Kelly's 2012 Mexico Tequila Tour

March 07 - Pernod Ricard & G4 distilleries

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A mild breakfast of mocha and bread was the thing to do, before an early departure for the Pernod Ricard distillery. It was built by Seagrams, or maybe for Patron. It's a BIG operation. They make quite a number of brands, and the production is impressive. Just the bottling line alone is staggeringly big compared to that of most of the distilleries we've seen. After an excellent and detailed tour, they gave us a formal tasting of a half-dozen tequilas. At the end, they gave each of us a signed bottle of Olmeca Blanco tequila.

With no time to stop for lunch, our trusty bus driver shuttled us straight to the G4 distillery owned and run by Felipe Camarana, Carlos' brother. Felipe is a character, a great guy, brimming with personality. He was nursing a beer throughout the tour, a bit of "hair of the dog" as he'd said.

The operation at G4 is tiny, especially when compared to the Pernod Recard distillery. Even though it's just starting, it'll never get to the size of the mega-producers. Instead, G4 is artesenal, crafting a terrific product. Additionally, Felipe is running it in one of the most "green" manners I've ever seen. G4 saves rain water for use in production, most liquid is moved around by gravity instead of electric pumps, and it produces no wastewater. Nice. Felipe's even invented an agave crusher he calls Frankenstein- An odd-looking contraption requiring only a 1HP electric motor to crush the roasted agave. Instead of rolling the tahona stone over the agave, the Frankenstein has a flat stone on the bottom and uses a spiked drum rolling on a railroad car's axle. This method uses MUCH less power than other methods. It's ingenious.

Felipe is dedicated to making truly good products, intending to be most pure ever, not (as he calls) a "river of sh*t." We sampled his blanco and reposado, as well as a 55% alcohol / 110 proof blanco. All were excellent. I got a bottle of the 55% blanco and one of the reposado.

Felipe's son Luis and the other employees made great margaritas and snacks for us. While the big operations are impressive, the personal touches and integrity of the smaller places really stand out.

After heading out to a restaurant, I ate too much, and was full beyond words. Then it was back into the bus, for a 5-6 hour drive.

It was horrible. The rolling party was supposed to be in the back of the bus, but it seemed to grow around me no matter where I was. I felt lousy and all I wanted at the time was to sleep, but that proved impossible no matter where I went. The last thing I wanted to do was interfere with the fun everyone else had, but the continual arm-twisting to drink was getting on my nerves. Have you ever been the only sober person at a party? That's how it felt. My insides weren't behaving well, and the rule was that "thou shalt not go #2 in the bus's restroom." No matter how much I was told to drink, I was NOT going to ingest alcohol with its laxative effect.

Once our intrepid drived navigated the beast of a bus we were in down the horsecart streets of tequila (no easy feat), we finally get close to the hotel. Due to the narrowness of the streets, we had to hoof it a short way to the hotel. As I reached the hotel's entrance, my bag split, dropping and shattering my precious G4 reposado. The hotel's owner felt badly for me, and gave me another bottle of reposado to replace it. While it wasn't as good as G4's, it was a wonderful gesture and I appreciated it greatly. As it turned out, it was a bottle that's not available in the U.S., and it came from a good distillery (though it's probably the bottom of their lines).

Now I'm experiencing the trots so badly I can't believe it. Charming.

While this hotel looks charming, it has weird rooms, bad wireless, tiny bathrooms with no place to set anything, and it's noisy. It has a big open sitting area in the lobby, and despite it being open to the sky, sound echoes. There are big duct between (thus connecting) bathrooms. Perfect. At least bed is comfortable.
In morning- No hot water. Cold shower. *sigh*



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Khrys serving
"breakfast"
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Passing agave
fields
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Visitor's badge
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Nice place
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Tahona stone
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Model of distilling
system
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Layout of
distillery
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Map of Mexico
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Master Distiller
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Preparation
for roasting
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Before and
after roast
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Before and after
crushing
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Raw pinas
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Freshly roasted
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Photo op
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Tasty agave
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Motorized
tahona stone
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Agave shredder
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Fresh agave
juice
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Dry fibers
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Juice extraction
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River of
goodness
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Waste removal
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Agave tank
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Fermentation
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Heating coils
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Many tanks
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Active yeast
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Wow!
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Filling tank
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Stylish
headwear
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Finished cases
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Serious bottling
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Filling bottles
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Bottle capping
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Boxing
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Inspection
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Formal tasting
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Taking notes
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Fields of blue
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G4 distillery
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Agave collecton
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Frankenstein
crusher
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Pure juice
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Adding water
to crushing
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Roasting oven
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Stone ovens
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Serious shredder
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Keep arms out!
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Crushing
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Removing remains
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Fermentation
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Felipe Camarena
owner, Master
distiller
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Fermentation
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Insulated
Still
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Water heater
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Water tank
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Waste water
evaporation
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Agave and
margaritas!
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Mmmm!
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Beautiful
fields
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G4 gate
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Chillin'
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Open air
operation
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Agave tank
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Pretty grounds
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Happy tour
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Flying past
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Dinner time
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Nice collection

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