Home' Bars and Clubs : BAC MarApl 2016 Contents Since starting with the company in 1987, Maria Theresa Lara has worked
her way up the ranks at Casa Herradura, one of the world's leading tequila
producers and the last remaining tequila producing hacienda on the planet.
We spoke to her about her career, her love of tequila and the work that goes
into being the world's only female master distiller of tequila.
How did you get started in distillation?
I started my work at Casa Herradura in January
1987 in quality control and quality assurance.
In 1999 I began my activities in the distillation
process, as it is the heart of production for
tequila quality control. Working directly with
the operators of this process (distillers and
guardavinos), I learned a lot from them and
so started the verification process, developing
procedures, and training staff so all our operators
now work to the same strict regulations.
Why do you think we need more women in
I feel we can be more analytical, and we fall in love
with what we do. It is also important to recognize
the capacity of women in all activities and how little
opportunity is given to them within our industry,
politics and administrative posts here in Mexico.
What is a typical day for you?
I check the quality of the agave, yields and
production efficiencies. I also spend time looking
at lab results for both the analytical and sensory
measures. I work closely with the Process
Quality Control Department on new product
developments. A large portion of my time is
spent working directly with customers from
all over the world who are participating in the
Herradura Double Barrel Reposado program. I
am responsible for all production and packaging
for the brand, as well as being proudly Master
Tequilera. My work is definitely not routine, every
day I learn more and grow my tequila knowledge.
What is the hardest part of being master distiller?
It's a great responsibility because I represent the
quality of all Herradura products and have to, with
my team, ensure the highest possible standard
for all our tequilas. I am responsible for working
with customers for tastings -- sometimes the team
like my guidance, which makes getting a vacation
a little tough! But my staff are always very nice
What is the best part of your work?
It is the relationship I have with all the staff, for
me that's the best part and the most important.
I can honestly say that of all the things I've done
in my life, nothing is more fascinating than tequila.
By age 30 I was working at Casa Herradura and
I am proud to belong to this team, my work at
Casa Herradura is the best part of my life.
How is the tequila industry tracking?
The tequila industry is recovering with respect
to what we have been seeing in the last three
years. Our industry is always at the mercy of
Mother Nature, for example recently there was
a snowstorm in the highlands and the CRT [the
tequila regulatory agency] has begun to monitor
the possible effects on plants that are one to
three years old.
What is the perfect way to drink a tequila?
For me the best way is neat in a proper Riedel
glass, which was designed to appreciate the
aromatic notes and sensory characteristics
present in tequila. You have to taste it with small
sips (kisses) from the glass, properly taste it and
get to know the organoleptic sensations that it
contains. But it is important to respect the way
each consumer likes to drink their tequila, because
at the end of the day every palate is different --
some people like it mixed, with food, on the rocks.
In short, every consumer should enjoy it how
What makes a good tequila?
Extreme care in each manufacturing step. It is
essential that the agave has time to properly
mature; that its hydrolysis, fermentation,
distillation, maturation is carried out with
attention to quality while always remaining true
to the heritage and production traditions of
each casa. It is very interesting to see how
passionate our operational people are about their
positions -- each makes their job their full focus
and they are so driven to create a quality product,
it is inspirational. That is what makes a good
tequila -- passion. Tequila really is the best drink in
Translated from Spanish.
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