the plant, which was one of his study projects while he was studying Agronomy Engineering at the Autonomous University of Chapingo. But he took a different path and ended up making a pulque distillate.

The turn of the wheel occurred in 2018, after a tlachiquero (pulque producer) from Axapusco – a municipality in the Teotihuacán Valley and the community where his parents had a ranch full of pulque magueyes – sold him 400 liters of the so-called ‘drink of the gods’ before it became unusable.

Without the capacity to sell so much, Raúl’s first proposal was to turn the drink into fertilizer and then he began to experiment in other aspects, such as working to preserve the flavors and aromas of the drink, and he ran into the challenge of finding the ideal team to distill.

In four years, García Ramírez designed an entire process to generate a pulque distillate without having precise information on how they did it in pre-Hispanic times. The point was to develop a refined alcohol that, when drunk, does not ‘scratch’ the throat, an advantage over tequila and mezcal. “We are not developing a new product, we are recovering a tradition lost in time,” he says.

Now, the Meyotl Distillery product portfolio has five distillates: Dr Pulkenstein, awarded by the International Flavor Institute, Tlahuel 35° and Tlahuel 45°, both with one distillation. The Tlahuel 35° and the Tlahuel 45° of double distillation are added, and that have awards in the international contest of Brussels of 2021.

Meyotl Distillery has the capacity to produce 12,000 250-milliliter bottles and, already with the necessary permits, is close to making its first shipment of more than 3,000 bottles of the different distillates to San Antonio, Texas, while it awaits the opening of the markets in Europe. after the awards in the international competition.

“I wanted to develop a drink that didn’t harm the throat, that tasted very good and that was very pleasant to drink. Obviously also to remove that stigma that pulque has that it is a cheap or ordinary drink and, in fact, I think that we have been achieving it since this project where we teach people what maguey is, how it is processed and how it is makes the pulque”, he points out.

The distillery is also in Axapusco, an ideal place for the maguey pulquero due to the weather conditions. This town is part of the producing region, which includes Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, Puebla and other places in the State of Mexico. The maguey pulquero can measure up to three meters in height, with a circumference of 10 meters and undergoes a minimum maturation process of eight years so that its natural liquid can be extracted.

The first procedure is the fermentation process and for distillation this white pulque is distilled to make the liquids that are marketed, to which it is expected to add flavor to wink at the so-called cured pulques, which are fermented with some fruit or vegetable. .

The commitment to grow with tourism

The founder of the Meyotl Distillery makes a bet similar to that of other alcoholic beverages to promote sales: tourism. Just as some tequila houses, mezcal producers and even wine cellars do, it receives groups of 10 to 40 people on its floor to do some experiences, such as tastings with mixologists and sommeliers.

In addition, in the Teotihuacán area, where there are a large number of foreign tourists, you have the opportunity to sell everything from bottles to cases of beverages. These sales represent between 10% and 15% of the total income of the distillery. Meanwhile, with the arrival of the new normality, they are resuming negotiations to enter restaurant chains and specialized stores, something that had been put on hold due to the stoppage of activities with confinement.

“There are several pulque haciendas and they have wanted to detonate a project by adding several pulque haciendas. That is where we are also introducing the distillate as a local drink, while the outlook for pulque distillate is still difficult, because it is easier to sell it in other countries than in Mexico,” says the founder of Meyotl Distillery.

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