The Two-Ton Stone That’s Made Tequila for Centuries

The history of the tahona is uncertain, though it likely didn’t emerge until the Spanish settled in the Americas in the 1500s, bringing with them a much-needed tool to operate the tahona—a donkey. While some distilleries have moved on to tractors as their mechanical beasts of burden, Pedro didn’t like the idea of using a donkey or a tractor, so Suerte’s stone is instead turned by a more modern electric motor.

Suerte found the stone for its tahona in a quarry down the street from their distillery. A local craftsman spent months shaping it by hand with chisels until it was the perfect size and shape for making tequila. Every drip of Suerte tequila is built upon thousands of chisels strikes and hours of slow crushing. And the time pays off.

“You are going to get way more flavor,” says founder Laurence Spiewak, comparing the process to using a mortar and pestle to make salsa. “The tahona is all about flavor, allowing the sugars to maintain their taste so they are better fermentable and distillable sugars. The stone will maintain them.”

Suerte is just one of five Mexican tequila brands that processes 100 percent of their agave with a tahona. They also make only their own tequila—and no one else’s. The same can’t be said for the greater world of tequila where some distilleries produce tequila for as many as 49 distinct brands. Suerte is only one of eight brands with its own dedicated single brand distillery.

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