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by Ritu Kohli


Fortaleza Tequila: All Hail 140 Years of Tequila Tradition

by Ritu Kohli

Fortaleza Tequila Bottles

by Ritu Kohli

Fortaleza Tequila is a tequila company with roots since 1873. 

Today, their tequila is one of the most sought after by newbies and connoisseurs alike. 

Due to their uncompromising company values and respect to the traditional process of making tequila they are known as one of the best makers of tequila.

The rise in demand for premium tequila has also caused a shortage for Fortaleza products, making it hard for retailers to keep the tequila in stock.

Award Winning Fortaleza Tequila

Photo by Tequila Fortaleza

The Rise Of Fortaleza Tequila In The United States

Formerly exported under the name “Los Abuelos,” Tequila Fortaleza as we know it in the United States, started in 2005.

The company was required to change the name because of a lawsuit with a rum company called Ron Abuelo. 

While other companies were cutting their tequila with sugars and additives, Tequila Fortaleza stuck true to their values despite market pressures and competition.

Tequila Fortaleza can attribute much of their success to the internet.

Tequila is an industry where there is a lot of misinformation from producers, brands, and promotional companies.

The internet has done a great job holding companies accountable and providing a lot  of transparency with information.

Because Fortaleza has stood true, Facebook groups, tequila review websites, and other internet sources have propped up this brand to near stardom.

Los Abuelos Fortaleza Tequila

Photo by Tequila Fortaleza

Is Tequila Fortaleza Also Called Los Abuelos?

Yes, Los Abuelos Tequila is the trade name that the company used to sell its tequila under in Mexico.

Due to rabid demand outside of Mexico, Los Abuelos Tequila is harder and harder to find as the producer focuses on the export side of the business.

What Is The History Of Fortaleza Tequila?

The family behind the Fortaleza company has one of the deepest roots in the tequila business and have been involved in a number of different distilleries including Sauza. 

The Cenobio family has been credited with many feats in the industry such as; 

  • Shortening the name from “mezcal de tequila” to “tequila”
  • Making tequila the national drink of Mexico
  • Establishing Tequila as a denomination of origin in 1996

The Fortaleza distillery as we know it today sits on a 80 acre piece of prime land in Tequila overlooking its competitors. 

When the distillery was purchased, it made tequila in the traditional method until 1968 when it was shut down and turned into a museum.

In 1999 the Fortaleza distillery was revitalized, renovated, and started producing tequila again in the same way that it did one hundred years before.

The first bottle sold from the new project was in 2005.

The production methods used are more difficult, but the rise in demand for high quality tequila has propagated Fortaleza Tequila to heights that only one could dream of. 

What Does “Fortaleza” Mean?

In Spanish the word fortaleza means “strength and fortitude.” 

Fortaleza Tequila Tahona

Photo by Tequila Fortaleza

What Is The Fortaleza Tequila Making Process?

This company has stuck with traditional artisanal tequila making methods which include;

  • Stone / brick ovens for cooking the agave with a 17.6 ton capacity
  • A stone tahona mill pulled by a tractor to crush the agave
  • Fermentation in open air wooden casks
  • Copper pot stills with a 400 liter first pass still and 250 liter second pass still
  • French Oak and American White Oak barrels
  • A deep well water and natural spring water as their water source

Fortaleza Tequila Bottle Labeling

Can You Visit The Fortaleza Distillery?

The Fortaleza tequila distillery is actually the most recommended tequila distillery tours in Tequila, Jalisco Mexico.

The distillery is ranked number 1 out of 110 distilleries and is a must-see.

The distillery is located at Tabasco 153, Centro, 46400 Tequila, Jalisco and tours must be booked 24 hours in advance.

The best way to book a tour to the Fortaleza Tequila Distillery is through their website to avoid paying high sales commission from outside vendors. 

The tour is about 2.5 hours long and you get to taste all of their tequila as well as have some snacks.

The price for the tour is around $35 US or $700 mxn pesos. 

The distillery has a cave or cava that used to be used as a presentation room that is nor used for tasting and events. 

What NOM is Fortaleza Tequila?

Tequila Fortaleza is made under NOM 1493.

Fortaleza Tequila Blanco, Reposado Anejo, Still Strength

Photo by Tequila Fortaleza

What Types Of Tequila Does Fortaleza Make?

Tequila Fortaleza makes four main variations of tequila.

  1. Tequila Fortaleza Blanco

  2. Tequila Fortaleza Blanco (Still Strength)

  3. Tequila Fortaleza Reposado

  4. Tequila Fortaleza Añejo

They also have a tequila called “Fortaleza Reposado - Winter Blend.”

Where To Buy Fortaleza Tequila?

Fortaleza tequila is carried by most retailers with a decent tequila selection (even Costco). 

However, due to its rise in popularity and rabid fans buying cases at a time, retailers are finding it difficult to keep these bottles in stock.

Even in Mexico, it is near impossible to find a good supply of Los Abuelos tequila. 

Fortaleza Signature Bottle

Photo by Tequila Fortaleza

The Signature Fortaleza Tequila Bottle

One of the most unique things about Fortaleza Tequila is the bottle. Well, to be more specific, it is the signature bottle top.

It is a cork with an agave piña that has its pencas, or agave leaves cut by a corta de jima.

The bottles are all hand-blown which give respect to creations made by hand.

Los Abuelos Tequila also uses the same bottle design.

 Mezcal Tequila Shot Glasses


Last Updated: 04/24/22

Greg Rutkowski, President

Greg Rutkowski Mezcal For Life
Greg is a lover of agave spirits, handicrafts, and barware. In 2020 he married all of his loves and created a business bringing amazing pieces from all over Mexico to the United States. Learn more here

1 comment

  • Good article on a fantastic tequila. I’m not sure if all they’re bottles are hand blown anymore. I have a few empty bottles now and the bottom doesn’t have the small scar from the blow tube . It just has a etched number

    G. Anthony Capaldi on

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