|This article relies on references to primary sources. (April 2012)|
|Manufacturer||Tequila Cuervo La Rojeña, S.A. de C.V|
|Country of origin||Mexico|
|Alcohol by volume||38%-40% abv|
Jose Cuervo is a brand of tequila that was founded in 1795 by Don Jose Antonio de Cuervo. It is the best selling tequila in the world, with 35.1% market share of the tequila category worldwide  and 33.66% share of the US tequila category.
Jose Cuervo has always been family-owned and is run today by the Beckmann family who are direct descendants of Jose Cuervo. Juan-Domingo "Dobel" Beckmann, son of Don Juan Beckmann, is the sixth-generation leader of the company. In July 2013 Proximo Spirits took over distribution of Jose Cuervo in the US from Diageo who had managed it since 1997.
In 1758, Jose Antonio de Cuervo obtained a parcel of land from King Ferdinand VI of Spain in the village of Tequila, Jalisco. Here his family founded ‘Taberna de Cuervo’, the farm on which they began to cultivate and harvest the blue agave plant. In 1795, his son Jose María Guadalupe Cuervo was granted the first official license from King Carlos IV to produce tequila commercially, following a time of prohibition under King Carlos III. This marked the birth of the tequila category.
The distillery was officially founded in 1812 and given the name it carries today, ‘Fabrica La Rojeña’, named after Jose Guadalupe’s son-in-law, Vincente Albino Rojas, making it the oldest active distillery in Latin America. He began the tradition of marking each barrel of tequila with the image of a crow, which can also be found in the Cuervo family crest (Cuervo translated from Spanish means ‘crow’).
After the death of Don Vincente, Jesus Flores (owner of the distillery now known as La Constancia) took over management of La Rojeña. He was the first to package the tequila into damajuanas (rope-encased jugs), where previously they had been stored only in wooden barrels. The damajuanas were later replaced with individual bottles, making it easier to transport the tequila across the border to America. The company shipped its first export of 3 bottles across the border on the back of a donkey in 1873.
On the death of Don Jesus, his wife, Ana Gonzalez Rubio, inherited La Rojeña and in 1900 married Jose Cuervo Labastida, head of La Constancia. From then on, the brand became Jose Cuervo Tequila.
Silver vs Gold
Tequila is naturally clear ("silver" or "plata") after fermentation and distillation are complete. Tequila can then be aged in oak barrels, which gives it a golden color. A pale amber color is achieved by aging between 2 months and 1 year, and is referred to as reposado. A darker gold color is achieved by aging at least 1 year, and is referred to as anejo.
Tequila must be at least 51% agave to legally be called tequila. The purest tequilas are 100% agave.
Of the Cuervo Especial products, neither are 100% agave tequilas. Cuervo Especial Silver is at least 51% agave, not aged. Cuervo Especial Gold (commonly referred to as "Cuervo Gold") is a blend of reposado and younger tequilas of at least 51% agave, with caramel coloring added to the finished product to give it the rich gold color.
The Cuervo Tradicional Brand products: Silver and Reposado, are 100% agave tequilas. The reposado achieves its amber color through 6 months of barrel aging. The average cost for 750ml of aged Reposado ranges between $20.00-$39.00 US.
1800, previously labelled "Cuervo 1800" before being distributed by Proximo, is now a 100% agave tequila, available in silver, reposado and anejo. The reposado is aged 6 months, and the anejo 3 years.
The Cuervo Express
The Jose Cuervo Express train was opened to visitors in February 2012 to help promote tourist development in the Jalisco area. The train travels 60 kilometers from Guadalajara to Tequila, taking 2 hours to journey through the agave fields and past volcanoes. On arrival in the town of Tequila, guests are then able to take a tour of the Jose Cuervo factory and distillery, La Rojeña.
- Jose Cuervo Especial Gold
- Jose Cuervo Especial Silver
- Jose Cuervo Tradicional
- Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver
- Jose Cuervo Platino
- Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia
- Jose Cuervo Authentic Margarita
- Jose Cuervo Light Margarita
- Jose Cuervo Golden Margarita
- Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix
- 1889 – Mexican President, Porfirio Díaz awards Cuervo its first gold medal for the quality of its Tequila produced.
- The Reserva de la Familia Añejo was awarded a double gold medal at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Influence on Popular Culture
Cuervo Gold is referred to in Steely Dan's song "Hey Nineteen", on their album Gaucho, released in 1980.
Also mentioned in the song "Ten Rounds with Jose Cuervo" by Tracy Byrd.
Shelly West wrote a song titled "Jose Cuervo" and references the brand in the lyrics "Jose Cuervo, you are a friend of mine"
- [Source: Impact Database: Top Ten Brands Worldwide 2011]
- Getting beneath the Jose Cuervo story
- "Gold or Joven Tequila".
- "Jose Cuervo Especial Facts".
- "Jose Cuervo Tradicional Prices".
- "Proximo Jose Cuervo distribution".
- Proof66.com Award Summary for Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia