Sunday, March 3, 2024

How El Cristiano Is Making the Purist Tequila the Most Sustainable

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Hailing from third-generation tequila makers, El Cristiano is out to make the purest and most sustainable tequila on the market.

There is no shortage of options when it comes to tequila. The market is booming—from the cheap to the luxury—especially celebrity-backed tequila options, ranging from offerings by Kendall Jenner, The Rock, and Eva Longoria. But for founders Christian Navarro, Bill Shafer, Chris, Shafer, and the makers in the Aceves family, the industry still has a long way to go.

The group of friends came up with the idea to launch the new tequila brand El Cristiano after spending decades in the spirits industry—their combined expertise totals more than four decades. They set out to find a tequila master to help them craft a world-class tequila that filled a market gap: luxury, clean tequila.

“We believe the premium tequila drinker has been searching for ultra aged options that hold true varietal characteristics of the blue agave grown in the Jalisco region without additives,” El Cristiano founders said in a statement. “Being sourced from the finest Jalisco Highlands, and through our proprietary distillation and aging processes, giving our tequila delicious and pure taste, without sacrificing the quality and ingredients.”

El Cristiano

El Cristiano’s third-generation family of tequila makers is focused on exceptional quality—it’s why they only use mature agave plants, which gives the liquor a more intricate flavor. It’s like aging wine, only in this case, the aging happens before the harvesting and production.

Mature agave—those that have aged at least five years—make a difference in the taste of tequila, according to the team. And that’s a guiding principle for the brand.

El Cristiano distills the old-fashioned way—copper pots. It’s a practice that is handed down from generation to generation. Similar methods are used in mezcal production, Oaxaca’s agave spirit, and in bacanora, the lesser-known agave spirit that hails from Sonora.

After distillation, El Cristiano’s tequila is aged in American Oak barrels. The line includes silver, reposado, añejo, aged añejo, extra-aged añejos, extra-aged reposados, and extra reposado—which is aged 11 months.

Already, the brand is being recognized for its purity; the inaugural TAG Global Spirits Awards gave the resposado and añejo black Double Gold status, and the blanco silver earned the Silver title.

According to the founders, 85 percent of all tequila brands add sugar, flavor, or color—often all three—to make their tequila taste better.

A taste of tradition

“Our traditional process is one that has been perfected over generations with zero additives and absolutely no compromise or shortcut, with a commitment to sustainable agriculture,” the founders say. “We are confident that our differentiation process will resonate clearly to the consumer both in taste and quality.” That process includes a focus on harvesting with a focus on sustainable agriculture practices. All agave for El Cristiano is harvested in the highlands of Jalisco.

The founders say they’re not just committed to great tequila, but the community, too. Proceeds from the sale of El Cristiano go to support the children of Arandas and the Jalisco Highlands region. A percentage of the sale of every bottle goes to the Arandas orphanage, the public school system, and the local kids’ soccer club.

Looking to give it a try? You can find El Cristiano served at Soho House, Spago, San Vicente Bungalows, Resorts World Las Vegas, Montrose Beverly Hills, Delilah, Wally’s Beverly Hills, and Raspoutine, among others.

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