Appellation of Origin

A 100% Mexican drinks.

There are seven beverages with Appellation of Origin in Mexico: tequila, mezcal, café de Veracruz, bacanora, sotol, charanda, and café de Chiapas. They are regulated by the Instituto Mexicano de la Propiedad Intelectual (Mexican Institute of Intellectual Property), each one has an Official Mexican Standard, which establishes product definitions, production parameters and strict indications of the production process, as well as required labeling information.

Tequila Sauza (1918) by Eladio SauzaMuseum of the Purpose of the Object


Tequila was the first Mexican product to receive an Appellation of Origin in 1978. This denomination includes protected production areas, within the states of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit and Tamaulipas.

It is stipulated that it can only be produced from Agave tequilana weber, also known as blue agave, and that it must have a minimum of 51% agave sugars in its composition.

Its alcohol content must be between 35% and 55%. The types of tequila established are: white or silver, young or gold, reposado, añejo and extra-añejo, and the regulation norm indicates the maturing or repose times required for each type.

Mezcal de Pechuga (2017) by Trabajo oaxaqueñoMuseum of the Purpose of the Object


According to the standard, there are two types of mezcal, type I, made up of 100% agave sugars and type II, made up of up to 80% agave sugars. A peculiarity is that the sale of the product in bulk is allowed within Mexico but prohibited abroad, with the 5-liter (1.320 gal.) containers being the maximum exportable measure.

Sotol Pilares. Etiqueta (1930) by Borreguero y De La VegaMuseum of the Purpose of the Object


The areas protected by the international standard for sotol include the states of Chihuahua, Coahuila and Durango. The same regulation establishes that sotol can only be produced with sotol or sereque plants.

The scientific name of these plants is Dasylirion spp and they belong to the Nolinaceae family, it is not an agave, but it shares similar characteristics. The sotol regulations allow up to 49% of sugars from other sources, as well as the use of oak, acacia, beech, chestnut and ash woods for resting barrels.

Comparatively, the tequila standard only allows oak or white oak woods. This standard also allows the presence of up to 1% of additives, but explains that the drink must not lose its yellowish color. There are also strict regulations regarding packaging by third parties who are not producers such as: avoid sotol mixtures from different producers and avoid adulteration.

Charanda Uruapan (2017) by Comercializadora Pame, S.A. de C.V.Museum of the Purpose of the Object


The international standard protects the production of charanda in the state of Michoacán in 15 municipalities. It is established in the same norm that charanda  is an alcoholic beverage obtained from the fermentation of the distillation of the sugarcane juice.

The Mexican Standard of the charanda  defines that in its particular case adulteration "would be any modification to the specifications of the manufacturing process established in it".  It is mandatory that the sugar cane used as raw material be grown in the municipalities protected by the Appellation of Origin, since the characteristics of temperature, humidity and composition of the soil are very special.

It is specified that the distillate should be done in discontinuous alembics, not in a tower alembic. It is also specified that the sale in bulk must be made with a minimum of 5 liters (1.320 gal.) According to the regulations, there are four types: White charanda, golden charanda, rested charanda and aged charanda. The resting times are equivalent to those of tequila, the only difference is that of the golden charanda, which is a mixture of charanda blanco with charanda añejo.

Lotería Café Legal (1990) by Cafés de Veracruz, S.A. de C.V.Museum of the Purpose of the Object

Veracruz coffee

The Appellation of origin for Café de Veracruz protects all green or roasted beans produced in the state of Veracruz, without distinction from regions or municipalities. Within Mexican regulations it is established that the Veracruz Coffee comes from the Coffea arabica plant and that it must be grown more than 750 meters (2460 ft.) above sea level.

This regulation specifies two types of coffee: Generic Coffees with four subdivisions and Special Coffees with eight subdivisions. Roasted coffee beans or ground coffee must meet very specific physical and sensory specifications. The physical characteristics are: color, humidity, size, shape and total defects. The sensory characteristics are: aroma, acidity, body and bad flavors.

These classifications are extremely strict and guarantee the final quality of the product.

Café Bola de Oro (1985) by Gonzalo Rivero PuertoMuseum of the Purpose of the Object

Chiapas coffee

International regulations for the Café de Chiapas protect the municipalities of Ocozocoautla, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Copainalá, Comitán, Ángel Albino Corzo, Pichucalco, Bochil, Palenque, Ocosingo, Yajalón, Motozintla and Tapachula. The protected product is specified to be green or roasted / ground coffee of the species Coffea arabica.

The Mexican norm establishes that all the varieties of the Coffea arabica are also included, and that the minimum altitude in which the coffee trees are grown must be 800 meters (2624 ft.). The regulations define the classification of Chiapas coffee in 4 fields: quality, degree of transformation or type, degree of roasting and degree of grinding. Two forms of production are specified: the American and the European.

In general, the European one is stricter accepting up to 13 total defects, while in the American, that number is 26. The standard also establishes strict parameters, quality controls, sampling and analysis. It is also established that the commercialization of products with this designation of origin can only be done if there is a certificate issued by the Consejo Regulador del Café de Chiapas (Chiapas Coffee Regulatory Council).

Credits: Story

Curator: Antonio Soto 

MODO Team 
Antonio Soto, Arely Chong, Carlos González, Daniela Mar, Diego Salgado, Edmundo Vargas, Javier Ávalos, Lizbeth Chavez, Mariana Pérez, Natalia Cheng, Paulina Newman, Piedad Romero and Rosario Luna. 

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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