Did Jose Cuervo Really Make Tequila?

Learn the origins of Jose Cuervo tequila and have a taste of Mexico’s most famous spirit by booking a private tour to Hacienda Jose Cuervo with Vallarta Adventures.

Tequila lovers and history buffs may be interested to know that you can take scenic day trips from Puerto Vallarta to the old distillery where the famous Jose Cuervo tequila was, and still is, made, located in the town of Tequila, in the state of Jalisco. The Hacienda Jose Cuervo tour from Vallarta Adventures is a great way to get an insider look at the distilling process, as well as have a taste for yourself. Brush up on your Jose Cuervo history below, then start planning your own tequila tour and trip to Mexico.

Who is Jose Cuervo?

You may be familiar with Jose Cuervo tequila already, as it is the best-selling brand in the world, but do you know where the name came from? Was Jose Cuervo a real person?


Yes, and it’s a name that can apply both to the tequila’s original creator, as well as the descendant who would name the product after himself nearly 150 years later.


In 1758, Don Jose Antonio de Cuervo was granted permission from the king of Spain to cultivate and harvest the blue agave plant in the Jalisco region of Mexico. His family founded the Taberno de Cuervo and began using the blue agave plant, which retains water, in a distilling process. In 1795, the first Vino Mezcal de Tequila de Jose Cuervo was made and the tequila industry was created. The blue agave plant only grows in a few spots, which means true tequila always comes from Mexico.


The distillery was officially founded in 1812 and passed down through the Cuervo family until Don Vicente—who had married into the family and received the distillery as a dowry—passed away. Don Jesus, who ran another distillery nearby, took over management. When Don Jesus passed away, his wife married Jose Cuervo Labastida, and it was from that point that the brand became known as Jose Cuervo Tequila, and the distillery was given the name La Rojeña. 

jose cuervo courtyard


Jose Cuervo Labastida began putting the mezcal de tequila in bottles, while others still used barrels. Soon, the Mexican government removed “mezcal” from the name, and it was referred to simply as “tequila.” Since the bottles were much easier to distribute commercially, they began selling their first bottled tequila in 1906. 

Types of Tequila

couple at hacienda jose cuervo tour tequila testing

After the fermenting and distilling of the juices from the blue agave plant, the resulting tequila is naturally clear. When in this form it is referred to as “blanco” or “white.” There is also an aged version that has lost its color over time. Although this type is also clear, it is referred to as “plata” or “silver”.


During the aging period, the tequila is put in barrels, which gives it a golden color. This gold tequila has three variations, depending on the length of time it has been aging. After 2 to 12 months, a light amber tequila called Reposado is created. 


The second type, Añejo, is a dark amber color and has more flavor from spending more time in the oak barrel, typically 1 to 3 years. Extra Añejo is even darker and even more flavorful after 3 or more years in the barrel. It is also made with 100% blue agave, rather than being diluted to a lower alcohol level. Jose Cuervo Tequila has 9 different types with varying alcohol percentages and each with a unique flavor. 

Hacienda Jose Cuervo Tour

This full-day tour of La Rojeña, the Jose Cuervo distillery, is a true one-of-a-kind experience. You’ll get to see the expansive blue agave fields, the historic Mundo Cuervo and its beautiful architecture, and the Reserva de la Familia private cellar. 

jose cuervo tequila reserve room

In an educational and cultural experience similar to a wine tasting, you will be taken into the cellar amidst the aromatic oak barrels, and have the opportunity to taste four varieties of Jose Cuervo tequila. You’ll also learn about the traditions and history of the distillery from our expert bilingual guides.

Enjoy it by land or by air

jose cuervo tour private airplane

Transportation to and from the town of Tequila for the Hacienda Jose Cuervo tour is provided in an air-conditioned van. It can also come in the form of a luxurious private flight. Vallarta Adventures can help you make arrangements for a flight with Air Adventures, Mexico’s leading charter aviation company.  You can also book a flight to other popular destinations, such as Careyes and Los Cabos resorts, the towns of Oaxaca and San Miguel de Allende, and the famous markets in Guadalajara.

Vallarta Adventures

Book a tour of the original Puerto Vallarta tequila distillery, an Air Adventures flight, or choose from our other unforgettable tours with Vallarta Adventures!

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