Tequila!

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Early 20th century Babcock and Wilcox boiler at the La MartineƱa tequilaria. We were able to wander around freely through the facilities, which weren’t in use at this time of the year.

 

This is a photo essay, the last from our recent journey to Mexico, covering Tequila, a UNESCO Heritage site in the state of Jalisco between Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta. The town sits in a valley, surrounded with beautiful hills. It’s an old historic place, with two centuries of tequila making under its belt. The famous brands, Jose Cuervo (the crow), and Sauza, both have major facilities tricked out for tourist visits. But what we really loved was the hundred-year-old tequilarias that still fill the back streets along the Atizcua River that runs through the town.

Close-up on the boiler's provenance.

Close-up on the boiler’s provenance.

Adriana and her mom under the "cuervo" at Jose Cuervo's fancy-schmantz tequila factory and tourist center (rather Disney-ish, actually).

Adriana and her mom under the “cuervo” at Jose Cuervo’s fancy-schmantz tequila factory and tourist center (rather Disney-ish, actually).

Here's a bunch of the agave plants that are the source of tequila growing above the old laundry washing area in the heart of the old part of town.

Here’s a bunch of the agave plants that are the source of tequila growing above the old laundry washing area in the heart of the old part of town.

Here's the 82 laundry stations where the town's laundry was done for more than a century, prior to better plumbing.

Here’s the 82 laundry stations where the town’s laundry was done for more than a century, prior to better plumbing.

This is a spring adjacent to the laundry zone, still flourishing.

This is a spring adjacent to the laundry zone, still flourishing.

Inside the Cuervo facility I did come upon this eerily beautiful view from their chapel towards a blue courtyard.

Inside the Cuervo facility I did come upon this eerily beautiful view from their chapel towards a blue courtyard.

We followed the tequila route to the older facilities upstream from the tourist-ified centro.

We followed the tequila route to the older facilities upstream from the tourist-ified centro.

This was our favorite spot since we had free run of the place and ended up buying some of their unpretentious liqueurs (almond and coffee). The famous brands were bragging in town about their rediscovery of the old ways and their newly branded artisanal lines of tequila. Here, they just keep making it the same way they have for over a 100 years and don't make much effort to brag about it.

This was our favorite spot since we had free run of the place and ended up buying some of their unpretentious liqueurs (almond and coffee). The famous brands were bragging in town about their rediscovery of the old ways and their newly branded artisanal lines of tequila. Here, they just keep making it the same way they have for over a 100 years and don’t make much effort to brag about it.

Inside the courtyard.

Inside the courtyard.

For fans of rustbelt aesthetics, here are great images, but these facilities are still in use!

For fans of rustbelt aesthetics, here are great images, but these facilities are still in use!

Distilling!

Distilling!

They've taken some of their old equipment and turned it into art pieces.

They’ve taken some of their old equipment and turned it into art pieces.

These were a bit more dramatic.

These were a bit more dramatic.

Inside one of the rooms where processing takes place in season.

Inside one of the rooms where processing takes place in season.

It was darn romantic!

It was darn romantic!

Stepping back outside this old arch called me.

Stepping back outside this old arch called me.

Eljath Tequila

Eljath Tequila

El Tequileno Tequila

El Tequileno Tequila

Los Abuelos/La Forteleza, owned by the descendants of the Sauza dynasty.

Los Abuelos/La Forteleza, owned by the descendants of the Sauza dynasty.

Inside El Castellano, an abandoned 19th century tequilaria...

Inside El Castellano, an abandoned 19th century tequilaria…

The town built this welcoming "river walk" walkway above the Atizcua River amidst the crumbling walls of 19th century tequila factories.

The town built this welcoming “river walk” walkway above the Atizcua River amidst the crumbling walls of 19th century tequila factories.

Here you can see the river along the wall of a major facility.

Here you can see the river along the wall of a major facility.

Zapata recruitment poster inside one of the places we visited... asking married men to bring their wives to cook for them and carry their rifles!

Zapata recruitment poster inside one of the places we visited… asking married men to bring their wives to cook for them and carry their rifles!

On the road leaving Tequila looking back at the town in the distance.

On the road leaving Tequila looking back at the town in the distance.

Gorgeous sunsets throughout our journey!

Gorgeous sunsets throughout our journey!

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