As I learn more and more about the agave industry, one of my consistent goals is to keep it positive. I truly love and care about agave, and I want you all to feel that passion as you read my pieces and watch my videos. There are too many great brands and initiatives for us to give our attention to the bad stuff that happens. But I also want to be honest with you all, which means every so often I need to call attention to the not-so-positive stuff… So let’s talk about Teremana tequila and the problems I have with the brand.
A little over a year ago, Teremana’s owner, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, posted a celebratory post on Instagram mentioning the fact that Teremana sold 600,000+ cases. That’s over three million bottles. (You can check out my 2022 response to the announcement here)
This week, The Rock posted another update celebrating that Teremana will sell its one millionth case this month. According to him, it is the fastest-growing tequila brand in the US and the fastest-growing spirit ever. That is quite an accomplishment.
But therein lies my biggest problem with the brand.
Listen, I know that in any industry there are big corporations and family-owned businesses and the craft and the industrialized. I also understand that Teremana can be an introduction to the world of tequila for several people, many of whom find it delicious.
But I also know some of us are really passionate about additive-free tequilas and love to learn about the production methods and how those methods impact tequila. The ones that care about the longevity of this spirit in terms of culture and sustainability seem to be in the minority, though, even if we have seen an exciting trend of more and more people joining our efforts.
I am not here to talk about the additives, the taste, and why I don’t like the brand and how it tastes; I have been clear that all of that is a personal preference. For me, the biggest problem with Teramana is its lack of transparency. In my opinion, boasting about selling one million cases and still having “SMALL BATCH” in big letters on the bottles seems a tad hypocritical and should not be allowed by the tequila regulatory council, CRT.
What constitutes a small batch of tequila? How can the consumer not be fooled by a marketing strategy? Today, there are no guidelines for that.
I believe that all brands should be carefully reviewed and certified by the CRT to be able to use the term “small batch.” If a brand says only one truckload of agave is bottled in a singular bottling session, that should be verified by the CRT. Then and only then should a brand be marketed as a “small batch.”
Another place where Teremana tequila lacks transparency is where the tequila actually comes from. Teremana is proud to say it has its own distillery, Destileria Teremana De Agave. They have informed me that it sits on the same property as the giant NOM 1416, which is co-owned by the same family that owns 1416. The problem here is that there are so many loopholes taken advantage of in the tequila industry.
For example, did you know that the NOM (which is supposed to be – and regularly assumed to mean – the tequila’s address) doesn’t really have to be the location in which the tequila was fermented, distilled, and truly made? It just means it was bottled at that location.
The problem here is that a concerning number of brands are buying tequila from wherever they can to meet the demand. These brands will then blend them all together and bottle them at their respective NOMs. So how can we tell if a Tequila is made and bottled at one distillery?! The only way to confirm this is if brands decide to be transparent about the size of their ovens and how much agave is being cooked, in relation to how many bottles are coming out.
The problem is that this information has not been shared.
I have urged The Rock and Teremana to be transparent about this before. What’s the big deal about releasing the size of their ovens, and the number of agaves being cooked over at Destileria Teremana De Agave? There should be no issue in disclosing the information if the yield they are getting from each agave matches the one million cases of Teremana. We’re just asking for some transparency in an industry that has been manipulated for so long. I hope that I am wrong about this. I am eager to see proof from the brand and admit my error.
My goal with this is not to “hate on” a brand like Teremana. I am a huge fan of The Rock and believe he uses his celebrity influence to bring positivity to people all over the world. I love that.
But, when you celebrate being the biggest growing spirit brand ever, and you’re in line to make billions of dollars in an industry that is notorious for having little-to-no transparency, some questions are going to be raised. I hope The Rock’s tequila brand will differ from the other mega-companies and show they value tequila transparency.
@thelucasassis_ Let’s see if I can tell difference in these in a blind taste. #teremana #casadragones #ocho #mexico #tasting #blindtastetest #jalisco ♬ original sound – Lucas Assis